Their angry scowls said it all. Market women and hawkers whose livelihoods were abruptly upended on Monday by Mayor Musah Superior' s decision to decongest Tamale's "stuffy"streets have accused him of being power drunk and vowed to exact vengeance on his party, the NPP, in 2020.
I will be angry too and hopping mad if my livelihood --- the means by which I feed, clothe and shelter my family --- is forcefully wrested from my hands by a governing authority. My immediate worry will be: "how on earth will my family and I survive life's daily challenges?" This is the awkward predicament of the hawkers and market traders who bore the brunt of the mayor's decongesting exercise.
My sympathies, of course, lie with the traders who have braved the scorching sun and suffocating heat and oftentimes, rude customers to eke out a living on the streets of Tamale. Their current plight should be of concern to all. It is fair to point out that they were dealt a bad hand by city authorities.
Take for instance the relatively short time allotted to the traders to find alternative places or sites for their containers; how could they possibly do that when there were a hundred other things on their minds? And to make matters worse, it appears the city has no intention to compensate the traders for their losses.
There will contention by those who side with the mayor that the traders were forewarned of the consequences should they fail to move by the deadline issued by the city and therefore have no grounds to stand on. Well, we can all offer our views as to why the traders defied the city and stayed put until they were ejected.
But the one indisputable fact is this: no one is privy to their financial situation; did they make enough money in the prior year to enable them find new accommodations? It is not that quite easy as it appears.
The entire operation on Monday was brutally efficient; the mayor did not mince his words. He meant exactly what he said two months ago: that traders who did not comply with his directive to stop clogging the streets with their wares will be evicted and that is what actually took place.
To signal that he was dead serious on keeping the streets "clean" of hawkers and traders, the mayor said police officer will be stationed at various vantage points to deter would be lawbreakers.
Though I "mourn" with the displaced traders and clearly see the difficulties ahead for them, I must applaud the mayor for achieving something previous city administrators could not --- decongesting city's streets of unauthorized traders and hawkers.
By pulling off this feat, Mr. Superior had invariably put his political career and reputation at stake. He has indicated abundantly by this move that he values the welfare and safety of city residents far more than his career. Mr. Superior is the kind of politician the city needs, a politician who places the interests of those he governs above his own large ambitions.
The mayor should be patted on the back for conducting the eviction of traders and hawkers in a very safe manner such that there was no bloody confrontation between angry traders and armed security personnel ----police and army----who accompanied the mayor and members of the metropolitan assembly on the early dawn raid.
Anyway, now that the city has been "cleansed" of obnoxious in-your-face hawkers and traders, it is absolutely essential that we all throw our support behind the new mayor in his efforts to make our city a thriving metropolis.