Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

KMA demolishes 'Abinkyi' slum in Kumasi

A SPRAWLING slum in Kumasi popularly called "Abinkyi slum" has been razed to the ground in a major demolishing exercise undertaken by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) at dawn last Tuesday.
The slum also known as "Sodom and Gomorrah" is located close to the offices of the Cocoa Waste Buying Company and the Volta River Authority (VRA) Offices.
The exercise sent the several slum dwellers said to be about 2000 bag packing and looking for alternative places to lay their heads.
Several wooden and mud houses in which the residents, mostly of northern extraction lived, came crumbling down by a caterpillar as officers of the KMA together with armed policemen supervised the demolition exercise.
The exercise formed part of a firm commitment by the Kumasi Mayor, Mr Samuel Sarpong, to ensure that law and order was maintained in the metropolis by demolishing all unauthorised structures.
In 2006 the Metropolitan Security Committee after studying complaints of emergence of slums and the attendant problems of harbouring criminals decided that all the unauthorised structures should be cleared or demolished.
The authorities attributed their decision to the belief that unplanned settlements were fast growing into slums with the attendant problem of becoming dens of criminals.
Consequently in 2007, the KMA commenced demolishing of the Sodom and Gomorrah slum but following protests from the dwellers for the authorities to allow them some time to look for alternative accommodation, the city authorities gave them a respite.
It was however later detected that instead of moving out of the place, new structures were rather springing up.
The KMA this year commenced discussions with the dwellers and made them to understand that they could not continue to be at the place.
"Indeed the leadership of the dwellers accepted that they were illegally occupying the place," Mr Clement Kegeri, a Public Relations Officer at the KMA told the Daily Graphic.
Consequently, he said, the authorities gave them a two week ultimatum which elapsed on Saturday May 22, 2010.
According to Mr Kegeri, while some people packed bag and baggage and left, others stayed on anticipating that the warning was a fluke.
It however came as a surprise to them on Tuesday as the caterpillar arrived to demolish the structures. There was virtually no resistance from them.
A number of the residents had gone out when the exercise took place and those who were around had to struggle to pull away their personal belongings.
Some wailed uncontrollably as they picked their belongings and pleaded with the authorities to offer them an alternative place of abode.
The Abinkyi slum is allegedly associated with vices including prostitution and gambling, but the leaders of the community have continuously denied that allegation. Mr Kegeri told the Daily Graphic that the decision to demolish the slum was long overdue as the area was simply not zoned for human habitation and the general conditions there were nothing to write home about. The sewer system from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) ran to the area and it was an eyesore to see human beings living with all sorts of unhealthy materials at the place. Again, the VRA and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had their sub stations very close to the area, which was dangerous for the residents.
Mr Kegeri said the decision to demolish the place was taken long ago when the KMA informed the residents but the leaders of the community petitioned the KMA to extend the deadline for the exercise and the Assembly agreed.
Asked whether the KMA would look for an alternative place for the residents to live, the PRO said the KMA was not duty-bound to look for a place for them.
He said the KMA was planning to put up market stores there to serve as an alternative place for traders who would be moved out of the central market for the reconstruction of the market into a modern one.
Indeed construction works had began in portions of the area to pave way for the national exercise to reconstruct the Kumasi Central Market.