The Ghana Committed Drivers Association (GCDA) has said former President John Mahama might as well legalise sakawa (fraud) if he wants to legalise the Okada business (use of motorcycle for commercial purposes).
The group’s leader, Mr Charles Danso, told Odiasempa Apomasu Mensah on Accra100.5FM’s mid-day news on Thursday, 27 August 2020 that if the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) insists on legalising the Okada business so as to create jobs, then, in addition to legalising sakawa, he should also legalise SIM box fraud.
In his view, what would have been the point of the law against Okada if it is now legalised.
According to him, the Okada business is even worse than fraud since it is killing and maiming a lot of people.
The group had earlier held a press conference to express reservations about Mr Mahama’s Okada legalisation intention should he be elected president again in the December 7 elections.
According to the drivers, the Okada business is in contravention of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (LI 2180) sub-regulations 128 & 84, which expressly prohibit the use of motorcycle or tricycle for commercial purposes.
However, Mr Mahama, while on a campaign tour at Kpando in the Volta Region on Friday, 21 August 2020, promised the make the business legal.
The former President said: “I've been seeing young people who have finished school and they can’t find a job and, so, they are looking for something they can do and many of our young people are riding motorcycles and transporting people from place to place, and we call them Okada”.
“But in our law, it says Okada is illegal but Okada is a reality, it has come to stay, you can't stop it, and, so, I've suggested and I say when we come into office, we will legalise Okada but we will regulate it”, Mr Mahama said.
Mr Mahama has won the support of Okada riders in the Greater Accra region who have promised to support any government that supports their business.
“We call on our members and their dependents and clients and everyone who values the service we render to show up and vote massively for who has shown the care and not those who say one thing in opposition. And any other government that comes and is ready to support us, we’re ready to help them," the Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the Greater Accra Regional Okada Operators Association, Setsoafia Pascal, said at a press conference in Ashaiman on Wednesday, 26 September 2020.
However, the drivers noted that: “The preposterous argument made by former President Mahama that Okada has come to stay, so, it should be legalised, must be treated with the contempt it deserves. Who made it come to stay?”
Find below the full statement from the drivers:
LEGALISATION OF ILLEGAL OKADA OPERATIONS.
FMR PREZ JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA MUST BE PROSECUTED FOR BREAKING THE ROAD LAW - FOR INTRODUCING AND LAUNCHING MAHAMA CAN DO (CAMBOO).
Former President John DRAMANI Mahama has opined that he would legalize the use of motorcycles and tricycles for fare-paying passenger service popularly known as 'Okada' & Mahama Camboo should he be voted back into office as President.
The Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (LI 2180) Sub-regulations 128 & 84 states expressly;
PROHIBITION OF MOTORCYCLE OR TRICYCLE FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES
128.1_ The Licensing Authority SHALL not register a motorcycle or tricycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.
128.2_ A person shall not use or permit a motorcycle or tricycle over which that person exercises control to be used for commercial purposes except for courier and delivery services.
128.3_ A person shall not ride on a motorcycle or tricycle as a fare-paying passenger.
128.4_ A person who contravenes sub-regulation (1), (2), or (3) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than twenty-five penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than thirty days or to both.
COMPULSORY WEARING OF PROTECTIVE CLOTHING IN RESPECT OF MOTORCYCLE
84.1_ A person SHALL not ride or be a pillion rider on a motorcycle, motor tricycle or a quadruple cycle, or in a sidecar attached to a motorcycle, unless that person wears reflective clothing and a protective helmet that:
84(a)_ is specially designed for use in connection with the cycle, and
84(b)_ fits properly with the chin strap properly fastened under the chin.
84.2_ A person riding a motorcycle, motor tricycle or motor quadruple-cycle SHALL ensure that a pillion rider in or on the cycle who is younger than eighteen years old, complies with sub-regulation (1).
84.3_ A person who contravenes sub-regulation (1), (2), or (3) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than fifty penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than three months or to both.
The aforementioned Road Traffic Regulations was passed in 2012 during the tenure of former President John Dramani Mahama as Vice President/President. That made the usage of motorcycles and tricycles for Okada and Mahama Can Do taxi operations illegal.
In 2015/16, it can be recounted that former President Mahama expressly captured in the infamous 'Green Book of Achievements' that was written by the National Democratic Congress led by President John Dramani Mahama to prosecute the 2016 general elections; that they were going to use the tricycles dubbed as 'Mahama Can Do' to alleviate poverty in the then three Northern regions. A court action was instituted by Road Safety Advocates Ghana – RoSAG, still pending albeit sine die in court, to stop the policy initiative.
The breach of the regulation 128, right on the heels of its passage in 2012, when Mr Mahama was President tells you he is not law-abiding but just vying to become president again for his own parochial selfish interest and personal aggrandisement.
The preposterous argument made by former President Mahama that okada has come to stay so it should be legalized must be treated with the contempt it deserves. Who made it come to stay?
President Mahama cannot seek our votes to come back to power and tell us SAKAWA (internet fraud) is so pervasive and, therefore, must be legalised. Absolute drivel!
All told, President Mahama has declared his intention to legalise the Okada menace and regulate it.
What is the current ruling government saying on this subject matter? It may be recalled not long ago, taxpayers’ money was used by the Ministry of Transport on a nationwide stakeholders’ engagement tour, to solicit views on whether or not, the Okada operations should be legalised. As we write, there is a report on the nationwide stakeholders' engagements sitting in Cabinet to be deliberated upon.
We have heard the former President Mahama! What is His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo take on this menace that is taking away lives needlessly?
We keenly await his response with bated breath!
God bless our homeland Ghana!
Charles Danso - (Chairman)
Committed Drivers Association