The war against street hawking, which city authorities have hardly won, has culminated in hostile exchanges between Accra Mayor Alfred Oko Vanderpuije and Consumer Protection Advocate Kofi Kapito on Joy FM.
Kofi Kapito accused the mayor of failing to be proactive in fighting what has become a yearly ritual in Ghana of clearing hawkers from central Accra only to see them return as soon as police and city authorities stop pressuring them to stay away.
His criticism follows a directive by the AMA for all traders to vacate the streets and move into the markets.
Even though he supported the action by the AMA, Kofi Kapito accused the mayor and his officials of adopting a fire fighting approach in dealing with the matter.
He said that for too long and in many cases, the AMA sat back and allowed the situation to deteriorate before deciding to take action.
He cited an example in Achimota, Accra, where a single hawker settled close to the bridge and without the necessary monitoring, the place turned into a hawker’s paradise.
Kofi Kapito also cited examples in the US, where Mayor Vanderpuije lived before his appointment to his current post, saying in the US the mayors do not wait for things to get out hand before attempting to solve them.
“In Ghana we wait, wait and start to cry foul. What is wrong with us?” he queried.
He challenged the Mayor to provide details of the trashcans he has provided for refuse in Accra.
But the Accra Mayor was unimpressed with the outburst by the Consumer Protection Advocate.
In equal measure, he told Joy News’ Francis Abban, “I don’t have the time to engage people like Mr. Kofi Kapito in a discussion that is not going anywhere."
“Mr. Kapito needs to get real. The situation of hawkers being on the streets is not a matter that started yesterday.
“He should not behave like somebody who has come from the moon to Accra yesterday,” he said.
According to him, the AMA has provided over 300 trashcans across the city for use by hawkers.
He called for support rather than condemnation of the AMA, insisting the job of the AMA is actually a shared responsibility.