By Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
HAS the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) got the guts to decongest the Central Business Area (CBA)?
This is the million-dollar question crying for an answer as the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Samuel Sarpong, says the assembly would not rush to decongest that area, widely seen as the most difficult to manage in the city.
“We are not going to rush. We need to wait for a while and plan for any of such exercise. For instance we need to employ more metro guards who can maintain law and order in the area after the exercise,” Mr Sarpong told a workshop organised by the KMA for journalists in Kumasi last Thursday.
Reports had been rife in Kumasi that the KMA would soon move to decongest the CBA. This had been especially so following the demolistion of some buildings standing in waterways, which gave strong signals that the assembly was in no way to compromise on indiscipline and illegalities.
The statement by the MCE indicating that the assembly would not rush to decongest the central area of the city therefore came as a surprise to people who wanted to see immediate action in that area of the metropolis.
On the other hand, other people believed the KMA might have genuine reasons for stating that position especially as previous exercises failed to achieve their objectives.
Under Ms Patricia Appiagyei as Chief Executive for instance, the KMA spent a huge amount of money to decongest the city but the exercise failed woefully.
“We have to plan well before undertaking such an exercise so that the results would be sustainable,” Mr Sarpong said, stressing that he would consult the general assembly and see what to do.
He referred to what was happening to Accra where the traders were returning to the streets after the recent decongesting exercise by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and said, “We don’t want to fall into that trap.”
“We need a sustainable exercise because I believe that Kumasi deserves better,” Sarpong said.
Recent reports that the KMA was about to move to the central area of the city in its efforts to clear hawkers and other traders had sent shivers down the spines of many of the illegal operators in the area.
The CBA is one of the most difficult areas to manage in the metropolis. Hawkers had taken over some of the roads, and motorists have hectic time driving through the roads.
The road in front of the ‘Despite Building’ is the worst amongst the lot. Dealers in second hand clothing have virtually made the road their main selling point.
If even the streets had been taken over then one could imagine the state of the pedestrian walkways. All manner of hawking goes on there and amazingly, a woman has been selling banku right in the middle of the walkway near the Kejetia traffic lights.
The workshop enabled Mr Sarpong to roll out his plans for the metropolis, and also inform the journalists about the activities of the KMA and how they were impacting on the lives of the people.
Heads of the various departments in the KMA also made power point presentations about their departments and answered questions posed by the journalists.
Mr Sarpong disclosed that the assembly would move to improve sanitation and undertake projects that would help improve lives in the city.
On the question of the redevelopment of the Race Course into a modern market, the Chief Executive said the area belonged to Otumfuo Asantehene and that the KMA had no authority to go there to do any development without his authority.
The Akyempimhene, Oheneba Adusei Poku, who chaired the day’s workshop, said there was no gainsaying that Kumasi was dirty and needed something drastic to bring the situation to normalcy.
He said Otumfuo, who owed the lands, had promised to support the KMA in its efforts to bring life back to the city.