8 February 2013

Ghana: Controversy Over KMA Decongestion Exercise in Kumasi

Kumasi — QUESTIONS ARE now emerging over the legitimacy of the ongoing decongestion exercise being embarked upon by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) in Kumasi.

The exercise, which began on Monday to rid the city of hawkers occupying unauthorized places and structures in and around the Central Business District (CBD), is now wrought in controversy over whether city authorities obtained the approval of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) and the entire assembly before embarking on the exercise.

A reliable source has hinted The Chronicle that the outgoing city mayor, Hon. Samuel Sarpong, did not obtain approval of the General Assembly before sanctioning the exercise which enters day three today.

Sources have also confided in the paper that there were ongoing discussions by the Regional Security Council, of which the KMA is a body, to ascertain the viability or otherwise of the exercise, only for the security body to hear that the exercise had commenced.

The situation, according to information, has angered top guns of the REGSEC, as it deems the assembly's action as hasty and without due consultation.

Some assembly members are also threatening to take the necessary legal action to clear their names and to set the records straight that they were not aware of the exercise.

According to a source, the REGSEC was in an ongoing consultation to ensure that all the necessary measures had been put in place before such an exercise could commence and was overtaken by surprise when news broke out that KMA had begun the exercise on Monday.

"It was surprising when we heard the news because the REGSEC was still in the consultation process and had not finalized the decision" the source hinted.

On his part, the Assembly member for Bomso Electoral Area, Hon. K. Henry told a radio station, Kapital FM that the issue did not pass through the Executive Committee for approval to be given before commencement of the exercise.

He argued that in such exercises, the matter is brought before the assembly for it to be deliberated upon for either approval or otherwise before any action could be taken, adding "in this instance, nothing of that sort was done,"

Aside the fact that authorities did not seek the approval of the General Assembly and other relevant stakeholders, the convener of Finance and Administration (F&A), Mr. Raymond Tandoh has also disclosed that no provision was allocated in the budget for such an exercise.

According to him, what was contained in the budget was a provision for a committee which was set up by the assembly and headed by a Government Appointee and a former Assembly member, Hon. Kapito, to check on daily basis, the activities of hawkers and other traders on the streets and

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