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When Accra Slept...   
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An unusually quiet atmosphere, closed shops and empty streets were the defining features of Accra while the country awaited the landmark Supreme Court judgement on the 2012 presidential election petition.

The typical rush hour traffic in the morning that is seen in most parts of the national capital was absent. Instead, the Odorkor-Kaneshie, Circle-Ofankor, Sowutuom-Accra, Adenta-Accra, the Graphic Road and other roads which are notorious for their gridlock were free and virtually empty.

The Oxford Street at Osu, known for its hustle and bustle as the heart of entertainment and business in that part of Accra, was virtually empty.

The police had sealed off the main streets leading to the Supreme Court, while helicopters hovered around, as part of the security details to curb any violence.

Quiet Ministries

The Ministries area, the nerve centre of government business, was virtually asleep, with fleets of vehicles parked in front of the various ministries. Only a few people moved in and out of the Ministeries’ enclave.

The food vendors and visitors who are usually seen doing brisk business in the area were absent.

“The place appears deserted but there are people in the offices. In my office, for instance, there was no absentee,” a Communications Officer at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Ras Liberty Amewode, told the Daily Graphic.

He was optimistic that the judgement would not change anything and that no matter where it went, it was Ghana which would emerge the victor.

Empty embassies

With the exception of the United States (US) Embassy at Cantonments, where a handful of prospective visa applicants were seen waiting outside the premises, the other embassies were empty.

The long winding queues that characterised activities at the major embassies in the city were absent.

At the United Kingdom High Commission, the Danish Embassy, the German Embassy, all in the Ridge area, and the Chinese Embassy at the Airport Residential Area, no visa applicants were seen.

Closed shops

The closure of shops, stalls and kiosks resulted in deafening silence uncharacteristic of the central business district (CBD) of Accra, known for its chaotic atmosphere occasioned by human and vehicular congestion, the cacophony of street preachers and the host of hawkers and head porters (kayayei).

The streets and markets were almost empty.

The only major lorry park in the CBD, the Rawlings Park, was without its fleet of vehicles.

Not too far away from the Rawlings Park, drivers at the Tema Station, one of the busiest lorry terminals in Accra, feared they would go home with empty pockets.

Bright Afoakwa, who plies between the Tema Station and Lashibi, told the Daily Graphic that business was slow.

“It appears that people are afraid of coming to town. Our vehicles are parked here but passengers are not coming,” he said.

With the shops closed, hawkers and petty traders decided to take a holiday. There were, however, pockets of them bobbing and weaving through some intersections on the 37 Hospital road and the Kanda Highway to earn their daily bread.
Source: Naa Lamiley Bentil and Seth J. Bokpe/Daily Graphic/Ghana Writers’ email: [email protected]/ [email protected]

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