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Hawkers Invade Flagstaff House   
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Hawkers and traders have taken over the Arko Adjei Interchange to the Akuafo Intersection on the Liberation road in Accra in the full glare of city authorities to engage in selling during rush hours, Today has observed.

Incidentally the official seat of government, the Flagstaff House, which is also on that stretch, has not been spared as the hawkers have virtually occupied the main entrance to the Flagstaff House thereby raising critical national security concerns.

Immediately opposite the Flagstaff House are the Military quarters housing serving personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces. Even that has not deterred the hawkers let alone the heavy police along the stretch.

One could purchase consumable items ranging from, tooth paste, brushes, mobile phone accessories, school bags and stationery, umbrellas, torch lights as well as drinkables like sachet and bottled water, pastries, and fruits along that corridor.

flagstaff-houseToday can report that these hawkers who have become adept at identifying hotspots for heavy vehicular traffic jams in the national capital hop from spot to spot depending on the time of the day and the traffic flow on a particular corridor.

And they have therefore taken advantage of traffic jams that build up from the Interchange to the 37 Military Hospital between 3:00 P.M., and 7:00 P.M., to engage in brisk business.

Speaking to Today on Friday, July 31, 2015 Yaa Mansa, a hawker from Berekum in the Brong Ahafo region, said even though she was aware it was unlawful to hawk along ceremonial roads, she had no option but to disregard the law since her survival was at stake.

She revealed that she trained as a hairdresser but travelled to the city to find a job and for the two-and-a-half-years she has not found a job yet “so I decided to sell pure water and soft drinks in traffic so I could fend for my family back home.”

When asked whether she was not worried about the possibility of being arrested, especially at the Flagstaff House area, Yaa Mansa responded there was nothing she could do if the authorities asked her to move.

“However so long as they have not driven us from this place, I will continue to sell,” she intimated.

Street hawkers, She said business has been good despite the general harsh economic conditions in the country.

Madam Mansa hoped she and her colleagues would not be prevented from selling on the streets because such an action will render them jobless.

The situation was not different from other busy hawking spots from Liberation Square to the Movenpick Hotel as well as streets around the Tema Station in Accra, around Rawlings Park, Makola and Kimbu.

The story was the same from the 37 Military Hospital to the former Hotel Shangrila as well as from Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout to Dzorwulu Junction on the N1 Highway.

Apart from the increasing number of hawking spots, this reporter also realised that the hawkers had increased in number and competing with other road users for space.

Pedestrians now have a dual headache of avoiding being knocked down by vehicles and also dodging running into hawkers.

Today’s findings further revealed that the hawkers and traders have taken over the streets at Tudu, opposite the Motor Traffic Transport Department (MMTD) office, Togo-Aflao station, Cocoa Marketing Board and UTC.

Another sad aspect of this illegal practice, Today spotted, was that some food vendors have also taken advantage of the situation to operate mini-chop bars on parts of the street from Makola to Kwame Nkrumah Circle.

To compound issues, Today learnt that some taxi and trotro (mini-bus) drivers are using the opportunity to pick passengers and goods right in the middle of the street, while some private cars and trucks indiscriminately park with the warning triangle on top of their vehicles to deceive the Assembly taskforce and MTTD that the vehicles are faulty.

The activities of some traders, hawkers and drivers, Today established, has result in heavy traffic during mornings when the roads are expected to be free for motorists during off-peak hours.

This also raises the question as to whether city authorities have ran out of ideas as to how to deal with the hawking menace.

Today can say that these areas mentioned are located in the heart of the metropolis–the Central Business District– and also close to seat of government, the ministries and some important government institutions and agencies, for which reason authorities must put in more efforts to enforce law and order.
Source: Today

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