The Ho branch of the State Transport Company (STC) was yesterday caught in an awkward situation that raised questions about work ethics and competence of the new management at the helm of the national transporter.
Unhappy victims of a mix-up at the Ho Transport yard of STC, which led to Ghanaian nationals being evacuated from a bus in order to make way for some white missionaries to rent the bus, has also led to questions about whether there is a passenger profiling policy based on race at the STC.
Ho-based Global FM reports that some Ghanaian passengers who had been told to step down from an 18-seater bus of the STC in order for 12 white missionaries to rent the bus, have been traumatized by the experience.
According to the report, the deprivation had left Ghanaian passengers stranded at the Ho STC yard for almost a whole day, while the white passengers had been afforded the opportunity to cruise off in time.
Some passengers are said to have reported to Global FM that after sitting on-board the only available Accra-bound bus for close to an hour, waiting to set off, an official of the STC then asked them to get off, with the explanation that the bus had been hired out to some ‘white’ men.
An aggrieved client, a musician by name Za-gu-nor Selasie, is said to have messaged Global FM yesterday to complain about the treatment meted out to Ghanaians by fellow Ghanaians at STC, just to please white expatriates.
“My name is Za-Gu-Nor Selasie, a musician from the Volta Region. I had an awkward experience this morning at the STC yard trying to board the bus for Accra.
“I was the first to arrive, and later joined by two white men. They went hung around for a while, went into the office and returned about 30 minutes with an official [of STC] to ask me and other passengers who were already seated in the bus to alight, and that the whites had ‘booked’ the bus! Really?
“ This was a bus that was on scale the whole morning bound for Accra. In a miserable attempt to pacify an obviously dissatisfied group of clients, the official suggested that we wait for another bus that was then on its way from Accra.
“This is simply not fair because, in my opinion, other nationals had clearly been favoured over us taxpayers in our own country.
“Further inquiries from officials indicated that a bus that can carry as many as 18 passengers had been hijacked by only twelve (12) ‘so called’ missionaries who even declined the suggestion for some of us to join them. These people are supposed to be missionaries for Christ’s sakes!” the musician is said to have complained.
Global FM reports that it followed up the story to the Ho office of the STC, where its queries were met with flimsy excuses.
According to the radio station, upon confirming the incident, the Volta Regional Operations Assistant of Intercity STC, Mr. Richard Ahiafor, explained that the said white people had booked the bus in advance.
“This was a clear oversight on the part of my officials. The bus was booked in advance but then I’m sure there was a mix-up somewhere. For that I’m truly sorry. I’ll say it was my fault that things went this way,” said Mr. Ahiafor.
“This is the kind of shortage we are talking about in the system; if we had enough buses moving out to Accra, these things wouldn’t have been happening. We have a priority and then we have state buses. This bus could be on scale for about two to three hours, because this is a Monday; I know how Monday services go in Ho that’s why I wasn’t bothered when just a single bus was available,” he is quoted to have said.
The fallout is a bad publicity for newly appointed Managing Director for the STC, Nana Akomea. Nana was appointed to the post by President Akufo-Addo in April, this year.
Prior to Nana Akomea coming to the job, the STC had been revamped by the erstwhile Mahama government in 2015, after it had been beleaguered with a lot of problems that had virtually grinded it to a halt.
In March 2015, two companies, Focus-Four Limited and Smice Group, had entered into different mutual service-agreements with the STC. As part of the agreement with Smice, the company had given STC 25 Urvan buses to augment its fleet.
In January, this year, STC signed a new agreement with Nordic Logistics Company, under a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
It is in spite of all these agreements that the company cannot still ensure the availability of buses for its patrons.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Fiifi Samuels