Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kiosks owners try to outwit KMA decongestion team

A NEW development has emerged in the ongoing decongestion exercise in Kumasi, with owners of a number of container shops and kiosks sited at unauthorised locations painting their structures in the national colours of red, yellow and green in a bid to save those structures from demolition.
Most of those structures are located in areas like Asokwa, Asafo, Amakom and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Junction.
City authorities have, however, indicated that there is no policy that exempted such structures from demolition, even if their locations were illegal.
“The issue is where the structures are located and not the national colours,” Mr Charles Ampomah-Mensah, the Metropolitan Engineer, explained in an interview.
He said the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) decongestion team had been compelled to remove and demolish some of those structures painted in the national colours at Kaase because they had been wrongly sited.
He expressed the hope that the Kaase example would drum home the fact that the KMA meant business and would not favour anybody for one reason or another.
The metropolitan engineer indicated that some people might have been wrongly carried away by the decision of the KMA to spare kiosks belonging to the Department of National Lotteries (DNL) in the exercise. DNL kiosks are in red, yellow and green.
On the decongestion exercise, Mr Ampomah-Mensah said it was progressing steadily, explaining that the team was now concentrating on the eastern railway line from the Central Market through Alabar and Aboabo to join the eastern by-pass.
He said the KMA decongestion team had faced serious security problems in the exercise in parts of the Zongo area, saying the security personnel attached to the team had had to fire warning shots to dispel rampaging residents who pelted various missiles on the members of the team.
Mr Ampomah-Mensah explained that the KMA was not out to destroy business in the Kumasi metropolis through the decongestion exercise, as some people might want to believe.
“The informal sector in Kumasi is so big and contributing immensely to the economy of the metropolis and as such we will not do anything to destroy the sector,” he said.
He pointed out that many of the people selling on pedestrian walkways could move to safe areas but they would simply not do that, adding that said a such situation could compel the KMA to forcibly remove them, creating problems for the affected persons.
He said the KMA was talking with identified groups like car dealers and mechanics to ensure that they complied with the directives without any disturbances.

Decongestion exercise extended outside CBD

THE Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has extended the decongestion exercise to the ring roads in the metropolis.

This is after it has brought sanity to the central business district (CBD) of Adum by ejecting traders transacting business on pavements and streets and demolishing major slum areas alleged to be the hiding places of criminals, illegal drug peddlers and prostitutes.

Last week the KMA started clearing all kiosks, containers and structures along the route from the Anloga Junction, where the Ring Road begins, to the Airport Roundabout down to the Krofrom traffic lights.

According to officials of the task force who are carrying out the demolition exercise, it would be extended to the Sofoline and Santasi roundabouts and continue to the Asokwa Police Station area.

The exercise, which started barely two months ago, forms part of efforts by the KMA to restore Kumasi to its former glory as the Garden City of West Africa.

According the Transport Officer of the KMA, Mr Atta Boafo, the exercise would come to an end in two weeks’ time, “by which period we would have cleared all unauthorised structures from the ceremonial roads”.

Explaining further, he said some of the structures were used for both business and residential purposes, explaining that that was against KMA regulations on trading and residential accommodation.

He said in the course of the exercise, the task force encountered some obstacles but its desire to clear all unauthorised structures prevailed and that made it possible for it to successfully execute the programme.

Mr Boafo expressed concern about some recalcitrant residents who refused to remove their structures from the restricted areas, even when, prior to the exercise, the KMA had notified the affected persons to remove the structures before the task force hit the road.

He said while some of the affected persons complied with the directives and removed their structures, “the recalcitrant ones refused so we had no option but to remove them to pave the way for the beautification programme to begin in earnest”.

He said the decongestion exercise was on course, adding that it would be extended to Suame Magazine “as soon as we clear the ceremonial roads of all structures which undermine our beautification programme”.

He said artisans at Suame Magazine had extended their activities to the major roads in the area, creating vehicular and human traffic, as well as sanitation problems, in the metropolis.

Mr Boafo said the KMA had already notified the executive members of the artisans and the Ghana National Garage Owners Association about the upcoming exercise and those who would be affected had started clearing their structures.

He gave the assurance that the exercise would not be a nine days’ wonder but would be sustained “to enable residents to appreciate the need to comply with the directives of the KMA”.

Mr Boafo said the KMA had set up a monitoring team to stop recalcitrant traders from returning to the CBD to transact business on pavements and streets.

The team consisted of a few members, he said, adding, “But when we finish with the demolition exercise we will increase the number of the monitoring team to enable it to stamp its authority on all restricted areas which had been used over the years for business transactions.”

Meanwhile, a section of the residents affected by the decongestion exercise has complained bitterly about the “excesses of the assembly”.

They contended that the KMA was taking the exercise too far and venturing into areas where they were not supposed to go.

According to Mr Moses Boadi, a resident of Krofrom, whose container was removed by the demolition team, his structure was far from the main road and so he did not understand why it had to be removed.

He said the KMA’s action was affecting the businesses of a lot of people and, therefore, urged it to take a second look at it.

Other affected people who spoke expressed similar sentiments and urged the KMA to suspend the exercise.