No Roads, No Votes – Kumbungu Youth Protest Against NDC Government

Residents of Gbullung and its satellite communities in the Kumbungu district of the northern region are up in anger to demand for what they referred to as “fair share of national cake” by fixing their bad roads. This morning, over a thousand demonstrators made up of sub and youth chiefs, religious leaders, opinion leaders, assembly members, older women with babies on their backs and the youth walked over six miles towards the Nyankpala campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) and another six miles back to Gbullung, the district’s capital, Kumbungu to present their petition to the District Chief Executive.

They bore placards, some of which read: “John Mahama stop sleeping, “NDC since 92 why?”, “ We have been patient for far too long,” “We are tired”, “No road no vote,” “John Mahama, remember where you are coming from” etc.

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The roads leading to Gbullung from Nyankpala and Kumbungu are all in a deplorable state. According a spokesperson for the group, Seidu Safianu Zanchanta with agriculture being the mainstay of the residents which largely depends on good rains, they are heavily burdened due to the nature of their roads. “The residents of over thirty-communities, who are using these roads for various purposes, go through hell especially in the rainy season.  It is sad to note that all business and social activities come to a halt during the rainy season due to the deplorable nature of the roads.

The three main roads, Gbullung-Kumbungu, Gubllung-Nyankpala and Gbullung-Tolon, which are about six miles each, are our main headache. In fact, the nature of the roads is causing social disharmony by disconnecting families and obstructing economic activities, making us poorer and poorer”.

According to Mr. Zanchanta, passengers often alight from vehicles to walk past some terrible sections of the road that pose a threat to their lives to allow the vehicles to cross alone before they get back on to continue their journey. Farmers cry of their inability to get access to farm inputs or even sell their produce owing to the deplorable nature of the roads. “Workers and farmers in the area cannot go about their usual duties due to the state of the roads.  Farmers have to travel to Tamale through Nyankpala for agricultural inputs and to sell their agri-produce but can hardly do so due to the nature of the roads. The ordeal rice processors in the area go through in the attempt to send their rice for milling in Nyankpala is not different.

Government workers like teachers, nurses among others refuse posting to the area and the few that accept posting also have a challenge of movement within the area”

Since 1992, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has enjoyed political monopoly over the parliamentary seat and its tagged as a ‘no go area’ for other political parties but this year, they have resolved not to vote nor allow political campaigns if their demands are not met, giving a one month ultimatum. “We, the youth of Gbullung and its surrounding communities, with the support of our chiefs and elders, have resolved to give government a one-month ultimatum which starts from 15th August, 2016 to act on our request else WE WILL NOT VOTE come December 7. We will not also tolerate any political campaign activities in the area if we don’t see any action on our roads within this period”.

The demonstrators looked visibly disappointed after they were told the District Chief Executive was in Tamale attending a meeting and could therefore not meet with them. The District Coordinating Director, Mr Abdulai Issifu however received the petition and promised to deliver to the DCE on his return for onward submission to the President through the regional minister.

 Story By: Alima Bawah

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