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The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) seems to be losing the battle against street hawking and illegal trading activities. Barely two months after the assembly evicted traders from commercial centres in the national capital including the Central Business District of Accra, the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and the Kaneshie market, the traders are selling in the full glare of security guards who have been stationed at vantage points.

The structures are indeed missing, but in their stead are new strategies which include harassing and pulling of prospective clients by the petty traders and hawkers to sell their wares. Passers-by are now subjected to verbal and physical harassment by these traders who will stop at nothing to catch the attention of prospective buyers. These traders who have taken positions along the main roads would pull virtually everyone deemed capable of patronising their wares whilst bringing the items out from polythene bags.

Clearly, the AMA has more work to do to decongest the main Derby Avenue Road, a bus stop at the Railways Station at Accra, the Kaneshie market and parts of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle where the AMA had earlier this year cleared hundreds of illegal structures and hawkers in its first decongestion exercise for 2009.

The Derby Avenue located at the CBD of Accra and known for its congestion, is currently busy with traders and hawkers who beckon passers-by to patronise their wares while a sta-tion at the Railways near Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) is also bursting with commercial activities. Traders selling all manner of items such as jewellery, second-hand clothes and bags and veg-etables have taken over the bus stop and the pedestrian walkway.

When the Daily Graphic visited the CBD last Thursday to assess the success or otherwise of the exercise, it found out that the security guards made up of Metro Security, Prisons, Fire Service and police were overwhelmed with the situation as they looked on while the traders transacted their business. When the AMA was asked to comment on the current prevailing situation, it insisted that it was on track and monitoring the situation.

The Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Alfred Vanderpuije, told the Daily Graphic on telephone that monitoring would be intensified and recalcitrant traders arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others. A number of traders and petty traders found selling at illegal areas, he said, had been arrested and would be prosecuted. Meanwhile, there are still vacant stalls at the Pedestrian Shopping Mall specifically built for petty traders and hawkers to get them off the pedestrian walkway and shoulders of the roads.

The AMA on June 29, this year embarked on an unannounced decongestion exercise in parts of the metropolis during which officials of the assembly assisted by personnel of the Ghana Police Service, Ghana National Fire Service and Prisons Service cleared illegal structures at those areas.

Following the exercise, human and vehicle congestion was reduced significantly in and around the CBD, Kaneshie and Kwame Nkrumah Circle but motorists have expressed fear that with the manner in which the hawkers were trickling back, it may not be long before they take over the area again.
Source: Daily Graphic

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