Member of Parliament for Sissala West Constituency, Mr. Mohammed Sukparu has expressed displeasure with how some districts were ignored when road projects estimated to be over 600kilometers were allocated to some districts identified as farming communities whilst neglecting 3 Constituencies(Sissala West, Sissala East and Wa East) which are actually the farming communities.
As the Member of Parliament for Sissala West Constituency, I wish to express my utmost displeasure about the deliberate exclusion of Sissala West, Sissala East and Wa East Districts from this noble project being undertaken by the government of Ghana and European Union.
The European Union has provided a grant of EUR € 35 million to the Government of Ghana, for the rehabilitation and maintenance of 670 km of feeder and farm access roads in the Upper West Region. This support is meant to improve inter-connectivity between areas of production and market centres in the region.
The region has 11 districts and out of this Eight (8 ) were considered leaving only three (3) districts which coincidentally are all Sissala districts.Below are the districts and the total number of kilometers of roads.
Wa Municipal, Wa West, Nadowli-Kaleo (235 km)
Jirapa, Lawra, Daffiama-Bussie (210 km)
Nandom and Lambussie-Karni (225 km)
It is interesting to note that, this support comes under the larger EUR € 160 million European Union-Ghana Agricultural Programme (EU-GAP) to develop sustainable agriculture in the Upper West Region. Considering the aim of the project, one would have thought that it would be fair to consider areas that are into massive agricultural production in the region. For instance, the Sissala enclaves that serves as a major food basket in the region and Ghana at large. It is further revealing to note that, Sissala West was adjudged the best quality maize producer in 2019 at the National Farmer’s day celebration in the country with Sissala East being the second highest producer of maize. It is also a fact that, the government flagship policy “Planting for food and jobs” success story cannot be told without mentioning the contribution of the Sissala districts. In spite of all these contributions being made by the two districts in ensuring food security in the country, surprisingly their road network is the worst in the region and by large in the country.
It is evident that all efforts made by the Sissala people to get these bad roads fix have proved futile. Series of visits were made to the presidency to that effect. Some of these visits are as follows;
First, the Chief and people of Walembelle Traditional area visited the Presidency in 2018, followed by the Chief and Elders of the Gwollu Traditional area, the hometown of the late former President Dr.Hillah Limann in 2019. The Paramount Chief of the Gandawi Traditional area and his Sub-Chiefs were the next in 2020 and, finally all the Paramount Chiefs from the Sissala areas including Sissala West, Sissala East, Lambusie, and Funsi in May, 2021 also paid a visit to the presidency to ensure that the bad roads are fixed. All these visits were meant to passionately appeal to government to fix the bad road network in the Sissala area. That notwithstanding, the Sissala Youth Forum also waded into this call and even demonstrated against the bad roads and called on government to fix them.
It is also interesting to note that, the road minister and his deputy then, visited the Sissala East to access a broken bridge between Dimajan and Navariwie in the Sissala East Municipality in 2019 and promised to fix the roads.
Apart from the numerous visits by the Sissala chiefs, the Honorable Member of Parliament for Sissala West equally raised the issue of bad roads in his constituency by filing an urgent question on the floor of Parliament demanding the Road Minister to answer why the constituency roads are in a deplorable state and the way forward in getting them fix.
All the numerous visits to the presidency, the regional Minister (Dr Hafiz Bin Salih) was the officer who led them, and cannot claim innocent of the bad nature of the roads in the Sissala area and the efforts made by the Sissala people to get the government work on them.
Again, it's disheartening to indicate that, the Sissala area was equally neglected on the government year of roads declared in 2019 as no road have been fixed or attempted to be fixed.
Based on these efforts made by the people, is it not proper that, if there is even a kilometer of road to be worked on in the region, it should go to the Sissala land without any prejudice.
It therefore beat my imagination how such a road project covering about 670km meant to facilitate agricultural activities in the region can elude the Sissala area due to self-centeredness of wicked individuals.
I am tempted to think that this whole attempt was a well-orchestrated to marginalize and deprived the Sissala people from their share of the national cake.
How can a project of this nature intended to improve farm access roads dubiously and greedily exclude Sissala areas that are predominantly agrarian areas.
It's a common knowledge to all indigenes of Upper West that, the Sissala enclaves covers over 50% of the landmass of the region and therefore must also be considered in times like this.
For the sake of fairness and equity, I demand immediate answers to the following questions from these individuals: The Regional Minister for Upper West(Dr.Hafiz Bin Salih) the Roads and Highways Minister, the EU Ambassador to Ghana, The World Bank representative, the Department of Feeder Roads in Upper West and Chief Director of Feeder Roads in Accra.
1. Has there been any feasibility studies carried out before the allocation?
2. How were those districts selected ahead of the lead food production areas?
3. What criteria was used for the selection of those beneficiary districts?
4. Is the Sissala enclave not part of the Upper West Region?
5. Why was it left out?
6. What has the Sissala people done to warrant this gross discrimination and marginalization?
7. I want to find out if the Ministers aren’t aware of the state of Roads in Sissala land?
8. Are they aware that the Sissala districts are leading food producers in the Region and second in the country?
In conclusion, I appreciate the effort of Ghana government, the European Union and World Bank for bringing such a laudable project to the region in an attempt to improve farm access road network in the region to ensure sustainable agriculture. However, on behalf of the people of the Sissala Districts, I want to express our utmost disdain on the way and manner this projects were selfishly and wickedly shared without considering the Sissala districts mostly known as the leading food hub in the region.
I am using this opportunity to call on all the key stakeholders of this project to immediately consider these Sissala districts in this all important road project. If this persuasion fails, the Sissala people would have no option than to hit the streets to register their displeasure against this shared greed and gross discrimination.
MP, Sissala West Constituency
Hon. Mohammed Adams Sukparu"
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