Somber Reflections by Rev. Dr. Camillo Abatanie Bonsuuri
Do not be alarmed by the heading. I just wanted your attention. There is not going to be any by-election in Nanumba North or Nanumba South, insha Allah. The two by-elections (Kumawu and Assin North) are more than enough for our dear country. However, this write-up is about two “controversial” roads in these two Nanumba constituencies that need attention. These two roads are the subject of daily discussions in this corner of the country. Recently, the discussion has turned into speculation on how drastically the fate of these roads would change if there were to be a by-election here.
The first of these roads is the one from Salaga to Bimbilla. It fits the description “controversial” very well, for several reasons. Work on this road has been on forever, on and off. The brother of former President John Dramani Mahama, i. e. Ibrahim Mahama, was the contractor on that road. Most residents here, including this writer, thought then—and are convinced now—that he was doing a much better and more professional job than what is happening now.
The simple but bizarre reason for this situation is that JDM lost the election and his brother lost the contract, even though some allege that the contract was never properly signed in the first place. We, residents, are not fully privy to these matters; what we see is what we see, and what we see is that we cannot see when our road will be completed. Even the real identity of the current contractor remains unclear and has been the subject of unhealthy conjecture and aspersions here. In addition to the road in question being “controversial”, I have heard it being described as “political”, whatever that means.
The second “controversial” road is the one from Chamba to Wulensi. The main reason why it is controversial is that it is one of the “contracts for sale” exposed by ace investigative journalist Manasseh Azure. Soon after Mr. Azure’s startling revelations, a contractor of some kind showed up on that road and started doing something. To shorten what could be a really long story, the mysterious contractor left the scene not very long after he appeared there. He did not really do much, and, right now, there is no sign that he was ever there. What is more, the road is a lot more messed up than before. So, the reality is that we have been left in the lurch.
Every rainy season creates a nightmare for all who need to use that road, bicycle riders and pedestrians included. I live in Chamba and I have personally experienced torture on that Chamba-Wulensi road a few times when I drove on it after a heavy downpour. On one occasion, I (wisely) avoided that road and chose the circuitous route of 53 km through Bimbilla instead of the direct stretch of 18 km. I have seen many others take that “wise” decision as well.
The questions one may ask: Why all this? What wrong have we done to deserve this? Someone sold a contract; he is still a free—and richer—man and are we the ones to suffer as a result? Why should we suffer because people are playing “political games” with our roads? Is it because we are so quiet and laidback and do not push for our rights as hard as others do? Are we being taken for granted? Who will fight for us? Which leaders can we cry or turn to?
Someone mentioned that our Members of Parliament are the ones to lead this fight. I agree. So, our respected and HONOURABLE MPs, where are you? Why are you silent? We love you and we do not want anything to happen to you that may trigger a by-election. We do not want that. Neither do we want you to resign. We know that by-elections have become effective means of drawing needed attention to constituencies, the brazen and annoying denials by government and Party officials notwithstanding. But we prefer to be noticed and taken seriously even without by-elections coming our way. So, please do something, Honourables! That is why we voted for you. You belong to NPP and NDC. We have nothing against your two parties, nor against your two good selves, but we need you to come together and help us. Soon, you will be coming to us again looking for a fresh mandate. We are waiting. If you do not satisfy us, we will not vote for you again. Don’t even come back; you would be wasting your time. Let others try and we determine if they will serve us better. I know you are good listeners, just as you are good talkers. Thank you for listening and for heeding.
(Rev. Dr. Camillo Abatanie Bonsuuri is a Catholic priest and Headmaster of Holy Spirit Senior High School, Chamba, N/R. Tel.: 0547189499 Email: email@example.com)