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…AMA officials look on helplessly as commuters complain
The Kaneshie footbridge which serves as a major link for commuters to other parts of Accra and the country has been turned into a mini-market by hawkers who are selling wares of all kinds.
The hawkers, numbering almost into a hundred, including beggars and preachers have flooded the footbridge with shoes, clothes, electrical appliances, consumables among other items which are patronised by some commuters.
The situation is affecting the easy flow of human movement across the bridge and is creating inconveniences for those who use it daily as a route to work and for other purposes.
Last Friday, a commuter who stepped on a hawker’s ware in her struggle to find space to cross the bridge amidst the congestion was insulted and almost assaulted.
On a daily basis, an average of 7,000 persons cross the Kaneshie footbridge to connect to various parts of Accra and the country.
A hawker, Joseph Boakye, told BusinessWeek he has been selling used cloths on the bridge since last year and makes an appreciable income to take care of his needs.
“I know we are not supposed to sell here but there is nowhere to go and sell. This is where l also get something small to eat,” a smiling Joseph told BusinessWeek when asked whether he knew his actions are outlawed.
The activities of the hawkers and preachers are in contravention of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Hawkers Bye-Laws 2011, article 117 (Section 1A-F) of the road traffic regulations 2012 and also against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Act 490 of 1994 on noise pollution.
Several attempts made by BusinessWeek to officials of the AMA to speak on the issue and also find out steps it is taking to address the inconvenience and danger posed to commuters by trading activities on the footbridge has proved futile.
Hawkers have been forcefully removed from the streets of Accra under former mayors and even under the current mayor Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, hawkers around Kwame Nkrumah Circle have had their own shares of forceful evictions.
The enforcement of the AMA bye-laws on hawking has been politicised over the years by the ruling NPP and opposition NDC for political gains, a development that has led to laxity in the fullest implementation of the laws.
Source: Romeo Adzah || BusinessWeek