Oguaa Kotokuraba Market Demolished

The Kotokuraba Market in Cape Coast, the Central Region capital, was Friday night demolished to pave way for the construction of an ultra-modern market initiated by the late President John Evans Atta Mills. The Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly had constructed temporary stores and sheds for the traders at the market and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) area. Traders Friday evening were busily packing their wares from the market. The exercise, which was initially scheduled for October 1, 2014, did not come off because of an interlocutory injunction from a Cape Coast high court, presided over by Justice Kwesi Dapaah. On September 24, 2014, some concerned traders at Kotokuraba filed a motion of stay of execution of the demolition exercise. In their statement of claim, the traders alleged among other things, that cubicles in the temporary market were too small, too warm, not human friendly, made with inferior materials, no toilet facility and inconvenient for their businesses. In the course of the trial, the Paramount Chief of Oguaa Traditional Area, Osaberima Kwesi Atta II, prayed the court for a possible out-of-court settlement which was granted but was unable to settle the case at his palace. The matter was subsequently brought to court for full trial, at the end of which the court gave an order for the demolition of the market. When DAILY GUIDE got to the market on Saturday a grader had demolished the historic market which was constructed about 90 years ago. The paper observed that the area had been cordoned off while the police were present to ensure the smooth execution of the project. DAILY GUIDE spotted some residents who took advantage of the exercise to loot iron rods, cement blocks, wood and other items. Some traders stood afar to watch the market being demolished as others wept uncontrollably a situation which compelled people around to lambast President John Dramani Mahama. The eight aggrieved traders who dragged the CCMA and three other defendants to court over the exercise, on Thursday filed an application for extension of time at a Cape Coast high court in respect of the exercise. According to them, the assembly had not complied with some conditions it was to fulfill before the demolition exercise as ordered by Justice Dapaah in his ruling on the case on November 28, 2014. The conditions were that the assembly could demolish the market after midnight of Friday, December 19, after giving a written note assuring the applicants and the members of the Concerned Traders Association, space in the ultra-modern structure, when completed. The assembly was also to hand over to each of the eight applicants, keys to their cubicles in the temporary structures, in not less than seven days before the demolition exercise. When the application for extension was mentioned in court on Friday, Justice Dapaah did wonder why the case had been scheduled for hearing on December 23, when the court might be on Christmas break. He said the court did not automatically order the demolition of the market on Friday, December 19, but rather only after the conditions of the judgment had been fulfilled. Justice Dapaah did not schedule any date for hearing and this disappointed the applicants and their sympathizers who had come to court with the hope of getting the exercise extended. Many observers have remarked that even though the government might not get enough funds for the completion of the project, it had jumped into it only to deceive the people of the area to vote for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to retain power in the 2016 general elections. According to some irate residents, the government had spent three years on the temporary structure which was supposed to have been completed in just six months.