The Akufo Addo administration has been sent scurrying to usurp the plans by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to legalise commercial motorcycle transportation in Ghana (Okada) if voted into office in the December general elections.
This is after the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) had strongly condemned the plan and vowing to keep OKADA on the fringes of high crime.
The highlight of the confusion that the OKADA policy had struck within the NPP is President Akufo Addo himself, who has hurriedly deleted a Facebook post he made on September 5, 2020, where he was emphatic that his government will never make OKADA legal in Ghana.
“@JDMahama promise of legalising and regulating the activities of the OKADA business is nothing but a desperate and populist vote canvassing gimmick. The activities of the OKADA business is illegal in our law books and must remain so. The nuisance they cause on our roads must not be legalised by any right-thinking Ghanaian,” President Akufo Addo wrote.
The post has surreptitiously been deleted from his timeline as at September 9, 2020. However, President Akufo Addo had repeated a similar sentiment on pro-NPP Oman FM and that report is still available online.
He said on Oman FM: “A law was made during the Mills/Mahama era [which banned okada operations in Ghana]. Today he [John Mahama] has changed his mind. He said he is going to legalise it. How can that provide more jobs than NABCO and Planting for foods and jobs? We have provided over two million jobs with these social intervention initiatives. So how can you say that okada will provide more jobs? It’s just populist. It’s another sign of inconsistency– when you are in power you say one thing and when you are out of power you say something else. It doesn’t help in creating better public discourse.”
However, barely a day after the President had uttered these words, his Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah and the Transportation Minister, Kwasi Ofori Asiamah, were all over the media claiming the Akufo Addo government has begun stakeholder consultations to make a decision on legalising OKADA.
“We as a government know that this is a matter that we need to take our time to confront the people, come out with their views and that, will determine the law that should be put in place,” The Transport Minister stated.
To add to the confusion of the Akufo Addo administration, nowhere in its recently-launched manifesto had it stated that it had plans to legalise OKADA.
Apparently, the government which had chastised the Okada policy as populist has realised its popularity and is attempting to capitalise on it.
It is believed there are hundreds of thousands of commercial motorcycle riders, particularly in rural areas and urban areas with poor road networks. The burgeoning industry is said to be relied on by almost one million Ghanaians who would lose out if any government insist on making it illegal.
The inconsistency displayed by the NPP administration has already put it at the butt end of ridicule by Ghanaians, including known supporters of the governing party.