The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Monday morning carried out a decongestion exercise across the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra to clear the streets, particularly pavements of traders.
The exercise, which started at about 4am saw members of AMA’s Taskforce breaking down unauthorized structures mounted on pavements and other unauthorized places by the traders.
Among the areas where the decongestion exercise was conducted were the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, TipToe Lane, Tudu and Accra Central.
At Kwame Nkrumah Circle and Accra Central for instance, the pavements which usually would have been occupied by the traders which action slow down human movements, were free of the traders and people were moving with ease.
When Graphic Online visited Kwame Nkrumah Circle, it came upon some of the overwhelmed traders standing in groups and musing over their next action.
Some members of the AMA Taskforce were also seen on the pavements at vantage points to prevent the traders from coming back.
Some of the traders who could not hide their discontentment about the exercise said they were given a short notice to vacate.
In an interview, the Chairman of the Neoplan Traders Association at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Mr Francis Kumi, said members of his association were not part of those selling on the pavements but have been affected by the exercise.
He said members of the Neoplan Traders Association were given the place they have been selling by one Moses, a liaison officer of the AMA at the VIP station at Kwame Nkrumah Circle.
He said members of the Neoplan Traders Association do not put any unauthorized structures on the pavements to sell.
Mr Kumi said members of the association after the construction of the Circle Interchange have spent more than GH¢1billion filling the uncovered gutters and beautifying the space for their trading activities, adding that the said Moses was the one who gave the place to them.
He said over 150 members of the association were affected, alleging that some of the members were even beaten during the exercise.
He said the leadership of the association had met Moses to discuss with him, to at least, give them some time to move from the place when they heard the news about the decongestion exercise three days ago on the television.
Mr Kumi said when the leadership met Moses, he (Moses) assured them that he would do something about their situation but came to them on Sunday (December 7, 2018) that there was nothing he could do about the exercise.
Another trader, who only gave his name as Nana Owusu, said they are disappointed in the manner Moses had handled the situation.
He said Moses had threatened that any person who would go to his office to talk about the decongestion exercise would be severely beaten and also sent to the police station for further action.
According to him, revenue collectors from AMA everyday come to them for daily levies, which members of the Neoplan Traders Association had been complying with religiously.
Nana Owusu said AMA had not given them any place to go after the decongestion exercise and added that they had no place to go.
He, however, appealed to the leadership of AMA to consider those who are not on the pavement, saying “where we are is not part of the pavement”.
When Graphic Online visited the office of the AMA, an official who declined to comment on the exercise said it was only the Chief Executive who could comment on the matter but said the Chief Executive was in a meeting.
But some pedestrians in an interview said they are happy about the exercise and prayed that the AMA would sustain the exercise since the trading activities on the pavements always hamper human movements on the pavements.
Felicia Osei, a student, said “now the pavements are free of the traders, it’s very terrible especially in the night”.
Richmond Quaye, a ‘trotro mate’ said he was not enthused about the exercise since similar exercises had been done in the past yet the traders always returned to the pavement weeks after the exercise.