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Politics of Sunday, 30 June 2013

Source: Clifford P. E. Agyemang

Kantamanto rebuilding turns into political tussle

Temporary stalls are up, and business is coming back to life, but traders at Kantamanto are worried people want to grab the piece of land that has supported them for so many for years.

"Our wish is that the Government will help as to stay here, work and take care of our children and husbands,” said Grace Appiah, a seller at Kantamanto for 16 years. “The money I earn here pays the school fees for my children especially my daughter in the university at Tamale. I am begging the Government to leave this place for us.”

Some of the traders at Kantamanto are concerned that the government plans to take the land away from the Kantamanto traders and build a first class mall with financial assistance from Chinese investors.

Also, NADMO has asked the various groupings in the market to prepare lists of stall owners so they can rebuild and re-assign the stalls to the owners. The concerns are that the compilation could be influenced to favor political favorites or the terms under which NADMO will offer, rent or purchase.

One of the leaders of an association in Kantamanto who wanted to remain anonymous said that, he has had several meetings with the government agencies, but still people are worried about what NADMO has in mind.

This individual complained that his fellow traders see him as a member of the NDC.

This executive from the market association said some of the sellers say the land belongs to Ghana Railways, but Railways is part of the government.

Mr. Francis Ampong Gyimah, 30, a trader at Kantamanto for 10 years, expressed that the tension in the market has been heightened by the idea that the traders at Kantamanto think the government sees the traders as overwhelmingly NPP supporters and not NDC.

"We know we the people in Kantamanto are not part of Ghana because this market is the only market that has burned in Ghana, but the Government has not attended to, however, has attended all others just because there are more NPP people than NDC in Kantamanto,” Gyimah said... “All we are saying to the government is, please leave this land for as to rebuild".

The concern for the government to leave Kantamanto alone was echoed by Victoria Owusu,61, a grandmother and a widow, who said the traders do not have the money to buy or rent from the government.