18 September 2017

Ghana: Hawkers Win Fight Against AMA

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The Accra Metropolitan Assembly's effort to rid the streets of Accra of hawkers has hit rock bottom again.

This adds to the number of failed attempts by the AMA to rid the pavements and streets of the capital city of hawkers and traders.

Though the AMA's move to enforce its by-laws was made in 2011, it is yet to see the light of day as traders are still transacting business on a daily basis.

This has raised questions about the authority of the AMA to ensure Accra meets the standards befitting its status as the capital city.

Per the by-laws, sale, offer for sale or purchase of merchandise in traffic would be prohibited. Also, trading in the street was also prohibited unless the street was designated as a street market.

In default of any of the by-laws, a culprit is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding ten penalty units or, in default, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months or to both, or be commuted to perform communal labour for a period of one month under the supervision of metropolitan guards.

In a move to enforce the by-laws in 2012, AMA officials along with media personnel visited major roads and junctions in the Accra metropolis to caution sellers to desist from selling on the streets but to date, hawkers are still trading on pavements and streets of Accra.

Last three years, the AMA again, in a collaborative effort with the regional police command, affirmed its commitment to ensuring the enforcement of the by-laws and eventual evacuation of hawkers from principal streets in the metropolis but the current situation pertaining in the city does not support this affirmation.

The question Business Day is asking is: "Will the AMA ever be able to rid the streets of Accra of hawkers or will their efforts to enforce the by-laws be a nine day wonder again?"

Are they as powerful as they seem or are they "toothless bulldogs" who can do nothing more than bark at intruders who invade their homes?

If indeed they are as powerful as they seem, why are the traders back on the streets and what are they as "caretakers" of the capital city doing about the "wait and see attitudes" hawkers have adopted?

Is there a hidden reason why all efforts by the AMA proves futile in the long run? Time will definitely tell.

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