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02.11.2004 General News

NPP -coloured metro buses cause controversy

By Chronicle

Accra, Nov 2, Chronicle -- A BEACH trip that was organized by the Akuafo Hall of the University of Ghana to climax its annual hall week celebration, last Sunday, was nearly marred by a political controversy when a section of supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) among the students refused to board a number of Metro Mass Transport (MMT) buses that were fully clad in NPP colours.

Five of the buses of the MMT, a public sector transport company, that arrived at the campus of the University at about 10 am to convey the students to the beach were fully painted with NPP colours.

Immediately the buses arrived students engaged each other in a hot political debate over the political prudence and implications of the NPP adverts on the cars.

Clearly, the debate was between student supporters of the NPP and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

While those who supported the ruling government said there was nothing wrong with the paintings of NPP colours, supporters of the NDC raised issues ranging from, abuse of incumbency to abuse of state resources.

The argument, which erupted among students in all corners of the hall, started as a joke among the students with some students renaming the beach trip, originally dubbed, “Konkontiba beach trip” as “Osono nie, Kufour nie” beach trip.

The seriousness of the issue came up when it was time for the students to embark the vehicles for the trip. At this point, students who are members of the Tertiary Institution Network (TEIN), which is the NDC students' wing, protested and refused to board the NPP-clad buses.

While a section of the students thought that their colleague NDC supporters were not serious and realistic in their protest, the protesting students maintained their stands claiming that the beach trip was not a political trip and for that matter a trip to advertise the NPP.

“We are not embarking on an NPP trip and further more this hall is not a politically oriented hall so why should we go for NPP buses when we are going on a neutral trip. Apart from that I am an NDC supporter so I see no reason why I should be in an NPP car. In fact, the cars as they stand now are NPP cars and not Public vehicles as some of my colleagues from the NPP are claiming,” an obvious NDC student supporter who refused to give his name stated.

A section of the students from the NPP divide however maintained that they were privy to an information to the effect that every political party as well as corporate entities had the right to pay an amount and advertise on the cars. On the basis of this information, they argued that the buses still remained public buses since some companies such as the Ghana Telecom (GT) had already advertised on some of them.

Being committed to their stands, the NDC student supporters made their decision not to plank the said cars known to the senior Hall Tutor, Mr. Stephen Ahiawodor. The hall tutor then intervened by asking to protesting students to wait and board the other buses of the MMT, which did not have the NPP adverts on them, particularly the newly acquired Chinese-made buses which rather have GT adverts on them which were to arrive later for the trip.

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