Some aggrieved traders at the Kumasi Central Market in the Ashanti Region on Monday, 8 February 2021 massed up at the Regional Coordinating Council to protest a decision by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to relocate them in order to pave way for the second phase of the Kejetia-Central Market redevelopment project.
The traders who were numbering about 800, were mostly clad in red and black.
According to the traders, they were not given prior notice by the authorities and only woke up to realise that a fence had been built around the market with iron sheets.
Speaking to Otecnews General Secretary of the City Market Traders Union, Richard Boamah reiterated that the traders were not embarking on a demonstration and described the action by the city authorities as heartbreaking.
Mr Boamah said: “We came to see the father of the land, that’s the Regional Minister, about some mishappenings in the market to seek clarification in the first place. So if you see us here this morning, it’s not a demonstration. You can see we’re in black and red, yes we’re mourning, we’re in very dangerous times. It’s very disturbing, because this is where we make our livelihood. It’s very heartbreaking, so I’ll say we’re mourning not demonstrating.
“How the barricading was done actually prevented people from opening their shops. As I’m speaking right now, no security or task force has been set to prevent anybody from entering but there are many many traders that cannot open their shops. It is unheard of that traders are plying their trade at a certain place, there’s been no engagement from authorities with the traders there and then you just come and all of a sudden there’s this fencing around it. It’s just unheard of, that’s why we’re here to seek clarification.”
He disclosed that no consultation was done with the traders.
He also described the development as disappointing stressing that if the authorities wish to extend development, they must first engage the traders and get them a proper place to relocate within a certain time frame.”
He added that if the authorities fail to listen, the power they wield now was given to them by the people and “we also have a power, that is us, so we know what to do, they should listen.”
A female trader also said: “I take care of 4 children, you didn’t give us prior notice, if you want me to relocate, then go and pay my 1billion loan debt and also give me money to take care of my children then you can evict me.”
Another trader also stated that: “My children are in the university, one left yesterday, I was supposed to pay GHS3600 I was only able to pay GHS 3000, how do you want us to take care of our families if you claim you’re evicting us.”