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Has Government Surrendered to Street Traders?

Has Government Surrendered to Street Traders?

Apparently, the Government of Sierra Leone has lost the war against street trading, otherwise, Abacha Street, would not have been overflowing with traders who have transformed the main street into a permanent market place from where even the government can never drive them away.

From Operation Free Flow to Operation WID, government has failed woefully to drive away the traders from the streets and this appears to be a very big slap on the face of our authorities. The re-grouping of the traders on Abacha Street and other principal streets in Freetown indicates that government just wasted the taxpayers’ money on an abortive operation that yielded no dividend; it is also a clear pointer that our government lacks the will power to successfully enforce laws. Or is it that government just thought politically expedient to leave the traders alone on the streets for fear of not losing their votes? Will I be right to opine that government decided to forget about driving the traders off the streets because it cannot provide market structure for them?

When you visit the Abacha Street and see how the traders are clustered there, you will be left with no alternative but to come to the right conclusion that we are, indeed, living in a very lawless country. The persistent presence of traders on Abacha Street and other main streets tends to legitimize street trading apart from making the city center chaotic and awkward.

We view such a situation as a weakness on the part of government and as an open challenge to the laws of this country which forbid street trading. As long we continue to legalize lawlessness, it will be very difficult for us to achieve our much-trumpeted Agenda for Prosperity.

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