Kumasi taxi drivers mad at Minister

…for denigrating their profession

From Issah Alhassan, Kumasi

Mr. James Agyenim-Boateng, Deputy Minister of Information

A CROSS section of taxi drivers in the Kumasi metropolis have taken a Deputy Minister of Information, Mr. James Agyenim-Boateng, to the cleaners, following his recent comments that sought to denigrate people in their profession.

The Deputy Information Minister, in a rebuttal to the opposition party’s assertion of President Mills’ reshuffle, was reported to have passed a comment, which suggested that the former administration of the New Patriotic party (NPP) recruited taxi drivers as ministers.

Mr. Agyenim-Boateng’s reaction, which was aired on an Accra-based radio station, Joy 99.7FM, followed the opposition party’s description of the government’s reshuffle as musical chairs, and the reassignment of “Team B” players.

In reaction to the opposition party’s assertion, the Deputy Information Minister claimed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government did not appoint incompetent people to steer the affairs of the country, unlike its predecessors who were noted to have given ministerial appointments to taxi drivers.

The opposition party however, appeared to have succeeded in making huge political capital out of the Deputy Minister’s loose mouth, after accusing him of insulting taxi drivers.

Against this backdrop, some taxi drivers in the Kumasi metropolis have taken a swipe at the Deputy Minister, and called on the President, His Excellency Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, to sanction him.

According to them, Mr. Agyenim-Boateng’s statement was a serious indictment on all taxi drivers in the country, some of who played active roles in ensuring the victory of the NDC.

They argued that during the 2008 elections, taxis and other commercial drivers actively protested against the harsh economic conditions at that time, which culminated in the eventual defeat of the NPP administration.

The taxi drivers therefore, contended that it was highly unfair on the part of the Deputy Minister to have made that statement.

“Now they see taxi drivers as non-entities; it was we, these same taxi drivers, who voted you to power, we shall see in 2012,” one taxi driver agitated on a local radio station.

Some of them warned that should President Mills fail to bring the Deputy Minister to order, they would organise a demonstration to register their protest.

The aggrieved taxi drivers further contended that it was not the first time a state official had passed a comment which belittled their job, making reference to a similar alleged statement made on a Kumasi-based radio station by an NDC-radio panelist, that taxi drivers could not blame the government for any predicament, because they had been spending their earnings on fufu and meat.

They wondered why state officials would cast serious slurs on taxi drivers, or any occupation of similar status, when they have in one way or the other patronised their services at a point in time.

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