Regional News of Monday, 12 September 2011
NORPRA Launches Campaign For Accountable Governance AND A SEARCH FOR NEW LEADERSHIP FOR NORTHERN GHANA IN BOLGATANGA
Members of Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), in the early hours of Saturday, the 10th of September, 2011 came out in their numbers including assembly members unit committees, youth groups and students on holidays in the upper east region for clean-up exercise in Bolgatanga to keep the town clean. After the clean-up exercise they converged at the main lorry station in Bolgatanga to officially launch a campaign for accountable governance and a search for new leadership for northern Ghana.
Below is the full address by the President of NORPRA.
Hon. Assembly members and Unit committees, Friends of the Media, Representatives of Youth and other organized groups, Courageous and fearless young people of northern Ghana, Ladies and Gentlemen;
On behalf of the leadership of NORPRA, I wish to first of all thank all of us for coming out in our numbers despite the heavy down pour this morning for this very important clean-up exercise which demonstrates our high sense of civic responsibility and love for our region and nation.
May I now proceed to warmly welcome you to the second part of today’s programme which is official launching of campaign for Accountable Governance and a Search for New Leadership for Northern Ghana dubbed “GET THEM OUT IN 2012 GENERAL ELECTIONS”
Ladies and gentlemen, what has necessitated the launch of this programme is the constant failure of our members of parliament both in majority and minority from northern Ghana to effectively champion the cause of northern Ghana and to articulate the concerns of ordinary people particularly the poor and vulnerable groups in their respective constituencies. Evidence abound that the MPs from the north of Ghana have on several occasions shirked their responsibility and failed in their core mandate to check government’s diversion, conversion and misappropriation of public funds meant for the development of northern Ghana.
Friends of the media, Ladies and Gentlemen, you will recall that in 2008, government of Ghana had a loan of $500 million from the government of Brazil for the construction of two projects; Pwalugu Hydroelectric project in our region here and another one in Juale in the northern region. However, upon assumption of office by this government, the funds for these very strategic development projects for the north were illegally diverted and converted for other projects outside northern Ghana yet our MPs did not deem it necessary to engage government to stop the diversion of these funds.
Again, on the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) programme, signals are very clear that the government has failed to deliver its part of the 4-year social contract it entered into with the good people of northern Ghana in 2008. Unfortunately, Instead of our northern MPs supported by the number 2 important personality of Ghana, uncle John Mahama to consciously and constantly remind government publicly that its failure to provide the promised seed capital of GHC 200 million and yearly allocation of GHC 100 million for 20 years is a serious breach of the SADA contractual agreement resulting in people’s feeling that this government is not honest enough and hence can not be trusted, the MPs and the vice president have rather taken delight in justifying the unjustifiable and defending the indefensible each day that passes by with explanations that SADA is not an event but a process. It is high time the people of northern Ghana told the government that we are tired with the endless process that goes with this pro-poor initiative called SADA.
Ladies and Gentlemen, what is more disappointing and of course worrying is the “I DON’T CARE FOR NORTHERN GHANA DEVELOPMENT” attitude greatly shown openly by our northern MPs on the floor of parliament in the case of the recent $3 billion loan facility from China. Northern Ghana’s development is totally kicked out from this huge facility yet our honourable representatives as we call them did not see the need to do one honourable thing by advocating for projects from northern Ghana to be included in the tall list of major development projects taking place in other regions. The inability of our MPs to demand equitable allocation of national resources to address regional inequalities in Ghana combined with their failure to, in the interest of their constituents, demand transparent and accountable governance at the national level is a major cause of people’s perception that they are heartless, selfish, self-centred and of course insensitive to the plight of the very people they rode their backs to power.
My dear brothers and sisters, it is now clear that the north of Ghana is for the NDC but the NDC is not for the north. As a matter of fact, this very NDC government which traces its ancestry to PNDC and NDC 1 in the 1980s and 1990s has never been fair to the people of northern Ghana despite the overwhelming support it draws from the area. Historical facts about its ill-treatment to the north are there in commercial quantities for everyone to see. According to a World Bank report in 1998, while government spent $22.05 and $22.09 per pupil in the basic schools in the Upper East and Upper West Regions respectively between 1992 and 1994, it spent $174.24 and $ 61.22 per pupil at the same level of education in Central and Volta regions respectively.
Again, according to Ministry of Finance Public Expenditure Review in 1997, the National Recurrent and Development Expenditure showed that the three northern regions were much disadvantaged. While Eastern, Ashanti and Volta Regions got 16.7%, 16.7% and 13.6% respectively, northern, Upper West and Upper East regions had to contend with 8%, 2.3% and 0.8% respectively.
In the 1980s, it was the government’s choice of the Bretton Woods Institutions policies such as the structural adjustments programme (SAP), the economic recovery programme (ERP) and the programme of action to mitigate the social cost of adjustment programme (PAMSCAD) that led to the total collapse of huge employment- guaranteed local industries such as the our Pwalugu Tomatoes Factory, Rice Mill, Meat Factory among others thereby reversing the clock of northern Ghana’s development backwards and deepening the unemployment situation and vulnerability in northern Ghana today.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this struggle should not be left in the hands of only NORPRA , our chiefs and Tindamas and all young people from the north need to join this struggle which is a struggle for survival for the ordinary person in northern Ghana. We urge our chiefs to as a matter of urgency emulate the example of their counterparts elsewhere by moving to the Castle in their numbers to demand our fair share of the national cake. We equally entreat our good friends of the media and our talented local artists to join this poor-friendly, biblically and quaranically endorsed struggle by disseminating this information through their media outlets and music which is an effective way of ensuring that the information gets to those who indeed deserve it.
Surely, we need the support of everyone to carry this message to our young people in our educational institutions, our farmers and market women and of course all other youth groups in northern Ghana to change the status quo.
We conclude by appealing passionately to the good people of northern Ghana both home and abroad and to all well-meaning Ghanaians whose heart desire is to see the Ghanaian economy experiencing even and balanced development as stated in clause 2(d) of Article 36 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana to support us to fight this battle to its logical conclusion. We are totally prepared to take advantage of the stable democratic environment of Ghana to demonstrate that the power of the ordinary man and the ballot are indeed stronger than the bullet in the 21st Century. If there is any other day that the good people of northern Ghana should come out in a united front to demand their pound of flesh, it is NOW
On this note, I, on behalf of the leadership of NORPRA on the 10th day of September, 2011 at Bolgatanga Main Lorry Station declare the campaign for Accountable Governance and a Search for New Leadership for Northern Ghana dubbed GET THEM OUT IN 2012 GENERAL ELECTIONS duly launched.
Thank you and God bless all.
Ayorogo Adongo Bismark
0246 067 64