Monday, 22 January 2018

Tow levy: Kofi Adams & Avedzi Klutse must shut up

By Emmanuel AMOAKO

AN American writer and comedian, popularly known as Groucho Marx (real name Julius Henry Marx), once remarked that “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies”. I cannot but agree with him.

My brother, Groucho Marx couldn’t have said it any better. Politicians have never stopped to amuse me. Why do they behave like chameleons? Why do they like shifting the goal post to suit their whims and caprices?

What do they take Ghanaians for – people with short memories, people without analytical minds, men and women without scruples? Just what makes some politicians think that they can take Ghanaians for granted?

Otherwise, what prompted James Avedzi Klutse, the Deputy Minority Leader, and Kofi Adams, the National Organiser of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), to wade into the controversy surrounding the implementation of the mandatory tow levy and speak as if the issue just dropped like manna from heaven?

What is their beef? What is their real motive? Is it because they suddenly realised that the policy had become so unpopular with Ghanaians that they decided to join the bandwagon to pull wool over our eyes?

Who needs those crocodile tears? Did the passage of this policy into law not take place in the era of the NDC administration? Was it not former President Mahama who signed the bill into law?

Wait for a minute, Kofi Adams and James Avedzi Klutse! Are you honestly telling Ghanaians that you did not know that this bogus law,which was passed under the watch of the NDC, was to take effect from July 1, 2017?

If you feel so strongly that the policy is bad, as you now want the whole world to believe, why didn’t you utter your disapproval from the very day the process was started? Why didn’t you tell Mahama in the face not to sign the bill into law?
What, at all, stopped them from expressing their opinion on the matter when their party (the NDC) was formulating the obnoxious policy? Why are they suddenly playing to the gallery?

What is even more irritating is the forceful manner Kofi Adams, for instance, put across his suggestion. In a publication headlined ‘Towing levy is nuisance tax, drop it’, Kofi Adams had the effrontery and temerity to pronounce, among other things, that“the reason that informed the passage of the towing levy law by Parliament was flawed and mischievous”.

He went on:“It is never enough to formulate a law to extort money from the citizens under the pretext of clearing broken vehicles on the country’s roads.

“Our position is clear…it is a nuisance tax [and] it is a levy that must not be allowed to function,”Kofi Adams added.

On his part, James Avedzi, who had waded into the matter much earlier, called for the scrapping of the policy because “genuine and good citizens will be paying for recalcitrant citizens who do not want to obey the law”.

Question is: where have Kofi Adams and Avedzi been all these years when the law was passed by the sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic in 2012, with a five-year fallow period which ended in 2017?

Why are they painting the picture as if it is the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government which is so insensitive to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian and wants to impose more hardship on the already improvised people?

Personally, I have no qualms with Ghanaians expressing their disgust on the matter – it is their inalienable right - but I find everything wrong when pressure is mounted on President Nana Akufo-Addo by operatives of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the cancellation of the policy while its passage into law took place in the era of their administration.

Is it for political expediency or what? I beg to differ. Ghanaians are now wide awake and will not pander to such CHEAP PROPAGANDA.

In fact, what Ghanaians expect to hear from NDC functionaries in the heat of this matter is for them to plead that they got it all wrong in initiating the policy, which has been described variously as ‘a total rip-off’, ‘a create, loot and share scheme’, ‘extortionist levy’and ‘absolutely preposterous’.

For me, what is really exciting is that Ghanaians, at all levels, have joined the fight to stop this ‘nyamanyama’ policy from being implemented. The latest and, perhaps, the most electrifying piece of news is the formation of a coalition against the implementation of the mandatory towing levy.

The coalition is said to be made up of the National Union of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (NUPTD), Chamber of Petroleum Consumers – Ghana (COPEC), Ghana Committed Drivers Association (GCDA), General Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union (GPCWU), Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

They have come together in a single purpose to protest Parliament’s decision in not only passing a law but the gruesome attempts to now enforce same by compelling vehicle owners to pay a mandatory towing levy due to be charged every year against each and every road user.

In its first press release, the Coalition made it abundantly clear that “a process of collecting ‘yentua’ signatures from well-meaning Ghanaians against this extortionist levy has commenced and will go across the country for the next couple of days awaiting the announcement of a total scrapping of the policy, failure of which shall result in mass protests and demonstrations in two weeks”.

That is the spirt, my brothers and sisters. Count me in.

Aluta continua.