REPORTS reaching The Chronicle indicate that soldiers are seizing items from traders and harassing drivers in the Central Business district (CBD) of Kumasi.
According to the reports, the military men were deployed to the CBD at Adum, by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), in the name of decongestion.The armed military personnel are seen at vantage points at the CBD.
A mobile phone dealer at PZ, near Kejetia, who spoke to The Chronicle on condition of anonymity, said they are made to part with some money, ranging between GH¢50 and GH¢100 - before their wares are returned to them.
Sources indicated to The Chronicle that some of the military men connive with the Metro Guards, to extort money from drivers who park at an unauthorized place.
The Chronicle gathered that the affected traders have lodged complaints regarding the activities of the soldiers to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, but nothing had been done about it. Of late, the military has also joined in towing cars in the metropolis.
Reached for his comment on telephone, the special aide to the Mayor of Kumasi, Mr. Sammy Adu Gyamfi denied that the KMA had deployed military men to the CBD and the Central market.
According to him, the KMA only engaged the services of the military at the Kejetia terminal to help the city guards and police to instill discipline in the drivers, who were adamant in relocating to newly approved stations.
He confirmed that the KMA had received complaints from mobile phone dealers and other traders about the seizure of items by the military and that the KMA would attend to this concern.
Mr. Gyamfi stated, however, that the military men are not in to intimidate anyone, but to assist in the control of traffic. "They are always seated at their post," he added.
The Special Aide emphasized that the KMA is unaware of any military towing cars in town and that the military is an institution on its own.
The PRO for the Military, Lt. OseiDuah told this reporter that the military are there to assist the police in a decongestion exercise. He said the military had issued warnings to traders who sell handsets on the pavement around the PZ area.
The PRO said the items of recalcitrant traders are confiscated, but upon payment of spot fines, they are returned to the owners, admitting that traders whose items are seized are those who come to sell their mobile phones on the pavements and sometimes in the streets.