NPP Drivers Demo Backfires; Organizers Exposed as Partisan Crooks
It has emerged that the commercial drivers who are kicking against the newly introduced Rapid Bus Transport (RBT) service are sympathizers of the opposition New Patriotic Party who have been paid to frustrate the government for the initiative. This was revealed by some commercial drivers who spoke to Accra based Okfm Monday.
A group called the committed drivers association today declared a nationwide strike to protest against the introduction of the bus service which they claim threatens their source of livelihoods as they envisage being thrown out of business by the RBT service.
“This impending action has become necessary following what we consider as events inimical to our work as commercial drivers and members of the Ghana Committed Drivers Association.”
Public Relations Officer of the Association, Francis Appiah, said they feel they have been unfairly treated for the introduction of the service without considerations to the negative implications it would have on commercial drivers.
“We are the drivers and we know how we are suffering and have been struggling. We have children and families we feed so you can’t tell me that you are coming to give the buses [RBT] priority so that the buses use a traffic-free way and we follow traffic because of the bus”.
But a counter group called the Truth Drivers Association say the protesting drivers are playing politics hence the public must ignore them. The group who also spoke on Okfm said he knows for a fact that the drivers are paid agents of the NPP who have been tasked to make the government unpopular by triggering public anger against the newly introduced bus system
Yaw Barimah who speaks for them said the group should not be taken seriously as they do not mean well for the country.
“It is sad what we are doing to this country. The so called committed drivers association does not exist. We were the pioneers of this group when it was formed during the Kufour era. It was formed to champion the arrest of drivers during the Kuffour era. We were put together and being funded by Nii Noi Nortey who is the former constituency chairman of the Korley Clottey constituency with the assistance of Mr Paul Afoko. We were also getting media support from former spokesperson president Kufour Andy Awuni. So I know what I am talking about. I am saying this because I want the public to know what these politicians do and how they use the Unions to achieve their selfish ends” he said
Mr Barimah said government’s decision to introduce the BRT system is an initiative that must lauded and supported just like when the former president Kufour brought the metro buses.
“If the government wants to bring buses it is a good idea so why are they protesting? Aren’t these buses going to be driven by us anyway? It will be driven by Ghanaians and not Burkinabes. So what’s their problem? I want our people to stop the politics. They talk about hike and other fees charged by the DVLA and other authorities. But our colleagues have turned a blind eye to all the good roads that are built by the government. So our members must not allowed themselves to be used by politicians.
Meanwhile managers of the business, have described the action as unnecessary because there is no reason for commercial drivers to strike over the matter. Roland Bruce, Marketing and Communications Manager of GAPTE, implementers of the RBT project, said collaboration will be maintained with the transport unions to augment the transport services in Accra. He said the drivers had been duly consulted before the takeoff of the enterprise
“Our dialogues included the transport unions, in fact, we are working with these unions. We will have a round-table with them, it is not a matter going on demonstration on this.”
“Dedicated lanes are for the buses and that needs to be understood. If any car can use it, then what is the use of it,” Roland Bruce quizzed.
The RBT service, which is being implemented under the Urban Transport Project, is expected to use some 245 buses that would ply the Accra and Amasaman, Accra and Adentan, Accra and Tema and Accra and Kasoa routes.
The project is funded by the World Bank, Agence Française de Development, government of Ghana, and the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund at a cost of $ 95 million.