Leaders of various Traders Union at the Kumasi Central Market and the Kejetia market yesterday protested against the alleged interference of the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah in the allocation of stalls.
The traders waylaid the Minister during an unannounced facility visit by and the Regional Security Council (RESEC) headed by him.
The regional Minister recently ordered a halt in the distribution of keys to the shop owners of the market.
Yesterday’s protest was in reaction to the said the directives by the Regional Minister to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly(KMA) to hold on with the movement of trades from the central Market to the newly built Kejetia market which directive is seen as impeding the construction of the Phase 2 of the Kejetia redevelopment project.
The traders communicated their pent up feelings in displayed placards some of which read “No Politics in our Business”, “No Central Market, No Kejetia”,” Petty Traders Need our Keys”, “Minister, You are causing Financial Loss to the State”.
The leaders of the various trading unions called on the minister to, as a matter of urgency, refrain from intruding in their business in the name of politics and respect the various management committees and Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene who is well represented on the Committee.
They urged Minister Osei Mensah to give the KMA a free hand to continue to issue keys to the owners as they are ready to move from the central market to the Kejetia facility as soon as possible.
The traders also issued an ultimatum to the minister to rescind his decision and allow the KMA to move the traders to the facility before Monday, December 2, 2019 or face their wrath.
Addressing the traders, the Regional Minister assured that the roadmap to the allocation of the traders from the central market to the Kejetia project still remains unchanged.
He said several deliberations were held among the various unions, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and the Minister following which it was observed that the traders were not willing to move into the Kejetia project immediately.
He said traders were categorized into different zones of which Zone 1 was given a grace period to December 31, 2019 to finish with their shelves.
Hon. Osei Mensah reiterated that only the Zone 1 members were allowed to be issued with keys so any other members were told to wait for the appropriate time scheduled.
He, however, indicated that during the inspection of the facility, it was realized that most shops in the facility were without shelves and that attest to that fact that the traders were not ready to move into the market immediately.
Mr. Daniel Ankomah, Chairman of the Eleven member Steering committee of the Central market indicated that most traders had secured loans from banks to run their business and urged the authorities to cooperate with the traders for peace to prevail.
“We are ready to move into the Kejetia market because several complementary cards have been issued to our customers concerning our allocation into the Kejetia market”, the chairman told the Chronicle Newspaper as he debunks the claims that he once told the minister the traders insisted of not moving into the Kejetia market after 2019.
Kejetia Traders Union Chairman, Mr. Kwabena Obeng also vindicated himself that he has not had any meeting with the regional minister concerning the allocation of keys and the movement of traders to the new Kejetia facility and described the claim by the minister as a propaganda and another way of creating confusing among the various unions.
Meanwhile, the traders plan to present their grievances to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during a proposed visit to Kumasi today November 29, 2019.