We’ll Vote Against Any Party Promising To Legalize Okada – Committed Drivers Assoc.

The Committed Drivers Association has warned that any political party promising to legalize Okada operation will lose their votes.

According to the association, they love their lives and that of their brothers riding Okada hence want better and decent jobs for them and not a very risky job of riding Okada.

Whereas the opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC) has promised to legalize Okada(commercial use of motorbikes as means of transportation), the ruling New Patriotic Party(NPP) has categorically stated it will not legalize it as it is dangerous and results in many fatalities.

Addressing the press in Accra, an Executive Member of the Committed Driver Association, Mr Anane Frimpong who’s a retired accident investigator stated that the agenda to play on the minds of vulnerable people is enough and must be stopped forthwith.

He stressed that the youth deserve better and that is why they are urging political parties, especially, the NPP and the NDC to look for better ways of creating employment avenues for the teeming unemployed youth rather than this cruel means of engaging them.

“We want successive governments to create a business-friendly environment that will encourage the setting up of more companies, focus more on investing in agriculture, expand our road networks and also fix our rail lines. The reviving of our rail network across the country will create thousands of jobs and also open up local economies.

“This is where we want successive governments to spend our taxpayers money on not to legalize Okada which will end up creating problems for us.”

He served notice that the association will use every legitimate means to resist any attempt to legalize okada.

“On this note, we would like to send a very strong signal to the government not to legalize Okada operations.

“Any attempt to do so will incur our wrath. We will on monthly basis demonstrate against such a move across the country until our calls are headed to.” 

Below is the full statement

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, creating an avenue to employ the teeming unemployed youth is good but must be done in a decorous and respected manner.

The agenda to play on the minds of vulnerable people is enough and must be stopped forthwith.

The youth deserve better and that is why we will urge political parties, especially, the NPP and the NDC to look for better ways of creating employment avenues for the teeming unemployed youth rather than this cruel means of engaging them.

Any political party promising to legalize Okada operation will lose our votes. We love our lives, we love the lives of our brothers and sisters riding Okada. We want better and decent jobs for them.
We want successive governments to create a business-friendly environment that will encourage the setting up of more companies, focus more on investing in agriculture, expand our road networks and also fix our rail lines.

The reviving of our rail network across the country will create thousands of jobs and also open up local economies.

This is where we want successive governments to spend our taxpayers money on not to legalize Okada which will end up creating problems for us.

On this note, we would like to send a very strong signal to the government not to legalize Okada operations.

Any attempt to do so will incur our wrath. We will on monthly basis demonstrate against such a move across the country until our calls are headed to.

Statement to be delivered by Committed Drivers Association on Okada operations: To legalize or not to legalize it?

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press. We have called you here today to share with you our resolve to discourage any attempt by any political party who intends to legalize the operationalization of okada business and further warned them to desist from making it a manifesto promise.

We, Committed Drivers Association, must say that this discourse has been with us for some years now but has been heightened in this election year as a result of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its Presidential candidate, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama’s promise to legalize okada operations when they win political power in the 2020 general elections.

We believe that the promise by John Dramani Mahama to legalize the Okada operations is not a well thought through policy but just an attempt to woo the votes of unsuspecting riders of motorcycles.

One key question that comes to mind is what has changed for Mr. John Mahama to make a sudden u-turn?

As at the time the law to ban okada was being promulgated, Okada ranked 9th on the list of causal agents for road accidents.

Today, Okada is ranked second on the list. So, what actually informed His Excellency the former President, John Dramani Mahama to make this sudden u-turn obviously for political expediency?

We believe this cheap, populist agenda to woo the riders of Okada must not be countenanced, hence, should be rejected by all Ghanaians.

Okada is a business of using motorcycle for passenger transport at a fee or commercial purpose just like a taxi cab will do.

It is a well-known fact that population growth, especially, in urban and semi-urban areas comes with its attendant challenges.

The more the population in urban and semi-urban areas, the more pressure they bring to bear on existing structures, especially, infrastructure and mobility systems.

You will bear with me that all our cities and semi-urban areas are heavily populated, bringing to bear, their pressure on existing infrastructure and mobility systems.

A fact that all of us can’t deny is that most of our transport systems are poorly designed. We still have poor road networks across the country, and more especially, in urban and semi-urban areas. As a result of this, our roads are always choked, resulting in delays and high cost in commuting from one place to another.

These challenges have compelled the transport-disadvantaged to search for affordable options that will take them to their destinations without any hustle. The emergence of Okada business was therefore seen as an alternative means of commercial transport in addressing the needs of disadvantaged passengers.

The unemployed therefore took advantage of the tax waivers on motorcycles to buy these machinery and provide the services that the transport-disadvantaged were looking for.

To be honest with ourselves, Okada usage has its own advantages some of which include;
– It provides door-to-door services easily and could access areas with poor to impassable road networks.
– It is also very suitable for short trips and can save time (overcoming traffic congestion), especially, in the congested urban space.
– It is an affordable means of transport. Its rates are cheaper compared to the conventional taxi fares.
– It is a faster means of transport.

However, Okada has not been without safety and security concerns, particularly, with regards to the adherence to public safety needs.

Okada operation is a very risky business. Okada operators ride dangerously putting their lives and that of their passengers and pedestrians into danger.

Okada riders don’t respect traffic regulations and signals on our roads. They drive anyhow on our roads and hardly respect traffic signals.

Okada operation is one of the major causes of road accidents and deaths.

The Ministry of Transport in 2018, found that the proportion of motorcycle fatalities had increased from 2.7% in 2001 to 21% despite the massive investments made in road safety by successive governments.

The National Road Safety Commission now National Road Safety Authority estimates that the chance of dying from a motorcycle crash is 10 times higher than a car crash. In 2014 alone, figures released by the National Road Safety Authority revealed that 2,571 people were knocked down motorists out of which 1,856 lost their lives. In 2015, 2,289 motorcycles were involved in road crashes nationwide while in the first quarter of 2017, about 708 road users died from 4,049 road accidents, with 3,983 others sustaining various degrees of injuries.

In January 2020, the Ghana Medical Association called for the ban of Okada when they were reporting high accidents and fatalities at various hospitals.

The situation was so disturbing that Dr. Frederick Kwarteng, the Head of the Accident, Emergency and Orthopaedic Department, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, call on government to totally ban Okada operations to save lives since a lot of motorcycle accident victims were dying, losing their legs and arms, brains, wealth and social life.

He said from December 21, m2019 to January 1, 2020, the Department admitted 79 vehicle accident victims, 58 motorcycle accident victims and one bicycle accident victim.

Additionally, from December 22 to 23, 2019, 30 road traffic accident cases were recorded out of which 20 were serious Okada related cases. Some of the victims, according to him, had crushed bones, fractures, severe wounds, head injuries and traumas.

As a result of the severity of some of the cases, he said, some of the victims could have their limbs amputated to save lives if all procedures of treatment were ineffective.

It is based on the reasons shared above that then National Democratic Congress (NDC)-led government under the leadership of Mr. John Dramani Mahama, passed the Road Traffic Regulation, 2012 (L.I. 2180), with section 128 (1) (2), and (3) and 84 of the L.I. prohibiting motorcycle or tricycle and provides thus,
1. “Licensing Authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger”.
2. “Person shall not permit a motorcycle or tricycle which that person exercises control to be used for commercial purpose, except for courier and delivery services”, and
3. “A person shall not ride on a motorcycle or tricycle as a paying passenger”.
So, if you read the law carefully, it even makes it illegal for passengers to even patronize Okada operations.
Sub-regulation 84 also makes compulsory for the wearing of protective clothing in respect of motorcycles.
84(1) states that “A person shall not ride or be a pillion rider on a motorcycle, motor tricycle or a quadruple-cycle, or in a side car 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) also states that “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 both”.

We, Ghana Committed Drivers Association were party to the calls for the ban on Okada operations and our position has never changed because Okada is a public health issue.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we cannot continue to be losing more lives. Blood is more precious than other thing in this world.
We believe that the factors that led to the passage of L.I. 2180 by Mr. Mahama and the NDC have not changed.

People are still dying; people are still sustaining various degrees of injuries; riders continue to disregard road safety regulations; people are being robbed at gun and knife points using Okada.

The situation is dire and we cannot allow this to go on.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, creating an avenue to employ the teeming unemployed youth is good but must be done in a decorous and respected manner.

The agenda to play on the minds of vulnerable people is enough and must be stopped forthwith.

The youth deserve better and that is why we will urge political parties, especially, the NPP and the NDC to look for better ways of creating employment avenues for the teeming unemployed youth rather than this cruel means of engaging them.

Any political party promising to legalize Okada operation will lose our votes. We love our lives, we love the lives of our brothers and sisters riding Okada. We want better and decent jobs for them.
We want successive governments to create a business-friendly environment that will encourage the setting up of more companies, focus more on investing in agriculture, expand our road networks and also fix our rail lines.

The reviving of our rail network across the country will create thousands of jobs and also open up local economies.

This is where we want successive governments to spend our tax payers money on not to legalize Okada which will end up creating problems for us.

On this note, we would like to send a very strong signal to the government not to legalize Okada operations.

Any attempt to do so will incur our wrath. We will on monthly basis demonstrate against such a move across the country until our calls are headed to.





 
 
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