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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Columnist: Ramadan, Abdul-Razak

RE: A Soldier As Tamale Mayor Can Help Restore Sanity

I am registering my displeasure about an article written by Mr. Joseph Ziem who described himself as a freelance journalist and a social media fanatic based in Tamale and published on, a Ghanaian news website on Saturday, 22 June 2013.

The article outlined a lot of negative activities going on within Tamale Metropolis and failed to mention at least one positive thing about the people. He indicated in the article that “all manner of negativities such as chieftaincy, religious and electoral violence, series of lawlessness, vandalism of private and state property among others, have occurred in Tamale over the years and most recently”. Mr. Ziem has not been fair to the people of Tamale if he should mention religious violence as some of the negative activities here in Tamale. Tamale is one of the best cities as far as religious tolerance is concern. It is in Tamale that you will find a mosque and a church on the same piece of land. It is also in Tamale that, a pastor will rent the home of an Imam and will be living comfortably.

To talk about electoral and chieftaincy disputes, Mr. Ziem may just be ignorant about what is happening across the world. It is everywhere in the world and I bet Tamale witnessed the most peaceful election during the last elections in Ghana.

Mr. Ziem indicated in his article that, the indigenes are those sabotaging law enforcement and frustrating law enforcing agencies and has categorically mentioned the police department. I put it to Mr. Ziem that, his action is a calculated attempt to deter potential investors from investing in Tamale and northern region as a whole.

I challenged him to check with the police department and the entire Regional Security Council; he will see collaborations between chiefs and opinion leaders aiding the arrest and prosecution of suspected criminals. When I called him (Ziem) to established as to whether he is the true author of the article, he confirmed and said it was his “opinion”. Mr. Ziem whom I graduated the same day with, has forgotten that we were never thought as journalist to write “opinions”, but “facts”. I entreat Mr. Ziem to wake up from the practice of “opinion journalism” to face the factual practice of the noble profession.

He also talked about the wearing of “crush helmet”, well, he doesn’t know that it is not only law-abiding to wear a crush helmet, it is also intelligent. Can he (Ziem) tell me the number of times I spotted him on a motor bike with one of our colleagues without the crush helmet? Can’t you live an exemplary life? If the issue of fake number plate means lawlessness, then it should be tackled in the offices of DVLA. As a journalist what have you done about it? Is it the same indigenes who are managing these offices?

I am an indigene, born and raised here, and I disagree with your “opinion” that we “connive and condone” with criminals. I have personally aided the arrest of suspects and you (Ziem) is a witness to some of my achieves. Better still, you can check with the police department. I demand an apology from Mr. Ziem to our chiefs as he indicated that they interfere in the prosecutions of criminals and that “It’s only a criminal who will protect his fellow criminal instead of allowing the law to deal with him or her”.

You have also demonstrated how naïve you are in religious and cultural believes. Marring more than one wife is not a character in Tamale, but a religious believe, but I will not duel into it. But our current president is from a polygamous home.

About women renting apartments; our culture as Dagombas frown against that, even single ladies or unmarried women are not allowed to rent rooms or apartments unless of course you are a student from outside Tamale.

I believe your aim is to scare investors away from here. But it is clear that, Tamale metropolis is one of the fasters growing cities in Africa and no amount of such articles can reverse it.

To talk about respect to the elderly, it is our trade mark, and that is why we are taking for granted the first time we step out of our boundaries. I will not waste my time to talk about the “vulnerability of the police service”, they have a PR department and I know they will react to it appropriately. You also indicated that “any first-time visitor to Tamale is most likely to assume that the city has the most number of residential facilities that have master bedrooms as compared to other cities and towns in some parts of the country”, don’t compare where you are living to the whole town, that is what you can afford. We have better accommodations here and I bet some residence have Jacuzzis at home. You said in that article that, “vicinities considered by this writer as the dirtiest places in the Metropolis include Tishegu/Ward K, Kalpohini/Sangani, Kukuo, Duanayili, Changli, Gumani, Jisonaayili, Kanvilli, Vitting, Dabokpa, Koblimahagu, Sakasaka, Nyohini, Lamashegu, Gumbihini, Gurugu, Tamale Polytechnic, Choggu, Bulpiela, Zogbeli, Nyanshegu, among others”, you should have said the whole region, because you have mentioned every part of tamale metropolis including where you are residing. You could have rented a better place.

You made a call to the president to appoint a “military man” as a mayor. And that there is “no rule of law” in Tamale. You have not been fair to the likes of Mohammed Amin Adam (Anta) the former mayor of Tamale metropolis. The current hero in Ghana, Hon. Martin Amidu had his basic education in Tamale where he was thought discipline, the former vice president of the republic of Ghana, Alhaji Aliu Mahama who championed the campaign against indiscipline was an indigene and the current president, his Excellency John Dramani Mahama who is known to be very humble and discipline is an indigene. Mr. Ziem you know this writer very well and I am an indigene. I am advising you as a colleague to move away from “opinion journalism” to “factual journalism”. If your plan is to deter investors from coming here, Mr. Ziem, you have failed, they are already here and they can see for themselves. Thank you.

Abdul-Razak Ramadan