FORMER Trade and Industry Minister, Mr Alan Kyerematen, has called on the authorities and victims of the recent fire disaster at the Kumasi Central Market to find common grounds for the reconstruction of the site.
He said as someone who had been in government before he knew how difficult it was to take certain decision like asking traders to leave their trading joints on a temporary basis.
However, having spoken with the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Samuel Sarpong, and the traders on separate occasions, he was convinced that “there is an opening to come to a common ground to ensure the peace of the metropolis.”
Mr Krerematen’s appeal came as scores of strong men continued to mount a 24-hour guard at the site of the fire to prevent the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) and the city authorities from carrying out the threat to demolish the reconstructed sheds.
Mr Kyerematen who was speaking at a meeting with victims of the fire in Kumasi yesterday as part of a visit to sympathise with them stressed the need for the parties to “tone down” because any form of disturbances would not help anybody.
Stressing that he was not in Kumasi because of politics, the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirant said no one would deny the fact that the Kumasi Central Market needed reconstruction to befit the status of Kumasi even if the fire had not occurred.
He assured the victims that even though he was not in government, he could help them out in other ways.
Mr Kyerematen indicated that the developments concerning the market should not be politicised because the victims cut across all political parties.
He recalled the earlier visits to the fire site by the First Lady, Naadu Mills, and government officials including the Regional Minister and the Metropolitan Chief Executive, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Nana Akufo-Addo and said they were all aimed at finding ways to assuage the pains of the victims and to establish the way forward at seeing them back in business.
“We should therefore desist from politicising this issue,” Mr Kyerematen said.
He appealed to traders to endeavour to take insurance for their businesses so that they would be covered in times of such developments.
He was also happy that no life was lost in the fire.
In an open forum, the traders insisted that there was no way they would allow the authorities to drive them away from the area for any form of reconstruction.
According to them, in the past KMA authorities convinced traders to vacate certain trading points for the development of stores with the promise to allocate them to the traders only to share them to cronies, and other people.
They, therefore, said they would not want a repeat of such situation because that would deny them places to trade.