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Opinions of Monday, 12 September 2011

Columnist: Agbenyo, Samuel Kofi

Necessity Is The Mother Of All Inventions

Kindly permit me to use your medium to air my views about the raging debate on the use of motorbike as a means of transportation. It is always said that necessity is the mother of invention. It is a fact that our leaders have failed to address the transportation difficulties facing commuters in Ghana. It is pathetic to see several workers lined up the street of Accra, seeking vehicle to get home after the day's hard work. When people get frustrated about such a situation, they will readily accept anything that is offered which the see will solve the problem whether it is lawful or not. The situation is affecting productivity in this country. For the fact that commuters find it difficult to commute to and from work, they close early before the actual time to enable them get home early. This is very bad and it is affecting the out put of the individual worker to the economy.

Further more, thousands of the youth in Ghana do not have any job to earn them a decent living. Thus, not to join the armed robbery trade that some of their colleagues have taken to, they saved a few Cedis to acquire a motorbike which they use to cart people for a fee. However, they are frequently harassed by the police that our laws do not permit the use of motorbike for commercial transport. There is the need for us to look at that law again so that the youth engaged in the trade will have something to do to live on. We can amend the law for it to effectively check the accident that is associated with the use of motorbike as a means of transportation. The problem we have in Ghana is the enforcement of our laws. The police who are empowered to enforce the laws have turned it in to money making venture, extorting money from drivers everyday. They have forgotten the core mandate for which they are on the roads. They simply failed to check what they are supposed to check.

I personally had an experience when a MTTU policeman stopped a driver whose car I boarded, asked him to produce his warning triangle, which he did. He again asked of his driving license and fire extinguisher which he produced. The policeman got angry and asked the driver if he was going to eat the items the driver was showing him. The driver replied that he the police had demanded for those items. The policeman told the driver to do the right thing. The driver said he had no money to give him. The policeman got angry and shouted that the driver should step on the break pedal. Lo and behold, one of the break lights did not work. The policeman threatened that he was sending the driver to court. In our presence, he collected twenty Ghana Cedis from the driver, because, the driver was afraid of the court. We all saw some of the rickety vehicles that passed by from which this policeman collected money without checking anything, allowing them to go. The attitude of this policeman and the likes are the contributing factors to accidents on our roads.

If taking and giving bribe is unlawful, but the police do it in broad daylight without any shame whatsoever, despite the fact that they are being paid every month, then the police has no moral justification to arrest okada operators for engaging in an illegal venture. They should allow the youth to do the okada trade to earn a living. This is better than taking a gun and robs.

Samuel Kofi Agbenyo