Angry Traders Threaten Demo

…..Over AMA Demolition Exercise

Angry traders and street hawkers whose shops and stalls were pulled down by security officers of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly yesterday have threatened to stage a mammoth demonstration against the assembly for destroying their wares.

According to the traders, beside the AMA’s failure to give them an alternative place, it has also failed to give them ample time to remove their wares before the exercise.

In addition, they believe the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has deceived them into voting them into power in 2016.

The AMA yesterday embarked on a demolition exercise on unauthorized structures and temporary shelters around the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange and parts of the Railway Line Area in Accra.

The exercise, which was said to have been carried out under the instruction of the city mayor, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, also drove off hawkers on the pavements and some traffic intersections.

But some of the traders who felt being betrayed by the government, following electoral promises, vowed to mobilize themselves and demonstrate against the city authority.

A trader who identified himself as Nana Kwame said, prior to the 2016 general elections, the current NPP government promised them jobs and better places to sell their wares when elected to power, but the decongestion exercise ongoing meant they had been deceived and therefore regretted terribly.

He told The Gazette they will not allow the AMA to displace them without any better alternative to their livelihood, stressing, “We will resist any action that affects our lives; we are all Ghanaians and deserve better living.”

Another trader who identified herself as Maame Odurowaah, explained that, though they were given three weeks’ notice, the AMA failed to offer an alternative place for them to sell their wares.

She said, the cost of living in the country has gone very high and one could not survive a day if he or she failed to sell even on the street.

To register their displeasure of the demolition exercise, some of the traders burnt tyres and agitated as the AMA officials embarked on the exercise.

Other traders, especially women, were seen gathering their destroyed wares, while still others also packed their items in stores which were not affected by the exercise.

However, the Director of Operations at the AMA, Mohammed Naziru, who supervised the exercise, justified the AMA’s move, noting that, the traders’ concerns were untenable for they were given prior notice ahead of the demolition exercise.

He argued that the demolition exercise was in fulfilment of President Nana Addo’s commitment to rid the country of filth, hence the creation of Ministry for Sanitation.

Mr. Naziru described the traders’ actions as political gimmick, for they had been warned on several times, even after the NPP government took over office, to leave the pavements but they will not respect that warning.

“The AMA task force is not happy about this development. That is why we came to speak to them to find another place. Nana Addo’s priority is to make Accra clean and that is why we are embarking on this exercise,” he stated.

The Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange was opened to traffic ahead of the December 2016 general elections and hawkers and petty traders have since taken over the facility which has been nick-named “Ghana Dubai.”

The pavements and some of the traffic intersections have been invaded by hawkers since and are making political capital out of it.

The Interchange is also serving as a tourist haven, but the presence of the illegal traders is making potential tourists unattractive to the scene.


Source: Felix Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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