Chaos overfilled messy streets of Tamale, Northern regional capital on Monday as city authorities dispatched bulldozers and other heavy towing equipments to hack down shops, clear wares and seize items on pavements and expressways in a ruthless decongestion exercise that has left petty traders, mostly women inconsolable and hopeless.
Tamale city Mayor, Musah Iddrisu Superior led a team of gun wielding soldiers and police force to strong-arm hawkers to evacuate the congested streets after a three month ultimatum elapsed today.
Several evacuation efforts have failed to uproot the hawkers and petty traders from the streets.
Last year a car rammed into the traders and killed a middle aged woman. Accident cases and traffic chaos have surged. However, a former mayor, Hanan Gundaadow reportedly said he lacked political will to decongest the streets.
Petty traders scattered across the streets were forcefully evicted and driven away Monday to occupy the main Aboaba and other satellite markets still uncompleted, sparking rowdy protests.
Items, kiosks and other unauthorised structures on streets belonging to some hawkers were cruelly brought down and towed to the metropolitan assembly office by the visibly intimidating security forces despite emotional pleas and tears shed by the vulnerable women.
The traders are accusing Tamale Metropolitan Assembly of selling market spaces to wealthy traders and private institutions like banks and eateries, therefore refusing to evacuate the streets.
Major roads as the Tamale to Nyankpala, the Vodafone road, the main taxi park to the Tamale Teaching Hospital roads and many other busy streets which were virtually blocked by the hawkers were unclogged and vehicles and pedestrians had free flow.
A petty trader who had spread his wares to cover part of the road said “is not that it is good for us to sell here but we don’t know what do to again. They haven’t completed the market; that is why we’re are here. Now where do we go to? If you don’t have money, you can’t use the Aboabo market.. The DCE must go or we will vote against the party”.
Though significant number of hawkers and their illegally mounted structures have been cleared from the streets, they have vowed to return and takeover until authorities provide conducive alternative.
According to Musah Superior, the exercise was going to continue until he leave office as mayor and said political interference wasn’t going stymie the process.
“We have a forty member task force which has been trained effectively for the past three weeks to handle this so I can assure you that it is not going to be a nine-day wonder. For anybody who comes and trades on the street, we shall chase him out, we will prosecute him and he will answer in the law court. We have told them to go to Kapkagyili, Kukuo, Kalpohin and Sagnarigu markets.”
“Political parties have intervened but I have told them the right thing that if you don’t want me to work then just leave me. We have to understand why I am doing this project. I am doing this because of the health and safety of the people.”, Superior said to newsmen.
By: Ghana/Ultimatefmonline.com/106.9FM/Eliasu Tanko