General News of 2014-02-22

Planned GPHA decongestion exercise stirs controversy in Tema

For the past two weeks the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA) and railways tenants have been battling with the issue of decongestion exercise to be embarked on by the security force of GPHA.

The genesis of this exercise stemmed from series of theft cases recorded last month in the area.

On reporting theft to the authorities, it was decided that a decongestion programme be embarked on as they strongly suspect the kiosks and other makeshift structures in the community are occupied by hoodlums.

Announcements on this exercise attracted widespread condemnations from a section of the squatters and tenants, who say they are not being treated fairly.

Most of these kiosks and makeshift structures are owned by spouses of GPHA and railways tenants, our investigations revealed.

Last week, the community met to brainstorm on how to resolve the current rise in theft as well as preventing the intended exercise as it could render scores of people homeless.

As a result, neighbours decided to set up a watchdog committee to patrol the streets day and night as a security measure to stem the trend.

They agreed to contribute some monies to serve as motivation for those who have volunteered to serve on the watchdog committee.

This seem to have brought sanity to the area until this week when notices were posted around warning kiosks and container owners about a decongestion exercise to be carried out effective 21st February.

Obviously worried by the notice, the tenants hurriedly organized a meeting in which they resolved to petition officials of the GPHA, to register their displeasure about the intended exercise.

Our reporter who sat through the meeting reports that the development has heightened tension in the area, as the aggrieved tenants have decided to stage series of protests if their concerns are not addressed.