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09.02.2005 Regional News

Accra Cleared!

By Accra Mail
Accra Cleared!

The Central Business District (CBD) in Accra which is usually characterised by hawkers and traders of all types selling at any little space they get yesterday looked quite orderly and spacious.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in the morning swooped on the hawkers who were selling on the streets to clear them to ease vehicular and pedestrian movement.

Unauthorised structures were demolished by a special task force. The exercise which was carried out under the personal and direct supervision of the Mayor of Accra, Stanley Adjiri Blankson was uneventful.

Places around UTC, Lava shops, the pavement in front of the Ghana Commercial Bank's Liberty House Branch and the Kojo Thompson road which are normally congested with human traffic have now been cleared.

There was free flow of motor traffic yesterday, a far cry from when motorists had to toot and honk their horns to scare pedestrians who could not get walking space on pavements due to the encroachment of hawkers.

About 320 policemen and women armed with riot gear and city guards have been deployed at vantage places throughout the CBD to maintain law and order as well as deter the traders from coming back.

When the ADM visited the scene after the demolishing exercise yesterday afternoon most hawkers had packed their wares in boxes and placed them on push trucks looking more desperate and frustrated than ever.

"We do not know where to go now," a young lady, Esther Mintah, with a child on her back cried to the ADM.

Though most of the traders conceded that the exercise being undertaken by the AMA is legitimate and in the national interest they stressed that the AMA should have provided them with an alternative. However, Mayor Nii Adjiri Blankson thinks otherwise.

"When you go into the market, where they are supposed to sell, the place is half empty. There are lots of spaces for them to sell but they prefer coming on the street which is wrong," he said.

He said the AMA is this time not treating anybody with kid's gloves. Mr Blankson said the AMA is spending ¢480 million to make Accra an enviable city in the sub-region. He said a special court has been allocated to the AMA that would deal with recalcitrant offenders.

The CBD which is the nerve centre of Accra in terms of business is now relatively clean and orderly but as Bright Bonsu, an Accra resident, told the ADM, "this is not the first time such an exercise is taking place.

We have seen a lot such exercises before, and in just a few days the traders come back to sell on the pavements. Can the AMA sustain this action this time?"

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