Otumfuo Osei Tutu II
Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has given his backing to the Ghana Police Service and the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) to deal with anybody who would hide behind the Manhyia Palace to flout road traffic regulations.
He said in plain language that the Manhyia Palace is not a licensing authority that produces stickers and permits for vehicles, and those hiding behind such stickers to frustrate the work of road enforcement officers must not be spared.
“Some people have been embossing Manhyia Palace stickers on their vehicles and flouting road traffic regulations and to avoid arrest. Manhyia has not given anyone permission to use stickers to misbehave or be above the law,” the Asantehene said in Kumasi on Saturday when the NRSA leadership called on him to invite him to become the National Road Safety Ambassador.
He said, “I haven’t also told you the police and the NRSA, that I have given people stickers to use to avoid scrutiny by the law enforcement authorities. You should arrest such persons,” adding that “anybody at all can print a sticker in the name of Manhyia and try to use it to avoid scrutiny.”
He queried “is my picture more powerful than the licence issued by state authorities? It cannot be the case so I urge you to arrest such people and then you can verify from Manhyia if such a person is using my car or has been sent by me.
“The car I use has officially been certified by the police and the DVLA. I do not even have my picture on my car so I don’t see why you should not do your work. If that is not the case you should be able to ask the person if it is Manhyia that issue licence or permits for vehicles. You should be able to arrest any chief who displays Manhyia sticker on his car or do not have a licence because Manhyia is not a licensing authority. That is so simple.”
The Asantehene after being told by the NRSA leadership to become the National Road Safety Ambassador, accepted the offer but said he will continue to push them to work harder to bring sanity on the roads.
“If you want me to be an Ambassador, I will always say it as it is and put you on your toes,” he said.
“There are rules and regulations in driving. From the person teaching, through to licensing up to hitting the road, all have their respective roles to play in this safety process. Almost everyone is abusing the road traffic regulations in the country but in other jurisdictions you do not see such things.”
He said “the NRSA has the mandate to regulate the system whilst the police is supposed to check traffic offences. So, I ask the NRSA what collaboration do you have with the police to ensure the system functions well?”
The Otumfuo said “if we want to ensure proper regulation, the police must do its work well, the DVLA must ensure proper checks, drivers like the GPRTU, and Taxi Unions must play their roles effectively.”
“A driver who is fatigued, the one with faulty brakes stopped by the police and allowed to go without any punishment, the one doing unnecessary overtaking without any knowledge on road signs are all factors contributing to the carnage on our roads.”
He told the NRSA that “you can have all the titles but if we are not able to regulate all these things, then we cannot stop the carnage on our roads.”
Giving the overview of the NRSA activities to the Otumfuo, the Board Chairman, Jermaine Nkrumah said they wanted to tap the Asantehene’s international exposure in solving protracted issues into the road sector.
“The Otumfuo has influence to solve crises and we are here to tap into his Majesty’s rich experience in helping to solve protracted problems. The Dagbon crisis comes to mind. As the NRSA, we have the singular honour to propose to your Majesty, and with your permission, to unveil you as the National Road Safety Ambassador to help us bring your influence to bear in your public statements, to include the need for road safety, driver behaviour and all the good practices to help us to accomplish the mission of saving lives.”
He said “if we are starting from the Ashanti Region for example, from the beginning of the year till the end of September, crashes alone have been 2,524, injuries 2,699 and unfortunate deaths 4,23.”
Mr. Nkrumah said “if we look at the whole nation, crashes have been 11,858, injuries 11,659, and unfortunate deaths until the end of September was 2,127. This is something that cannot go on and we need someone in your stature and global influence to bring your position and influence to bear to help us solve this problem.”
“We do realise that everything that your Majesty has touched has turned to gold. We realise in Ashanti Region for example people are using stickers of Manhyia and that puts us in difficult position to contain them.
“We note that the deaths and injuries as a result of crashes are rising and so with your permission, your Majesty, we would like to unveil you as our National Road Safety Ambassador to help us to accomplish our mission,” he added.
From I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi