Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
I keep asking myself whether bye-laws of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) are made to be obeyed.
Yes, at least, I can pose my question because of the impunity with which people defy the local authority in the implementation of its bye-laws without being sanctioned.
Many are of the conviction that unless the authorities take up the challenge to effectively enforce its bye-laws, Kumasi can become ungovernable in the not-too distant future.
Just visit the central business district of the metropolis, and you will agree with me that indeed something is amiss in the control and management of various activities in the city.
On countless occasions in the past, the assembly had passed various laws with the intention of instilling discipline in the city but most of the laws ended up not being enforced. The irony of the situation is that the assembly committed huge sums of money at attempts at enforcing the laws.
Somewhere last year, the KMA signalled its resolve to once and for all do away with the problem posed by hawkers.
It is believed that at least GH¢100,000 was pumped from the assembly’s coffers to help implement the decongestion exercise.
Itinerant petty traders had virtually taken over the roads, making pedestrian and vehicular movement very difficult in the city centre.
Besides, the activities of the hawkers and other traders who sold in pedestrian walkways had reduced the beauty of the city and there were calls for action by the authorities to help restore the city to its glorious days as the Garden City of West Africa.
It was, therefore, a big relief when the assembly took up the challenge to rid the city centre of hawkers.
With the assistance of the police and military, the KMA started the exercise, albeit, with some difficulty as people were ready to defy the authorities.
So defiant were the traders that some of them had their wares confiscated by the assembly and were fined various sums of money before the goods were released to them with the warning not to return to the streets.
After we were made to believe that all was well with the city, what do we see today? The situation has become even worse, which goes to prove the belief in certain circles that the KMA is powerless.
Sometimes, I find it difficult to believe that the situation has deteriorated to such levels since the KMA Chief Executive, Ms Patricia Appiagyei, as a woman, has proved to be an action-oriented politician and administrator.
Or is it the old saying that political considerations determine the implementation of policies in the metropolis, which has prompted the authorities to back-pedal? We are watching how the assembly will tackle this problem again as we enter an election year.
Expect the usual chanting, “we shall not vote” if the assembly makes another attempt to drive the hawkers away from the streets and pedestrian walkways.
But in the midst of all this I still expect the Kumasi mayor to ensure that the right thing is done to restore the beauty of the city.