H.E President Nana Addo,
The good people of the Damongo Constituency welcomes you to the birth place of President John Dramani Mahama. We are a peace loving people. We are not vindictive, we hate revenge, we hate lies, we hate hooliganism, we hate militancy, we just love Peace and Honesty.
The West Gonja District was one of the biggest Districts (fourth republic) which gave birth to the current Central Gonja District and the North Gonja District in 2012.
Your Excellency, I don’t know whether coming by air or by road, I would have wished your handlers allow you to come by road. Perhaps that would have vindicated the writer of this piece, nonetheless, I would be as practical as possible. I would try and catalogue the developments under sub headings in order to give clarity.
It is worthy to note that, the District Capital (DAMONGO), Laribanga, Canteen and Mole got connected to the national grid in 1998/99. The NPP took over the reigns of government in 2001 and for 8 long years, not even a single community was connected thereafter. In fact, not even an extension within the Damongo township even when population kept increasing and new settlements kept springing up.
The NDC assumed power again in 2009. 8 years down 2016, the following communities got connected to the national grid and still counting.
-Busunu (where John Mahama’s mum was buried RIP)
-Tailorpe -Bodupe -Mempeasem -Jonokponto -Achubunyor -Bonyanto -Yipala -Nabori -Grupe.
The following communities were capture under the first phase of the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP 5) which begun in 2016;
-Bidima (poles erected) -Langantire (poles erected) -Soalepe (poles erected) -Kananto (Poles erected) -Kabampe (poles erected) -Murugu (captured) -Mognori (captured) – Broto (captured) Kotito No1 (captured), Kotito No2 (captured) Kotito No3 (captured), -Kojope (captured), -Sumpini (captured).
Your Excellency, it is my prayer that you go to Damongo by road. The 147.5km Fufulso-Damongo-Sawla road which was more of a shrine for all governments to worship for power was started in 2011/12 and completed in 2015. Before anybody claims ownership and credit for this huge project, let me be quick to state that, the deal was brokered by H.E John Dramani Mahama on behalf of H.E Late Prof Mills (RIP). The deal was finally sealed when a grant of $166m was signed on the 2nd of December, 2010 (AfDB facility). Hon Kwabena Duffour signed on behalf of the Ghana Government.
Your Excellency, the project was dabbed; Development Corridor, so that it wasn’t just a strectch of road running through villages and towns but came along with some ancillary facilities like water, schools, Health Centres, markets, KVIPs etc. Less time to give details, but let me mention that the West Gonja District Hospital was given a facelift with the following facilities; A 20 body mortuary, two Landcruiser Ambulances, two Wards, an Accident/Emergency Centre (furnished), 8 semi detached Nurses Bungalows, a fence wall and OPD/Laboratory Block.
Laribanga Health Centre, Kabampe Health Centre, Nasoyiri Health Centre, Jintilpe Health Centre etc, were the few health facilities that came with the road project. Under this project, the Mognori-Murugu Bridge was also constructed. This gave a sigh of relief to the people of Murugu, Bawena, Kaden, Yagbon, Kpulombo. These people could not cross the river with their farm produce to the market centers during the rainy season.
Mr President, Busunu before 2009 was not only dark but lack some amenities. The following were/are the few the NDC government under Mills and Mahama provided for the people of Busunu in the 8 years; -electricity accompanied by modern streetlights -mechanized boreholes -8 unit classroom block, teachers quarters, nurses quarters, 3 unit classroom block, a modern Market/bus terminal and the road that passes through to Damongo and the Busunu-Daboya road linking the two historical towns in Gonjaland. The Damongo township had a market, a bus terminal, modern streetlights and a few others.
Mr President, the NDC government left Damongo township with a small town water facility which was running effectively. In fact, a new water pump station was built and operational before the NDC left office in 2001. Fast forward into office by the NPP government, the dam which we sourced the water from got silted and the facility collapsed.
Damongo started to experience water problems thereafter. Throughout the 8 years, there wasn’t any plan by the NPP government to give a permanent solution to this problem. Only some few mechanized boreholes were drilled as temporary measure to solving the problem. But given the water table of Damongo township, this half-baked intervention never was an all day solution.
The NDC assumed power in 2009 with two huge challenges facing Damongo (i.e. The bad road which gave rise to rampant armed robbery and the water problem for Damongo township).
Given an opportunity to fix either of the two first, the NDC started with the road which was the topmost priority given the number of communities that will benefit especially with the added facilities. After the road was fixed, the next agenda was to fix the water problem which was why a $35m loan facility was being sourced by H.E John Mahama from Eco Bank to execute an expanded water project to cover all the villages from Fufulso through Damongo to the other villages in this stretch. The NPP in Parliament resisted this and cited the transition period as their excuse. We thought governance was/is a continuum and so the processes would have continued for this all important project to see light. The NDC had slated March 2017 as the date to start the execution. The information from the tables of the Ministry of Water Resources and sanitation points to the fact that, the $35m loan facility was canceled and the government of Nana/Bawumia has opted for a different source which is yet to see the light of day.
Dr Bawumia visited the Overlord of the Gonja Kingdom, Yagbonwura Boresa in the early part of this year and made a categorical statement that a $25m facility was already arranged for the project to start in the course of the year 2017. The Member of Parliament for the Damongo Constituency, Hon Adam Mutawakilu made several follow ups to know how far the current government has gone with the project. He finally had to haul the Minister for Water Resources and Sanitation to Parliament to answer questions in respect of this project. The response from the minister indicated that the ministry of Finance is still evaluating two funding sources yet to be submitted to cabinet for consideration before execution. This is contrary to the position taken by both the Minister of Finance when he presented the 2017 and the Vice President when he visited the Overlord of the Gonja Kingdom. Nonetheless, we are hoping that once one of our greatest sons heads the Ghana Water Company (Dr Clifford Braimah), and the support from all stakeholders, we shall surely see the light of day. At the end of the day, water is what the people of Damongo need.
Your Excellency, before your soldiers on the ground brief you on the state of Damongo and what to say or promise, this is my side of the story.
BY: ISSIFU SEIDU KUDUS