Kumasi: Free movement of cattle poses danger to motorists
The increasing free movement of cattle in the Kumasi Metropolis and its environs is creating great risk for motorists and other road users on major streets in the metropolis.
One of such risks occurred on the Ahensan-Atonsu high street, where a number of cattle besieged the road and menacingly bulldozed their way on the road, which is always pregnant with human and vehicular traffic.
With danger staring at them, motorists had to meander their way on the road to avoid crashing head-on with oncoming vehicles.
Danger of free movement of cattle
Besides the dangers posed to road users,many of which usually resulted in fatal accidents, some of the cattle stray into public places such as schools where they threaten teachers and pupils,thereby disrupting classes.
One of such incidents occurred at the Asem Cluster of Schools, which is in the heart of the Kumasi Metropolis, on July 20, 2012, when the headmaster of Yaa Asantewa basic School, which is part of the Asem Cluster of Schools, was gored by a menacing bull which had been set loose on the school compound.
The 54-year-old headmaster, Mr Joseph Amankwah, suffered severe head and body injures when he was attacked and clubbed into a gutter around 7:30 a.m., at a time he was supervising the cleaning of the school compound.
He had a fractured left hand and a deep gush on the head. He was admitted to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital for a number of weeks before he was discharged to continue with herbal treatment to speed up the recovery process.
KMA fails to implement bye-law on cattle
Ironically, the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), mandated to restrain the movement of cattle in the metropolis as a way of protecting the general public from danger, seems not to be living up to the requisite expectations.
Section 79 of the KMA Local government bye-laws (Act 462) , which mandates the assembly to prohibit the free range of cattle in the metropolis states, “ the rearing and or keeping of cattle on any premises or in any part of the metropolis other than for immediate slaughter, or in such public place as the KMA may provide for that purpose, is forbidden, and any cattle kept in contravention of these bye-laws may be seized by any person authorised by the KMA and placed in a pond”.
On the seizure of unattended cattle, it notes that “any person authorised by the KMA who finds any cattle at large in any public part of the metropolis without any public person in charge thereof may seize and impound such cattle in the place set aside by the KMA for that purpose.”
On the punishment, it states that “any cattle placed in a pond may be detained there, until the owner pays to the KMA a fee covering the impounding and the maintenance of the cattle as may from time to time be fixed by resolution of the KMA”.
It also states that, “any cattle remaining in the pond for more than seven days for which no fee had been paid by the owner shall be sold by public auction and the proceeds paid to the KMA”.
This is one of the bye-laws which had been totally ignored by the KMA for years, of which owners of cattle in the metropolis had taken full advantage.
Comments on the free range of cattle in the metropolis, Mr Samuel Nsiah, a taxi driver, wondered why the KMA had over the years failed to implement its bye-laws on the movement of cattle.
“The free range of cattle in the metropolis had been causing a lot of road traffic accidents in the metropolis but it seems the city authorities are totally in love with the cattle owners so they have closed their eyes to the dangers posed to road users,” Mr Nsiah bemoaned during an interview with the Daily Graphic.
He said in many cases, the cattle usually crossed oncoming vehicles and in an attempt to avoid hitting them, the vehicles either fell into ditches or collided with other motorists.
“This has been going on for a number of years, but the KMA has not found it necessary to impound a single cattle to serve as deterrent to cattle owners,” he noted.
He mentioned the Kumasi Technical Institute (KTI) –Asawase Highway, the Manhyia Roundabout- Airport Roundabout highway, as well as the Aboabo- Anloga Highway and the Aboabo-Asokore Mampong trunk road as areas noted for the free movements of cattle.
“These roads are quite dangerous and drivers have to be extra-cautious to avoid crashing into cattle that often cross them in rapid succession,” he warned.
“The movements of cattle should be restricted to the main abattoir where they are slaughtered, but not on highways where they always compete with motorists and pedestrians for space to create accidents, many of which are fatal,” he noted.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the KMA, Mr Godwin Okumah Nyame, told the Daily Graphic that environmental officers of the assembly had been mandated to restrain the movements of cattle from public places.