An announcement on a radio station in Kumasi asking traders to occupy the renovated Race Course nearly caused a stampede and marred an otherwise planned movement of traders from Kejetia and the Central Business District (CBD) to the Race Course yesterday.
The traders, some of whom slept outside the Race Course, entered the place, removed all the ropes and iron rods used in demarcating the area and started clamouring for space in the trading area.
When the Daily Graphic got to the Race Course around 6 a.m., the joint security team had driven away all the women who had occupied the area, cordoned it off and barricaded the access routes.
The radio announcement also made those who previously were not trading in Kejetia and the CBD to rush to the area and occupy some of the places earmarked for the existing traders who had to give way for a development project in Kejetia.
Free flowing traffic
When the Daily Graphic team visited the CBD yesterday, there was a free flow of traffic around Kejetia and the CBD following the departure of the traders and transport operators to the Race Course area.
The relocation of the traders from Kejetia became necessary to help speed up the Kejetia Redevelopment Project which is about six months behind schedule.
Briefing the Daily Graphic at the Race Course, Mr. Assibey-Antwi expressed shock that an agreement that had been reached between the KMA and the 28 transport unions, as well as the leadership of the traders, would be scuffled by an unsolicited radio announcement.
“Where we are standing now, which is less than half of the area prepared for the traders, can take more 4,000 traders. Everything had gone on smoothly and there was no cause for alarm but the announcement by this radio station caused the women to rush here in their numbers, which nearly caused a stampede. They have destroyed all the plans we have made,” he added.
He said the assembly was unperturbed by what had transpired and had already started re-demarcating the area after which it would hand it over to the leadership of the various groups to be allocated to the traders.
He cautioned traders and drivers not to return to Kejetia and the CBD, saying they would be arrested and prosecuted if they did.
“I have given the leadership an assignment to provide the KMA with names of individuals who would occupy the area,” Mr. Assibey-Antwi said and gave an assurance that even those traders and hawkers who were not members of any association had also been captured and would be catered for.
At the site, the Daily Graphic team saw some young men taking the details of those who wanted to be given places at the Race Course though they were not members of any of the associations.
Mr. Assibey-Antwi said already the assembly had used an unmanned aerial device (drone) to take close pictures of those who hitherto occupied the unauthorized places which would be used to complement the list in the allocation.
At the site, some leaders of transport unions, various traders and hawkers were seen impressing on their members that they should exercise restraint while the demarcation was completed for them to occupy the area within the next few days.