The PZ Arena of Kumasi Kejetia was a scene of confusion yesterday morning when members of the taskforce of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) clashed with some traders in the city.
The incident, which happened around 9:15 am, followed the traders’ fierce resistance against the taskforce’s move to drive them off the pavements.
Street traders around Kejetia have been targeted in a crackdown by the KMA after ejecting them from the lorry terminal to pave way for a redevelopment project expected to begin next month.
An eyewitness, Daniel Oppong Sarpong, told DAILY GUIDE that the traders squared off with the taskforce members when the latter started to destroy their wares and smashed showcases.
Parliament approved a US$298 million Brazilian loan for the KMA to undertake a two-phased project at Kejetia and the central market, with Contracta – a Brazilian construction company billed to undertake the project.
“They are certainly not welcome on the streets. Racecourse is the designated place for them. They have to go there as street trading can have effect on legitimate trading activities,” the witness reported one of the taskforce members as saying.
But Mr. Sarpong narrated that the angry traders retorted that the taskforce had no business interfering with their business activities as the place they had relocated to did not form part of the designated place for the redevelopment project.
Members of the Kejetia Traders’ Association have been at loggerheads with the KMA since the beginning of the assembly’s attempt to relocate them to the racecourse and the Adehyeman Gardens areas.
To assuage the fears of the traders, the KMA undertook a registration of the affected traders to assure them of a place after the completion of the project, but this exercise was also characterized with allegations of extortion and favouritism, culminating in a legal suit.
It took the intervention of a committee by the Asanteman Council to broker peace between the feuding parties after a strategic meeting.