In Ghana, a person who drives a motor vehicle on the road without due care, attention and reasonable consideration for other road users commits an offence liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 2000 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years or both.
Recklessness on the part of many motorists has contributed enormously to road traffic accidents in Ghana. This has necessitated an occasional crackdown by law enforcement agencies which has brought many bad road users to book.
However, It is believed by many that Politicians typically may be able to have their way with some enforcement agencies. This has further created a wide spread believe that people of influence, such as politicians, the rich to mention a few by the power of the ‘who you know/ do you know who I am?’ syndrome break and get away with basic laws of the land all should respect and abide by.
For fear of being transferred to remote areas, some law enforcement officers like the police have expressed frustration in efforts to deal with culprits, especially in basic traffic offences that could have dire consequences to other motorists.
These culprits who wield power and influence have often blatantly disregarded motor traffic regulations at the slightest provocation, under the guise of having a ‘national assignment’, they defy their own laws.
The Ghana Report takes a dive into how some Members of Parliament in Ghana were arrested for careless and inconsiderate driving in a span of five years.
In most of these instances, the drivers cited emergencies for flouting road traffic regulations.
However, in most of these cases, either the MP himself faced the court for his transgression or his driver was made to take the fall, although the driver was said to be under the instruction of his boss, the MP.
- Ellembelle MP Emmanuel Kofi Buah
The Ellembelle MP was the first to take the fall early this year.
On March 3, 2022, Emmanuel Kofi Buah was arrested by the Airport Divisional Police for careless and inconsiderate driving.
The NDC MP was among a group of drivers arrested for similar offences, including driving while facing an oncoming vehicle in the middle of the road.
The legislator was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser with registration number GR 3533-20.
The police, in a statement, said the MP failed to cooperate with officers who arrested him and drove away in his Toyota Land Cruiser, leaving behind his driver’s licence.
Per the statement, the Airport Police Command later contacted him in the night via telephone and asked him to report to the station.
He was later processed for court.
- Sissala West MP Mohammed Adams Sukparu
On September 3, 2021, 13 drivers, including the MP for Sissala West, Mohammed Adams Sukparu, were apprehended for various traffic infractions.
The errant drivers were arrested on the Legon bypass in Accra for driving against traffic and the unauthorised use of sirens and strobe lights.
The NDC MP, who was driving a car with registration number GX 1100 – 16, turned on his hazard and veered off to the road facing the oncoming vehicles.
On his arrest, he explained that his father was unwell and thus violated the road traffic regulations.
“The issue is that my old man is sick and was brought to the hospital at Tesano, so I am rushing to the place. And you know the person bringing him does not know Accra, so I have to rush and meet them. That is unusual of me,” he said.
He admitted causing danger to other motorists with his actions and inactions.
- Nhyiaeso MP Dr Stephen Amoah
On December 7, 2021, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nhyiaeso, Dr. Stephen Amoah, was busted for careless and inconsiderate driving.
He was arrested together with six other drivers for not complying with road traffic regulations around the Airport bypass.
All seven were charged with offenses such as careless driving, dangerous driving and causing road obstruction by the La Magistrate Court.
Although the MP dismissed claims of reckless driving, he admits that he unlawfully followed a motorcade driving out of Parliament House on the said date.
According to him, his decision to follow the motorcade was a normal practice by parliamentarians.
He was arraigned before the La Magistrate court.
- Former Kade MP Kwabena Ohemeng-Tinyase
On July 3, 2019, the driver of the former Member of Parliament for Kade Kwabena Ohemeng-Tinyase was arrested for careless driving.
He was slapped with a fine of GH₵960 by the Abeka Motor Court for driving on the wrong side of the road, causing harm to other road users, as well as careless and inconsiderate driving.
The MP, Kwabena Ohemeng-Tinyase, who was being chauffeured in the V8 with registration number GX 5668 – 18, went berserk after his driver was arrested, challenging police officers and throwing tantrums.
“This is our nation, and our nation’s interest is paramount, so sometimes you should give us a concession to go and do the national assignment. I have always followed the queue. It is only today that we have a parliamentary session at 8 am. All I am saying is that I have an urgent thing to do in the national interest.
“It’s the same public that will complain when MPs are not in Parliament at 8 am. To every rule, there is an exception. Look at the national interest. I am not for myself,” he stressed.
The incident occurred when the New Patriotic Party was gearing up for the December 2020 elections.
The embattled legislator, who had become famous due to his outburst at the police officers and media guys, lost the Kade seat to his contender Alexander Agyare.
However, it is unclear whether his altercations with the officers accounted for his defeat. What is clear is that he became popular for the wrong reasons.
- Tarkwa Nsuaem MP George Mireku Duker
On July 8, 2019, the Member of Parliament for Tarkwa Nsuaem, George Mireku Duker was given a hot chase and nabbed for a road traffic offence.
The NPP MP failed to stop when the police caught him flouting traffic rules on Spintex Road.
ASP Richard Nyarko, Staff Officer to the Central MTTD Commander, said the MP was spotted driving on the wrong side of the road at the Coca-Cola Roundabout.
Unlike his Kade counterpart, Mr. Duker confined himself in his 4×4 vehicle with registration number WR 1900-17.
The legislator insisted later that the media report suggesting he was given a hot chase was an exaggerated story.
A statement issued and signed by the Deputy Communications Director of the NPP, Ing. Gomashie Edem, copied to the media, said:
“The Directorate refutes exaggeration claims by Accra-based Citi News of the MP being chased and processed for court”.
Per the statement, the MP had a diplomatic interaction with the police.
“The MP who was billed to represent the New Patriotic Party (NPP) & Government for the Adom TV morning political show had to match time all in the interests of the people he represents.
“There was strict vehicular movement on the Spintex road due to the presence of the police. It was difficult driving through, and he had no option but to drive through the middle of the road just to indicate to the police to give him access since he was late to represent his party on Adom TV”, the statement explained.
Verifying the press statement, Mr. Mireku Duker confirmed that he was not nabbed or sent to court. He said he had diplomatic talks with the police.