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Tamale Mayor Prepares To Battle Hawkers, Traders And Their Allies


It is always a given, a foregone conclusion: a politician’s first action in office tells a lot about where he/she is headed. It is increasingly clear that the new mayor, Mr. Musah Superior is dead set on making our city, the great metropolis of Tamale shine again.

His decision to rid the city’s principal streets of hawkers and traders is a bold move and  the prescription Tamale sorely needs.

Besides, it also offers an insight into his determination to push through policies that are designed to turn the city around, make it a worthy place to work and live in while rendering it attractive to domestic and foreign investors.

Controversial to some and yet a delight to others, the ultimatum issued to petty traders to vacate the streets by June 15th will undoubtedly expose the mayor to criticism and test his will and capacity to push through unpopular but yet much-needed economically viable policies.

Indeed, it will be a battle of wills between a mayor determined to brace a new path for the city and an equally determined group — combative Tamale traders — hell bent on maintaining the status quo.

The mayor should not underestimate opposition to this policy, resistance will be fierce; previous Tamale mayors reportedly tried to implement a similar policy but ran into a stubborn wall of unyielding opposition.

Hawkers and traders who see the ultimatum as a direct threat to their livelihoods and financially constraining to move from their present locations to the new ones announced by the Tamale Municipal Assembly will do all within their power to foil the move and frustrate the mayor.

Mr. Superior is well-intentioned; his plans for the city are splendid. Tamale is a fast growing metropolis, but like other major cities around the world, it is riddled with numerous challenges —the most visible being the city’s congested streets.

The streets crawl with petty traders and hawkers, selling all kinds of items imaginable. The picture on any given day on the streets of our city is one of chaos, noise and business mixed together. Walking from point A to point B is akin to walking through a forest of humanity.

Given the situation, it has become fashionable to blame the problem of street congestion on petty traders, but delved into deeper, there is an underlying problem of unemployment which pushes people into the streets to sell.

Many of the traders and hawkers plying their wares in the blazing sun sure don’t want to be on the streets where there is no guaranteed income.

If only they had regular employment with guaranteed monthly salaries, we will see few of them on the streets hustling to eke out a living.

Mr. Superior can force traders and hawkers off our streets for now, but unless he addresses the high level of youth unemployment in Tamale, it will just be a matter of time before the streets are once again filled with able-bodied young men and women trying desperately to make a living.


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