Taxi Drivers Sue Accra Mayor, Others
TAXI DRIVERS in the Ga West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region on Thursday carried out their threat to sue Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, chief executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and six others.
The ‘floating’ taxi drivers last week issued a four-day ultimatum to government, including the AMA mayor, to reverse the directive requesting all taxi drivers to regularize their operations by joining unions or associations for effective regulation of their activities or risk being dragged to court.
The taxi drivers had described the AMA’s directive issued early this month as untenable.
Apart from Mr Vanderpuije, those joined in the suit are the Attorney General, Ministry of Transport and its sector Minister Dzifa Aku Ativor as well as Ghana Police Service and its Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the AMA as a body.
Earlier last week, the Accra Regional Police Command arrested about 80 demonstrating drivers for breaching the Public Order Act for embarking on illegal demonstrations in protest against the new directive.
But the group of cab drivers, in a writ of sermons filed at the Fast Track Court last week through their solicitor, Mary Ohenewa Afful, among other things, are seeking a ‘true and proper interpretation of Articles 1(2), 21 (1) (d) (e) (g), 21 (2)’ of the 1992 Constitution.
The plaintiffs argued that under the current constitutional dispensation, nobody could be forced to join a union, adding that the freedom of association is enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
Mary Ohenewa Afful
They further averred that the AMA’s enforcement of the said directive and Bye- Laws was ‘a gross violation of the plaintiffs’ fundamental human rights’ and added that requesting them to regularize their operations by joining unions or associations amidst extortion of huge monies, intimidation, unlawful and unjust arrest and brutalities were contrary to Articles 1, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.
Consequently, the taxi drivers were asking the court for a perpetual injunction restraining Oko Vanderpuije and any other person succeeding that office from enforcing that directive.
The reliefs sought included ‘a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Articles 1(2), 21 (1) (d) (e) and (g), 21 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, the enforcement of the said Legislative Instrument (LI) 2180 (2012), Regulation 121 subsections (1) and (2) of LI 2180 (2012) is inconsistent with, or in contravention of the said provision of the constitution and is therefore unconstitutional, void and no legal effect’.
They also wanted ‘a perpetual injunction to restrain the 7th defendant and any other person succeeding the office of the 4th defendant from performing the functions of the 4th defendant in regard to the enforcement of the said directive and Bye-Law.’
Finally, the taxi drivers wanted ‘a prohibitory injunction directed at the 3rd and 7th defendant’s conduct on the grounds of illegality’ as well as damages and cost.
Earlier, Mary Ohenewa Afful, lawyer for the plaintiffs, had told journalist at a news conference in Accra that the persistent harassment of drivers by members of the Traffic Security Task Force of the AMA and extortion by officials of the Ghana Police Service was unfortunate.
She noted that the development was unreasonable particularly when it boarded on the source of livelihood of the drivers and their dependants.
Ms. Afful called for the immediate removal of Mr. Vanderpuije, Dzifa Ativor and Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, minister for Transport and deputy minister for Information and Media Relations, respectively.
‘What is annoying is that you get government officials justifying these barbaric acts,’ she fumed.
BY Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson
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