The Mayor of Kumasi, Kojo Bonsu appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday and told the committee that he has to sometimes use stick to beat traders at the Kejetia Market before they will conform to orders because they are stubborn or recalcitrant, as he put it.
He was at the public hearing together with the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Emmanuel Agyekum to answer queries on frequent fire outbreaks in public markets and the Kumasi Mayor was asked why Kumasi has been recording frequent fire outbreaks in the markets and whether the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly has been carrying out preventive fire outbreak education in the markets within its jurisdiction.
In his answer, he said, Kumasi traders are very recalcitrant and will not accede to simple directives so sometimes he had to use sticks on them to force them to comply.
According to him, Kumasi is so traditional that anytime, somebody wrongs another, the person will invoke a dreadful deity to exact punishment on the purported offender and that at the Kejetia Market cursing (duabo) is very common amongst the traders.
He told the committee that the Assembly has constantly been undertaking education on fire prevention in the markets but the women in the markets continue to cook all the time in the markets.
‘When you tell the women not to impede access to the market by occupying the lanes, they will even pay the watchmen to put their wares in the lanes and on the access routes to the market where firemen can have access to the market,’ he said.
He said there is even a siren in the markets to notify the market women on fire prevention but they will still do all sorts of things that result in fire outbreaks that is why he sometimes had to use sticks on them.
He intimated that the new Kejetia Market being built will be the solution to the frequent fire outbreaks in the markets in the Kumasi metropolis.
The chairman of the committee, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu told the mayor that the committee had been petitioned by some individuals concerning some financial impropriety on his part as the Metropolitan Chief Executive but that is beyond the remit of the committee because it is only mandated to look into issues brought up in the Auditor-General’s report.
He therefore advised the petitioners to rather petition the speaker of parliament who will in turn refer the matter to the appropriate committee to look into the matter.
‘I want to put it on record that we have the petition against Hon Kojo Bonsu but we can do little about it since it is not part of the Auditor-General’s report,’ he stated.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr