The New Patriotic Party (NPP) appears to be backtracking on its opposition to the legalization and regularization of the uses of motorcycles for transporting people and means of employment for young people, known in local parlance as Okada.
Mr. Buaben Asamoah, National Communications Director of the governing NPP, has explained that even though there is a law against Okada in the country, the practice has not been banned by the government because it is not against Okada as it is following recommendations of the Ministry of Transport that favor a revision of the ban and the setting up of a strong regulatory framework for the safety of operators of the Okada business.
“Our position hasn’t changed. What people assume to be our position may not even be accurate because the practical reality on the ground, as far as this Okada thing is concerned, is that John Mahama [when he was President] issued an L.I. for it to be banned…
“We have not enforced that L.I. Otherwise, based on that there will be no Okadas in town. So we are not against Okada, if that is the position that people think the party has. We are not against Okadas because we haven’t enforced the rules against them,” he revealed when speaking in an interview with Ghanaweb on Monday, September 7, 2020, acknowledging that Okada operations reduce employment, especially among the youth in the country.
He asserted that the NPP and President Nana Akufo-Addo government on Okada are not against the operations of Okada, but are acting in consonance with recommendations of the Ministry of Transport contained in a document entitled: “Facilitation Services for Consultation on Motorcycle Operations in Ghana,” which among others, says that Okada operations should be properly regulated and gradually phased out for a much safer means of transport, especially in the cities.
His assertion is in sharp contrast to earlier assertions by communicators of the NPP that Okada operations were unsafe and shouldn’t be legalized as proposed by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The legalization and regularization of the Okada business have become a major campaign message of the NDC which was highlighted on Monday during its manifesto launch.
Recommendations of the Transport Ministry Report on Okada are:
“-An overwhelming majority of stakeholders in the transport sector say the current ban on motorcycles and tricycles for fare-paying passenger transport services should be revised.
– There is a strong regulatory regime and enforcement required to help address the challenges of road safety and violent crimes purported to be associated with commercial motorcycle users.
– It was also recommended that there should be no interference with police enforcement of traffic regulations from politicians, and traditional and religious leaders.
– Furthermore, it is recommended that the Ministry of Transport, in the long-term, should find suitable alternative public transport solutions amenable to the needs of Ghanaian communities to edge out commercial passenger motorcycle operations in Ghana.”