Central Market traders frown at removal by KMA, vows to defend grounds
The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly is evacuating the Central Market sellers to pave way for the construction of the new market yet traders have raised concerns they have nowhere to go following the Assembly's refusal to provide them temporal grounds to trade.
The Kumasi City Markets Traders Union have cautioned the Ashanti Regional Minister, Honorable Simon Osei Mensah and the Kumasi Metropolitan boss, Honorable Osei Assibey Antwi on their decision regarding the evacuation of traders at the Kejetia Central Market.
The Union made up of different traders Association which includes Jewellery, Bags, Shoes etc Sellers Association have expressed utmost discontent at the manner in which the KMA is handling their exodus from the grounds to pave way for the building of the Central Market expressing that, failure to resolve the issue will affect them in the 2024 general elections hence the need for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to intervene.
The Chairman of the Union, Mr Boamah Richard speaking to SoireeNews uttered that the Regional Minister and the KMA Boss have failed to provide them with a place to relocate than to talk of time duration for their evacuation. He communicated that the Assembly’s decision of shelving their current place with roofing has totally distracted market dealings and so, it either they find a new place for them to move or they will resist any form of action to evacuate to nowhere for works to progress.
“The measures put in place to accommodate traders in the course of building the Kejetia market is strange. As we talk, marketers have been given no temporal place to settle, with no deadline for us to vacate from the Central market. They just want us to leave just like that,” he spoke uncomfortably.
“The Regional Minister gave me a letter last Thursday (February 18, 2021) to seek the consent of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly for temporal grounds to settle. We came to find out this morning that the place has been enclosed. That is not right and it’s affecting our people from selling. We are calling on the president that the Kejetia Project is a good step but the KMA Boss and the Regional Minister have failed us and we want someone who understands us to handle the transition.
“This is not about education or political experience, we need someone who can empathize with us to do this job. Most of our people are dying and it’s really unfortunate.
“They must take off the fencing, find a place and give us a deadline to leave the place. That is all we seek.”
The Kumasi racecourse has been identified as the new venue created to accommodate most traders relocated from other grounds recently. Its fittingness to the trade of the City Markets Traders Union has been questioned by Mr Boamah Richard, who exposed that they sell in commercial buildings or stalls due to the nature of goods they owe therefore allocating them to racecourse without such compartments is a loss to their trade.
“The grounds at racecourse is not appropriate. We trade in lockable shops and you’ll marvel when I show videos of some parts of racecourse to you – bushy grounds and a car park. Where do they (KMA and the Regional Minister) want us to sell? There are spaces at Kejetia, they do not want us to relocate there because they make money from the stalls.
He pleaded to the Assembly to provide them with an appropriate place for their business to continue in such a hard-hitting covid-19 season.
Traders shared their sentiments on the situation with warnings that if the New Patriotic Party leaders do not handle their situation in a better and peaceful way, the leaders will feel the results in 2024 when the New Patriotic Party is voted to opposition.
“As I stand here, I have my allocation paper without a stall for business. I have paid 20 per cent which is demanded by the paper with the rest to be settled within a year after acquiring the stall. They have been deceiving us every day when we asked for the key and later said we are not included. Here we are stranded with nowhere to go.
"People are quiet because it is the New Patriotic Party. This is the stronghold of the incumbent government and see what we are going through, no alternative place for us to go. We are warning the president to advise the mayor, regional authorities and market authorities to find a place for us else, 2024 will be a different story,” a male trader told SoireeNews.
Another told that the decision to profusely scatter them out of Central market was decided even before the elections nonetheless, the leaders were frightened it could lead to the loss of the NPP hence their wait.
“They must lead us to our new location before demolishing the grounds else we will fall as victims in their exercise. The market is our feeding grounds and we will do whatever it takes to defend it.
"We were told in December last year of their decision to evacuate us from the grounds. After enquiries were made, they denied the claims hoping to win by our votes before taking further actions. Here we are in limbo after elections not knowing where to go.
“In 2008, they did the same thing and lost and if they want to taste defeat once again, 2024 is waiting. If Osei Assibey is spitting on us because he has power, we shall see the end of the matter.”