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Hawkers DecongestHakwers have returned to the streets a few weeks after the decongestion exercise
Early this month, January 2018, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, AMA, carried out a decongestion exercise in some parts of the Greater Accra region in a quest to make pavements in the capital pedestrian friendly.

The affected areas of the decongestion were the Accra Central Business District, CBD, Kaneshie market area, N1 highway, Darkuman-Kokompe, Odorkor-Kwashieman road, Nima highway, Agbogbloshie, and Kwame Nkrumah interchange.

Carried out by a task force comprising personnel from the Ghana Police Service and officials from the AMA under the authority of the Accra mayor Mohammed Adjei Sowah, the pedestrian walkways were cleared of hawkers, their items seized making way for free movement in these affected areas.

Most commuters were pleased with the exercise as the hustle of thriving for space with the hawkers to their destinations have reduced.

The exercise was applauded by many who deem it necessary a step to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa as envisaged by President Akufo-Addo.

AMA drives hawkers away from the streets in Accra

Captured by media reports were hawkers who said the AMA was unfair to them because they were not given the appropriate time allocation to look for alternative sale point to make a living.

According to some hawkers, the authorized sales point for them does not attract customers forcing them to sell on the pavements where the can easily meet their prospective buyers.

Other hawkers also cried out to Government to intervene as they believe the decongestion exercise by the AMA will take away their source of income.

Despite the plea by the hawkers, the task force was stringent on their effort to clear all they believe are in violation of the law.

According to the AMA, the activities of the traders and hawkers violates the AMA hawkers’ bye-law of 2011 and section 117(1) of the road traffic regulations, 2012(L.I.2180).

These laws prohibit traders from selling on the street and also commuters from buying from hawkers on the street.

The law further mandates the AMA to arrest and prosecute anyone who does not abide by the laws which per interaction most hawkers are not aware of.

But three weeks after the eulogized decongestion exercise, the situation at the Central Business District in Accra has rather worsened as the hawkers have now employed new strategies of selling their products in the area.

AMA decongestion exercise do not yield the needed result in Accra

Before the decongestion, the hawkers set their sales desk to woo customers to their product but these structures have been seized and some dismantled, but now the strategic business approach used by the hawkers is to also stand and walk with pedestrians at the same time selling their wares.

The distraction has now moved from struggling for space to commuters bumping into the hawkers on the street, a difficult situation where productive hours are spent struggling to get to one’s destination.

The congested decongested Central Business District by the AMA seemed not to have yielded the expected result despite the presence of AMA personnel there to enforce adherence.

When the traders were approached to speak to the issue of their new strategy to beat the system, they were scared that after speaking to the media stiff adherence measures may be applied which may not even allow them to sell so they decline to speak.

The task force, on the other hand, said they were instructed not to speak on record to the media.

Failed effort from AMA taskforce

This new occurrence may not be different at the other decongested areas because the task force in a way seems to be doing what their task to do that’s being present at the various assigned points but are not doing what is expected to yield the needed result of driving away hawkers on the street to make this places stress free commuting to the destination of citizens to help increase productivity.

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