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Kejetia now a labyrinth

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Fri, 9 Oct 2015 Source: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor

Residents of the Kumasi metropolis have been having a hell of time getting through their daily activities in town following the closure of the Kejetia bus terminal and its adjoining roads and pathways.

Most of the displaced traders and drivers have moved onto the streets contrary to the earlier arrangements by the authorities for them to move to the Race Course area.

The hundreds of vehicles in the remaining area in the central business district make it difficult for pedestrians to freely move through town.

From the Unicorn House to the Kejetia traffic light, the median of the road has been taken over by hawkers, who have displayed their wares on them.

While one half of the dual carriage road has also been taken over by the displaced vehicles including cargo trucks and buses, the other parts have been occupied by hawkers.

Vehicles now load passengers to their various destinations in the middle of the road, while helpless police officers and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) guards look on helplessly.

Chaos

The situation in the metropolis has become so chaotic that residents dread going to the central business district lately. It is worse if one is a first timer in the city.

Unlike previously when one only needed to get to Kejetia to pick a vehicle to a destination, one would now have to tour the entire city before finding the right vehicle to one’s destination.

Wares are strewn everywhere on the streets with vehicles also parked in almost every available space, making movement difficult and the situation has presented greater opportunities for thieves.

The area between the Kejetia traffic light and the Unicorn House has been taken over completely by secondhand mobile phones dealers and clothes sellers.

The construction works at the Kejetia bus terminal has turned the city into a labyrinth. The terminal has been cordoned off with all the stations dispersed throughout the city.

From the frontage of the terminal up to the Centre for National Culture near the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), vehicles are haphazardly parked along the road.

The story is the same from the Kumasi Zoo to the Suame Roundabout.

Human beings and vehicles now compete for space in the central business district and hardly can one take a step without a vehicle honking behind the person.

“These days it is really frustrating coming to town. The struggle one goes through before getting home is really terrible,” Kwame Opoku, a resident of Abuohia told this reporter.

There are no road signs to direct a person where to board which vehicle and one has to virtually tour the city before locating one’s station.

Helen Azambeo, a nurse who came to Kumasi from Takoradi, said “I have to do a merry-go-round before locating my station. Even with that, I had to walk a long distance to the Race course”.

She told the Daily Graphic that she had no idea what had become of the bus terminal and only got to Kejetia to realise that the place has been cordoned off, saying, “Why do we have to go through this hassle before getting a car.”

Drivers have also taken advantage of the situation and are making money out of it. Commuters are the worse off as they spend more money to get home.

Ama Bemma, a banker who lives at Ahwiaa, says she has to board two vehicles before getting home and pay more wheras boarding a vehicle at the station would have given her a straight car home.

Race Course

Most of the traders and drivers that have been asked to load at the Race Course are finding their way back to the streets due to the lack of patronage at the place.

Many of them are complaining of bad business. Already, a group has marched to the offices of the KMA to complain about the continuous stay of some of their colleagues on the streets, which they said was preventing shoppers from going to the Race Course to patronise their businesses.

They warned that if the authorities did not do anything about the situation, they would also join them on the streets.

Crime

Some unscrupulous people have also taken advantage of the chaotic situation in the metropolis to commit crimes.

Criminals have metamorphosed into cabbies, who pick unsuspecting passengers and later rob them of their valuables and dump them at isolated places.

The tactics, which the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Nathan Kofi Boakye, has code named ‘Pick and Rob’ has become very prevalent in the city although the police are doing their best to clamp down on the robbers.

Twenty seven-year old Deborah, who was returning from work one evening, fell victim to these crooks when she boarded their taxi from Adum to Sokoban. Midway through the journey, all the occupants, who were accomplices of the driver, pulled knives at her and asked her to surrender her phones and purse after which she was pushed out of the moving car.

There are similar stories of people who have fallen victim to the activities of these criminals.

Christmas

With the Christmas season just around the corner, the situation could worsen if immediate steps are not taken to decongest the metropolis.

Kumasi is a very busy city and becomes busier during that time of the year as more people troop into the metropolis to do business.

KMA

The KMA says it is doing all it can to decongest the city and get all the traders on the streets to move to the Race Course and to clear the streets and roads of all business activities.

The Public Relations Officer of the KMA, Mr Godwin Okumah Nyame, told the Daily Graphic that already, the assembly has embarked on a decongestion exercise to rid the metropolis of all hawkers and unauthorised bus stops on the roads.

He said the exercise would be sustained until sanity prevailed and all the hawkers moved to the places earmarked for such activities.

Writer’s email: Kwadwo.donkor@graphic.com.gh/kbaffoe@gmail.com

Columnist: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor