Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah
Seven Transport Operators including the Metro Mass Transit Limited and the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) in the Western Region are up in arms against the Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah.
According to them, the Regional Minister is allegedly using his office to unduly favour a private transport company over them.
They claim that the minister, who is the Acting Mayor of Sekondi-Takoradi, has purportedly connived with the Transport Officer of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA), Patrick Sebe, to grant a transport operator permit to operate against existing protocols.
In a statement, they indicated that the Transport Officer of the STMA and some others have declared openly that the national bus carrier, Metro Mass, does not exist in the region.
“It has come to our notice that the Transport Officer had declared openly that Metro Mass Transit does not exist in the Western Region.
“So a permit was signed by the Regional Minister for the release of the Metro Mass Terminal (MMT) to a private operator, Bimbisala Cooperative Transport Limited, after officials from MMT had spoken against the act,” they disclosed.
Addressing the media, the Western Regional Manager of the MMT, David Teye Tekutey, claimed that the circumstances leading to the grant of the permit is making them believe that the minister might have some interest in that transport operation.
He claimed that several meetings between the aggrieved transport operators and the Assembly concluded that transport operators registered at different municipalities in the region, including Bimbisala, cannot register again to operate in Sekondi-Takoradi.
“So why is it that such conclusion is now being side-stepped?” he asked.
For his part, the Western Regional Chairman of the GPRTU, Joseph Cudjoe, expressed worry that previous conducts by Bimbisala Cooperative had shown that it would be difficult for the operator to co-exist with other transport operators.
“The Regional Minister and Mr. Patrick Sebe are aware of this issue, but still want Bimbisala to come and operate with us,” he asserted.
He, therefore, appealed to the National Security to intervene and ensure that peace prevails in the region.
Regional Minister Reacts
Reacting to the issues in an interview, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Regional Minister, described the allegations as unfounded. He said he has no interest in any transport operator.
He explained that Bimbisala was already operating in STMA in front of the Mankessim White House in Takoradi but had to be moved, together with other operators to Apremdo market to help revive the place.
“But I was instrumental in bringing some of them back. We later granted a request from Bimbisala to come back, but it could not operate from it former place because of the construction of the interchange in the region,” he noted.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi