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Traders at the Makola Market in Accra have turned road medians, typically designed for traffic control and safety, into makeshift stalls between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Along the South Liberia Road, specifically from the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel through the Accra City Hotel to the market, these vendors sell various items including clothing, shoes, bags and food items despite bold “no hawking” signs. The situation creates chaos and traffic .
The Mirror visited the market on different days last week.
A hawker, Miss Anovi Gogo, who spoke to The Mirror said she saw the situation as an opportunity to make some money by selling since there were limited job options. Another hawker, Safira Safui who sold clothing acknowledged the illegality but alleged she paid a fee of GH¢40 to a member of a task force for the chance to sell.
Miss Gogo, who traded in lady’s handbags said, the spot was ideal for early morning market.
“I have to make as much money as I can from my trade. I am able to sell a number of bags before going back to my spot in the main market”, she said.
Miss Safui, a middle-aged woman who sold ladies clothing explained that the spot made it easier for her target market, who were mostly busy working women and boutique owners to conveniently purchase items.
“Here, I can bring the market to such women who may be on their way early in the morning. Fortunately, I am able to make some sales. I paid GH¢ 40 to a task force man within the market” , a hawker who gave her name as Dodzi said.
Addressing concerns for their safety, a trader in footwear, Madam Safoa, told this reporter that, although safety was a concern, she needed to make money to take care of her children.
It seemed the gains made were worth the risks for these traders.
A commuter, who was buying in the chaos and was not comfortable disclosing her name said she found the place convenient and had encountered no challenges since she started buying from there.
She however admitted that since it was illegal, the system should be regulated in order to curb decongestion and ease traffic flow.
“I would support a crackdown by the A.M.A if embarked upon”, she added.
Another buyer, who would only give her name as Grace, said that was the first time since she rarely came to town. She added that the few items she had bought were cheaper than regular market prices.
When contacted, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (A.M.A) and other stakeholders said their attention had been drawn to the issue and had therefore drawn an action plan to deal with the issue.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Security Council (METSEC) of the A.M.A, Elizabeth Kwatsoe Sackey, the measures would take effect today, Saturday, December 2, 2023.
At a news conference in Accra on November, 28, 2023. Dubbed: “Operation Let the Traffic Flow”, she said the measures would ensure the flow of both human and vehicular traffic within the Central Business District (CBD) and other parts of the metropolis ahead of the festive season.
Mrs Sackey said the measures would stop all trading activities on the streets and pavements outside the designated areas within the metropolis which flouted the bye-laws of the assembly.
She said vehicles found at prohibited places would be towed and offenders fined
source by graphic news