Wednesday, February 25, 2009


THE rate of indiscipline in the Kumasi metropolis seems to have reached a crescendo and unless the authorities move in to save the situation something terrible could happen to the city.
Incredibly, today, banku, a local delicacy, is prepared and sold on the pavement right in the heart of the city in the full glare of city guards.
I recently visited the area where the banku was being prepared and was alarmed at what I saw. There was smoke all over as the woman who sold the banku was busily attending to her customers and caring less about the human as well as vehicular traffic around.
Interestingly, patronage was very high as people queued up to be served. I was told this had been going on for some months now.
The preparation of banku on the pavement near the Kejetia traffic lights is one of the many terrible things happening in the city in the full glare of city authorities.
In many other parts of the city, especially within the city centre, things are very bad. Other food vendors are also battling for space with petty traders on other pavements.
However, the authorities are helpless, not knowing what to do to fight the problem.
No question, Kumasi has gone through some terrible times over the past year or so when the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) undertook a massive ‘decongestion’ exercise.
The KMA made everybody know that it cost them something in the region of GH¢300,000 to undertake the exercise. No one was there to challenge them but suffice it to say that the exercise was a complete waste of the taxpayer’s money as nothing positive and lasting came out of it.
Initially, the exercise brought some measure of discipline into the metropolis as the city centre was cleared and some slums wiped off.
However, when everything started to go haywire, many people started doubting the ability of the KMA to sustain any such future exercise.
They premised their argument on the fact that the metropolis had seen many of such exercises all of which failed to achieve the desired results.
Before the 2008 general election, the police were withdrawn from the city centre for unknown reasons, giving room for people to read all sorts of political meaning into the decision.
The withdrawal of the police allowed drivers, especially taxi and trotro drivers, to turn Kumasi into a near-chaotic city. With the decision by the regional police administration to bring back the police to the streets in the city, it was hoped that some discipline would be injected into the system but what we see today in Kumasi is the same old story.
Drivers still park anyhow. One simply has to go to the area around the Kejetia roundabout to verify things for oneself.
One wonders what signals the conduct of residents in this metropolis is sending out to the outside world if affairs in Ghana’s second biggest city continue to be run this way.
Isn’t it time for someone to stand up and firmly say enough is enough and that we have to take the bull by the horns? Or are we waiting for the new Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive to take up the matter?
To the one who will emerge as the next KMA Chief Executive, perhaps his biggest task will be how to deal with the indiscipline in the metropolis.
As I was writing this piece, interviews were going on at the Residency in Kumasi for the position of KMA Chief Executive. I pitied the candidates as I watched them vying for the position, wondering how they could effectively deal with what have now become the hydra-headed problems of Kumasi.
Something, however, struck me that, perhaps, it would take an NDC Metro Chief Executive to handle the thorny Kumasi situation. This is because Kumasi is already known to be an NPP stronghold and an NDC person may not consider the political repercussions when taking drastic measures to tidy up the city.
During his vetting, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Opoku Manu, said ‘decongesting’ the city would be one of his priorities. The general belief is that he will keep to his word by getting the incoming KMA Chief Executive to deliver.
With the activities for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II already launched, we in Kumasi cannot take things for granted.
Everybody in the metropolis must do his or her part to keep the city clean to effectively welcome the thousands of guests who will be pouring in to celebrate the event with the Otumfuo.

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