Politics of Friday, 19 October 2012
Source: The Finder
In their competition for space to aggressively market their candidates for the December polls, campaign teams of the various political parties have resorted to displaying posters of their candidates on road signs within the central business district of the Tamale metropolis.
Posters of both presidential and parliamentary candidates have covered the road signs entirely as road users struggle to identify which signals have been displaced in order not to flout the road rules.
The Finder’s tour within the metropolis has revealed that the major political parties - the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) - are the worst offenders while other smaller parties struggle to compete with them.
Most of these posters, The Finder learnt, are usually posted very late in the night as political parties would want to shield themselves from the public over their mischievous activities.
Many road signs which warn drivers of zebra crossing, hospitals, markets, etc. have been totally covered, probably to catch the attention of drivers and other road users to vote for their candidates regardless of the negative impact and danger they are posing to drivers and other road users.
The worst scenarios are at the major roundabouts on entry into the metropolis, as drivers, especially first-time users of the road, find it difficult to determine which direction to go, particularly those travelling to neighbouring West African countries.
Not surprisingly, all road users were unanimous in their condemnation of the activities of the political activities, which, they say, are affecting safe road usage.
“We don’t eat politics; the road signs promote safety and are more useful to us than these negative activities of the political parties, so the authorities must get them to stop the practice immediately,” a frustrated 34-year-old taxi driver, Chief Abubakari Yussif, told The Finder.
According to him, road users, especially drivers, are confused as the road signs have been overtaken by political parties to market their candidates.
Heavy-duty drivers have been the worst hit as most of them get confused at the entry points, especially at the Lamashegu roundabout for lack of direction.
The Tamale Metropolitan Police Commander, Cesare Abanga, did not mince words when he told The Finder that “it is illegal to paste posters on the road signs and the political parties involved must remove them immediately.”
According to him, road signs are important indicators to ensure safety and security of pedestrians and motorists on the roads, adding that the police command would not entertain such political activities that would cause panic on the roads.
Cesare Abanga also said the police were in constant touch with the various political parties about the need to follow the rules, especially at the peak of the campaign period, and was hopeful that campaigns leading to the elections would be peaceful.