Don’t come here to campaign until you give us answers on stalled central market – Kumasi traders warn NPP
The Combined Kumasi Central Market Traders Union (CKCMTU) has questioned the government’s reason for stalling phase II of the construction of the Kumasi market redevelopment project.
According to the union, some of its members who could not afford to put up containers at their new location at Race Course are home, and since the livelihood of its members depends on the market, they were waiting for the project to be concluded in June 2024, just as was promised them.
Putting across their concerns with regards to matters related to the Kumasi market redevelopment project, in a press conference held in Kumasi, Tuesday, 28 March 2023, the Secretary for the Combined Central Market Traders Association, Emelia Koffiet recounted how the authorities in the region, led by the regional minister, Simon Osei Mensah, and the then mayor Osei Asibey-Antwi ensured the use of brute force to get them to move for the construction of the phase II to begin.
“We all observed how the military was released upon us,” she stated.
She continued: “To them, the traders had to vacate the area immediately. Immediately because the funding of the construction was in and any delay would mean the hot cash would have to be withdrawn and that would mean that it was going to affect the construction and the completion of the market.”
The union further noted that the traders were evicted without any place allocated to them. It took the intervention of the Ashanti overlord, through the KMA to give them a piece of land at Race Course where they currently sit.
“The authorities did not come in to help us in anyway. We had to construct our containers ourselves. The number of us who could not construct the containers ended up in the house practically jobless,” the secretary of the union stressed.
The union bemoaned the project’s coming to a standstill.
“After December 2022, we have observed that things have come to a halt. There is no work going on on the site as observed in the past few months. From January 2023 to this time March 2023, as we talk, we have been told that the workforce on the site has been drastically reduced and this information is coming to us from a very reliable source,” the secretary said.
The union indicated that phase I of the construction of the market was completed under former President John Dramani Mahama, which is now Kejetia City Market.
They are, therefore, questioning why government which showed commitment to completing phase II has stalled the project.
“Why is the NPP who has decided to do the phase II of the new construction not working on it,? Do we as stakeholders not deserve to be told? Do we not deserve to get an explanation for why the market has been halted? Are we to sit aloof and watch as things happen? We have examples... We have seen the Krofrom market coming to a standstill for years. Are we to sit down and watch as the Kumasi market also comes to a standstill whiles people remain in the house jobless [and] our kids are not going to school?” the secretary of the union opined.
She added: “Give us [an] explanation. We’re also calling in the members of parliament especially those in the Ashanti and indeed those on whose jurisdiction this project is sited.
“We’re demanding that they give us answers and our answers should come immediately. Our big question is why is there a halt in the construction of the market? We want to know and we want our answers now. We’re not going to take any lies from them again. We have sat aloof and watched them for so long, they gave us lies before we moved out. We’re not listening to the lies anymore.”
The union further warned the NPP’s parliamentary and flagbearer aspirants against setting foot at the market to campaign.
“Kumasi is trade, trade is Kumasi. We’re calling on the NPP government to answer to us. This is our livelihood. We demand answers from them. If they are not ready to give us answers, then nobody should come here to campaign.
“We have had them coming in to show themselves to us as prospective flagbearers. If they do not need our support they wouldn’t be here. If they need our support then we also need them to work,” the secretary added.
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