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27.03.2007 General News

KMA ejects hawkers

By myjoyonline

Hawkers in the central business district of Kumasi are seething with anger over the demolition of their makeshift stalls by the city authorities who describe the structures as unauthorised.

The authorities have long directed the hawkers to relocate elsewhere for a decongestion exercise but a long delay in carrying out the task lured the hawkers into believing the exercise might not come on after all, just as many similar previous notices failed, the last being a January 15, 2007 deadline.

The hawkers however returned to their usual businesses early morning on Tuesday to find combined teams of military, police, prisons, fire service, environmental health officers, city guards and metropolitan labourers patrolling Adum and Kejetia after bull-dozers tore through their structures.

Metropolitan Chief Executive Patricia Appiagyei joined in the operation.

The debris was loaded unto waiting tipper trucks and carted away.

With armed military personnel on guard, and perhaps due to the timing of the exercise, there was virtually no resistance whatsoever despite earlier threats by some traders.

Some goods were discovered in piles, apparently left in the care of watchmen.

Having ignored an order by the KMA asking them to clear the items, caretakers were left fruitlessly begging on behalf of the owners to be allowed to keep the goods for the owners to claim them at day-break

The first phase of the exercise will be covered within ten days, and later extended to other parts of the city.

Residents have since been applauding city authorities for what they say is a bold step in decongesting the central business district.

Shop owners are the happiest. But many are skeptical if the exercise will be sustained this time round.