NDC Member of Parliament for the Ashaiman constituency, Ernest Norgbey, has alleged that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has been frustrating efforts to decongest some areas in Ashaiman.
According to him, the government has refused to support efforts by the District Chief Executive to rid major streets of Ashaiman of street hawkers who are gradually taken over major roads and impeding human and vehicular movement.
Ernest Norgbey made the revelation on Eyewitness News a day after a truckload of cement block failed its brakes and ran into traders on the shoulders of the road, killing one person and injuring a few others.
“What is happening is that we don’t have the political will to drive away these people from the street…. If care is not taken, what will happen in the near future, it will be disastrous. The DCE is doing everything possible to decongest the whole area but his party members are not giving him the necessary support. The feedback we get is that we will lose votes. It means that his party is crying for votes rather than the lives of the people who are selling by the roadside,” he said.
Mr Norgbey, however, challenged the decision of the local assembly to take daily market tolls from the hawkers, when their activities are not appropriate.
He noted that the daily toll demanded from the hawkers indirectly legitimized their work.
“About 90% of the people who sell on the roads are not from Ashaiman. They are coming from neighbouring communities; from Ningo-Prampam, Sege, Ada areas and at the end of the day, they rather create the problem for us. What the Assembly is not doing right that I can say is that they take market toll from these people and if you continue taking market toll from these people, it means that you have legalized their stay by the roads side to trade, which I am against.”
Hawkers within the Ashaiman Municipality are known for selling on the streets of almost every major road in the area, and several attempts to get them off have proven futile.
Most of the roads in the busy parts of Ashaiman particularly around the main lorry terminal and the market area, as well as the major traffic intersection, have become very narrow because traders have taken over, making it difficult for both cars and humans to move freely.
But Ernest Norgbey has stressed that following the fatal accident, there is a renewed plan to decongest the area to avert a similar incident in the future, adding that they intend to educate the hawkers to ensure that they refrain from selling along the streets in a way that exposes them to danger.
“I told him [DCE] that we have to crack the whip and decongest the whole area so we don’t suffer this fate again…We are going to intensify our education to make sure that they don’t expose themselves to such dangers and accidents,” he said.