Untangling The Circle Entanglement
Every city has its version of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle where many small business activities take place. Perhaps what some of these cities do not have is the occasional clashes between pavement hawkers and the city authorities as we often have at our Circle.
Accra's Circle, a name challenged by the Circle Interchange, is a warren of activities. It is the informal mobile and laptop sales headquarters of Accra. Here you can bargain for these hi-tec gadgets at will.
Newcomers to the city find the place too clumsy to contain but it gives the city a special flavour.
Efforts to restore sanity in this part of the city did not start today. In fact, the late Salifu Amankwah pitched camp here instilling his military rating discipline in both hawkers and pedestrians in the general area. Under him Circle looked great, although there were instances of human rights breaches which we do not subscribe to.
The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Oko Vanderpuije, also attempted doing something about the place but his efforts were swallowed by intense politicization and rendered unproductive.
The hawkers' market nearby was intended to create a place for this class of traders so they can leave the pavements and give the place a clean whiff of life. The hawkers appear to prefer selling on pavements and rubbing shoulders with pedestrians – a preference which has brought them in collision with the city authorities.
With the inception of a new leadership at the AMA has come a fresh desire to instill discipline in this part of the city, especially the main roads. That has unfortunately become a source of friction between the AMA and those breaching the ban on pavement hawking.
Ordinarily, there should be no qualms about evicting those breaching the order. But a situation where people at places outside the restricted segments are arbitrarily attacked by a certain Chief Okine from the AMA, we think something is wrong.
The said Okine who heads the City Guards, last Saturday or so embarked on an unauthorized operation attacking the Tiptoe Lane area – a place which falls outside the 'no hawking' zone.
There is the need for the AMA chief to bring this man to order. He has overstayed his appointment at the AMA and should have long vacated his post. He could not have done what he did last Saturday without an intention to inflict harm to the new political administration in place in the country.
Misguided actions are being perpetrated by persons who are still sulking because to them the political change in the country should not under any circumstance be tolerated.
The Circle issue must be managed with care. The traders within the Tiptoe Lane have breached no bylaw and should be left alone to mind their businesses.
Any operation within the Circle area should be done with the representatives of the traders – which is the Circle Youth Traders' Association.
The AMA Chief Executive Officer must be careful about these unauthorized operations after all, the 'no go' portions are known to the representatives of the traders.