Sale of electrical cables at Opera Square in the Central Business District of Accra was interrupted on Monday following the forceful take-over of traders’ stalls and other property.
Although the reason for the take-over is unknown, the stalls have been replaced with containers.
In this regard, the over 200 irate traders vandalized the containers which they had come to meet in place of their stalls.
According to them, most of whom are table-top sellers, due procedures should be followed if any changes are to be introduced in their operations.
Although the traders could not identify the persons who took away their tables, some blamed the Accra Metropolitan Assembly for the incident, while others blamed a man whose name was only given as Nasiru.
Clad in red and black attires, the dealers in electrical cables, vowed to resist any attempt to take away their tables from them, something they have depended on for their livelihoods in the last two decades.
Owusu Ansah said, “They came here in the night. If the AMA is doing something here, they’d come to us in the right processes. But here is the case where our tables were taken away while we were asleep. Containers will not help us because we are many. Ten people cannot sit in one container. On tables, we are able to sit around and sell our goods. We are Ghanaians and for about 20 years, we’ve been here. We don’t need containers.”
“Some people are destroying our properties and we have no idea of who those people are. So we are also claiming our position and we will continue to sell there. We are table-top sellers. We don’t need any containers. We can say on authority that our things are missing. The person who did this is an illegal person. Why didn’t he take away our tables during the day but did it in the night?” Kojo Danso asked angrily.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association, GUTA, the group under which the Electrical Dealers Association falls, is unhappy about the turn of events.
Joining their members at the Opera Square, the Deputy General Secretary of the Association, Richard Amamoo, described the incident as barbaric and called for dialogue.
“The question is ‘Who is behind this thing?’ Because the people here are also selling for their livelihood. They are more than 500 people. So if you are sacking those people and bringing in new containers, are they not the human beings who are going to occupy those containers? Can’t we sit and talk? So we think this is barbaric, wicked to the extreme, and we cannot take this.”
The Mayor of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mohammed Sowah, said he did not sanction the demolition exercise.
After a meeting with the President of GUTA and other stakeholders, Mr. Sowah assured the traders that their concerns would be addressed.
“Together with the leadership of GUTA and the affected traders, some decisions will be taken, bearing in mind that we’ll not take any decision to displace anybody who is trading, and we’ll not take any decision that will have financial implications on the traders. So we want to assure all the trades here that their leadership and the AMA are in talks over this matter, and within 24 hours, we should be able to resolve it and move forward,” he pledged.