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Police stop drivers demo as ‘Smart Licence’ is launched

Vice President Mahammadu Bawumia

The police yesterday stopped a planned demonstration by members of the Concerned Drivers Association who had wanted to embark on a protest on the streets of Accra with their vehicles.

They wanted to protest what they described as high cost of fuel and cost of obtaining the new Smart Driver’s licence, which was launched yesterday by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).

And though they had informed the police that they were going to use about 50 vehicles in a convoy for the protest, they were prevented from picketing on the streets of Accra.

They intended pushing their cars on at some areas instead of driving them as part of the demonstration with the explanation that they can no longer cope with the rising cost of fuel.

According to the angry drivers, the planned protest was aimed at calling on the Akufo-Addo administration to reduce the cost of acquiring the new Smart Licence.

When Today got to the Obra Spot, Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, the converging point for the protesters, our team sighted over eight Pick-ups, a couple of 4×4 cross-country vehicles and two water cannons, and police armoured cars placed at vantage points, ostensibly to ward off the demonstrators.

Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the Concerned Drivers Association, who spoke to Today on condition of anonymity lamented the frustrations they had gone through to organise the intended demonstration.

The frustrations, according to the spokesperson, were indications that drivers in the country were generally being taken for a ride.

“Our main issue is the fuel. Why should a gallon of fuel be selling at GH¢22?” the PRO angrily asked. According to the spokesperson, it was expensive to charge GH¢155 for the so-called new and improved licence, when we were only paying GH¢45 for the old one.

But Chief Superintendent Kwesi Ofori in charge of Operations at the Greater Accra Regional Police Command said the move planned demonstration was going to create inconveniences for other commuters.

“We cannot permit this kind of demonstration. It is not in our books, it is not lawful, it is against public security, and public safety and public order,” he said.

But the drivers insisted that they got police clearance to proceed with their action and therefore congregated at the Obra Spot at Kwame Nkrumah Interchange yesterday.

The police however, prevented them for hitting the streets. Later, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, officially launched the new Smart Driver’s Licence.

Touted to be among the most secured in the world, the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) yesterday commenced issuing the Smart driver’s licences across the country immediately after the successful launch.

According to the Director in charge of Driving Training, Testing and Licencing at the DVLA, Cheyuo Wienna Musah, the card will be West Africa’s first.

The new digital card will fast-track the acquisition of new drivers licences as applicants will now be able to obtain it within a period of two to four weeks.

The digital driver’s licence is part of government’s target to remove the human interface from the process of issuing new licencing and expected to improve dwindling revenue from the DVLA.

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