Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Filth engulfs Kumasi Central Market

Customers at the Kumasi Central Market, which is said to be the biggest in the West African sub region, are welcome by filth.
Ironically many traders and hawkers sit and transact business in the midst of the filth as if good health doesn’t mean anything to them.
The openly sell foodstuffs and their wares in the middle of the road and on the pavements amidst filth which they themselves generate.
Some display their goods including tomatoes, yams, garden eggs, apples, lettuce and cabbage on the ground over a mat while others put theirs on the bare ground just next to drains filled with stagnant and stinky water.
Others especially those who trade on the streets simply carry their commodities on their hands, heads and shoulders and move around.
This is not the first time an issue of this sort had been raised. It has been raised on a couple of platforms but the situation keeps worsening with no solution to it.
What even makes the situation a bother for me is how foodstuffs especially vegetables and fruits, some of whom are eaten in their raw state is sold on the bare ground in the midst of filth.
One always wonders why there is so much indiscipline at the city centre of the Kumasi metropolis, especially at the precincts of the central market and wondered whose responsibility it was to ensure sanity at the place as the city authorities, the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) look on unconcerned.
One is not likely to see the degree of filth during daytime as the place is crowded but at night after the day’s activities.
Last Monday, as I walked on the road in front of the Central Market I was fascinated with the mounting heap of garbage and people including pedestrians and traders who throw garbage anywhere and everywhere.
I wondered how city dwellers had lost their sense of sanitation and civility questioned how people, who initially lived a clean life, create and live in such filth. Such gross disregard to health defies Ghanaian culture.
This appalling sanitation problem makes the government’s much-hyped tourism programme look like a child’s play.
The least talk about the resultant congestion on the road in front of the central market as it is neither not comforting driving through that area nor footing.
Trading activities along the streets and pavements was now as brisk as before the introduction of the exercise, which has come to nothing after spending several millions of Ghana cedis on it.
The last time the Metropolitan Chief Executive, Miss Patricia Appiagyei reacted to concerns on the aborted decongestive exercise, which it claimed it was embarking on a sustainable base to evict traders who have taken over walkways in the Central Business District of Kumasi, she accused the media of not supporting the Assembly resulting in the failure of the exercise. The KMA gave every assurance that it would sustain the decongestive exercise and evict traders who had taken over the walkways in the central business district of Kumasi.
The City Mayor alleged that some sections of the media criticised the KMA and that explained why the exercise had been stalled.
“Some media men criticised us as well as politicised it that is why we have relented on the exercise. We thought we were in partnership with you but we were wrong. You find people back on the pavements because the media did not support us”, Miss Appiagyei said.
Last year, the KMA embarked on the exercise to decongest the CBD of traders who had indiscriminately taken over the streets and the pavements and millions of cedis were spent on the exercise, yet the hawkers are still on the streets doing brisk business with its attendant socio-economic problems.
Assurances were given by the KMA that the exercise was not going to be a nine days’ wonder but would be sustained to enable residents to appreciate the need to comply with the directives of the KMA.
It is not clear what might have compelled the KMA, which in 2006 “blew” some GH¢100,000 on a similar abortive ejection exercise, to go back on its word in 2007, but the lack of political will, as the case has always been, cannot be ruled out.
The activities of the hawkers, who have taken over pavements in the city centre, have compelled pedestrians to walk on the roads, putting them at great risk.
A huge number of petty traders have virtually hijacked the business district of the city which is seriously impeding the free flow of vehicles and pedestrians.
These lawless individuals have completely taken over all the pavements in the city centre and are busily going about their ‘normal’ duties as if there were no laws to bring them to order.
For how long can residents continue to grapple with this problem?
Personally I feel there ought to be a conscious attempt to improve sanitation in that part of the city to give the city the beauty and the Garden City status it deserves.