By Gifty Arthur
Traders at the Central Business District of Accra, virtually mocked the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Chief Executive, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpujie, when he joined the traders, especially the women to clean up the various markets.
The traders, under the umbrella body of the Greater Accra Market Association, last Thursday cleaned the various markets in a move to compliment several efforts by authorities to curb the outbreak of cholera in the Greater Accra Region.
So far, according to the Greater Regional Director of Health, Dr Mrs. Linda Van Otoo, the region can confirm a record number of seven thousand eight hundred cholera cases in recent past, with more than fifty deaths as at last week.
This overwhelming number, is in sharp contrast to last year’s no death record in the region. She said aside the fact that the region admits over two hundred patients, majority of the cases, come from the metropolis, most especially the markets.
It is in view of this alarming numbers that the women with support from the AMA, organized the clean-up exercise in their area of work.
As early as 6am, the traders who had assured Dr Vanderpujie that they won’t open their shops until 12 noon, clean and disilted choked drains long before the mayor arrived.
As about 9am, when he arrived at the 31 December Market, the traders had finished and were waiting for him to inspect the areas before the 12 noon opening of shops.
The traders, who were very excited to see the Mayor, virtually mocked him showering praises on him for his hard work over the period, especially during the cholera out and pledged their unflinching support for him. At places where the clean-up was yet to end, Dr Vanderpujie
joined in and commended their initiative.
The President of the Greater Market Women Association, Madam Mercy Needjan, said they were excited to have carried out the exercise and promised that once every month, they shall organize such clean-ups to rid the market of filth.
Similar enthusiasms, were expressed by the traders at all the markets, including Okaishie, Makola, Agbogbloshie etc.
Few recalcitrant traders, who refused to comply with the directive by their leaders and went ahead to open their shops, immediately shut them when they noticed the presence of the Mayor.
At Agbogbloshie, one shop was closed down by the AMA health inspectors after it was realized that they had not cleaned their surroundings well, whiles a porridge seller was sent packing after Dr. Vanderpujie that she had not used appropriate working gears and tools for her job.
She was warned never to continue her early morning business, until she does the right thing and gets permit from the AMA. Here, the Deputy Agbogbloshie Women Association, Madam Nafisatu Amerley Amartey, assured the Mayor of their commitment to make the market clean.
She asked permission from the Mayor for the association to deal with their colleagues who refuse to join in such initiatives anytime it was organized. The Mayor gave them the authority to sack such unpatriotic traders from the markets.
The Mayor expressed satisfaction about the entire exercise and told the traders to maintain the momentum, saying you are doing it for yourselves. He said, “this is the Ghanaian way of life and once every month, we are going to do it”.
He urged the traders to adapt the old practice, where they swept their shops every day before they went home.