Ghana: Tamale Chief Mad At MCE

Tamale — THE METROPOLITAN Chief Executive (MCE) of Tamale, Alhaji Abdulai Haruna Friday's pursuit for possible retention by the President as a Mayor of Tamale for a second term, or be elevated to a status of a Regional Minister is likely to hit the rock, as some concerned residents of the area are already demanding for his immediate removal.

Serious concerns are being raised by some residents of the area after some local radio stations started to speculate that the Mayor was lobbying for a retention or promotion to a Regional Minister for the Northern Region, after managing a disappointing administration.

The Chief of Tamale, Naa Dakpema Mahamoud Alhassan Dawuni, speaking to The Chronicle at his Royal Palace, as part of his New Year message for the people, ferociously criticized the Mayor of Tamale, Alhaji Abdulai Haruna Friday for what he termed as "clear show of incompetence and lack of vision towards the development of the Metropolis".

According to the Chief, the Tamale Metropolis, since the assumption of the current Mayor in 2009, had seen very little or no improvement, especially in ensuring law and order, proper waste management, beautification of the city and maintenance of existing structures.

Naa Alhassan Dawuni complained that the tenure of Alhaji Haruna Friday had brought about total break down of law and order, citing specific instances of traders, hawkers, motorists and other individuals continually flouting the laws.

The Chief noted with grave concern that the inefficiency of the Mayor and his entire administration has turned Tamale into a lawless city, where people no longer show regard or respect for the law and people in authority.

Meanwhile, before the criticisms by Naa Dakpema, the members of the Concerned Citizens Association of Tamale (CCAT), led by the President, Alhassan Basharu Daballi, had also raised serious concerns about the current state of Tamale.

Comparing the present state of the metropolis to the days of the Former Mayor, Mohammed Adam Amin-Anta, whose regime saw the construction of the Tamale Sports Stadium, Tamale Street-lighting Project, Tamale Water Expansion Project, Rehabilitation of Tamale Airport, Tamale Beautification Project, the Aboabo internal roads, springing up of new hotels, banks and other businesses, Mr. Daballi accused Alhaji Friday of rather sending the Metropolis backwards.

The Tamale Concerned Citizens, therefore, called on the President to remove Alhaji Friday and replace him with a more competence person who would have the kind of vision required to move the city forward.

They insisted that they (Concerned Citizens) would do everything possible to oppose any attempt by President John Dramani Mahama to maintain Alhaji Friday as Mayor of Tamale or appoint him as Regional Minister.

On the waste management the Chief of Tamale, Naa Dakpema Alhassan Dawuni was highly emphatic about the fact that almost every locality in the city had been engulfed with filth.

He cited some of the vicinities he considered as the dirtiest places in the Metropolis, including Tishegu/Ward K, Kalpohini/Sangani, Kukuo, Duanayili, Changli, Aboabo, Gumani, Jisonaayili, Kanvilli, Vitting, Dabokpa and Koblimahagu.

The rest are Sakasaka, Nyohini, Lamashegu, Gumbihini, Gurugu, Tamale Polytechnic, Choggu, Bulpiela, Zogbeli, Lamakara and Nyanshegu, among others.

He indicated that there were evidences of choked gutters within the Central Business District of Tamale, coupled with heaps of refuse left unattended to in most of the communities. Most of the public toilets, he noted, were being poorly managed, compelling majority of the people to resort to open defecation in the nearby bushes.

When walking through houses in the aforementioned vicinities, he said one needed to be very careful or risk stepping on human excreta disposed of carelessly by the residents, and yet the Mayor and his Assembly members care very little about the situation.

Meanwhile, cleanliness, the two Holy Books (Bible and Qur'an) say, is next to godliness. But, surprisingly, in a largely religious community like Tamale, where Christians and Muslims are taught to observe cleanliness in their daily lives, and also consider it as a spiritual obligation, it is so appalling to see choked reeking gutters and incinerators in almost every corner in nearly all vicinities in the metropolis.

Communal bathrooms in almost all the homes in Tamale have their waste waters discharged carelessly into walkways. Besides, almost all rooms in every home have a bathroom, where tenants who prefer to bath inside their rooms, instead of the communal bathroom, also discharge the sewerage anyhow, without recourse to cleanliness.

Assembly members and their Unit Committees, which are supposed to promote development initiatives in their localities on behalf of the Assembly, simply cannot mobilize to de-silt choked gutters and cleanup filth due to petty resentments and partisanship among the people.

That notwithstanding, the Tamale Chief was with the view that, if the Mayor was visionary and committed to the development and wellbeing of the people, he could have fallen on churches and mosques, traders, dressmakers, beauticians and sachet water producers among others, and engage them in a monthly cleanup exercises to fight the filth in the city.

This, he said, would have also enabled the Assembly to cut down its annual spending on waste and sanitation management, and the rest channeled into other development projects.

Naa Dakpema Dawuni also blamed Alhaji Haruna Friday for unjustifiably allowing hawkers to takeover pavements and other walkways specially assigned for movement of humans and bicycles.

"The common practice in Tamale nowadays is that everyone can just wake up the next day and start selling anything at anywhere or put up kiosk or container and begins to do business without any restrictions whatsoever by the city authorities.

Every street in Tamale, including Principal and ceremonial streets have been flooded with unauthorized containers, without any effort by the Mayor to restrain the people. To me, the Mayor, in a way, has validated or legitimized the practice by taking taxes from these illegal traders," he said.

According to the Chief, instead for the Mayor upgrading both the Tamale Central and the Aboabo Markets to move the hawkers to join other traders, he had rather resorted to taking taxes from them.

Both markets, he said, had been swallowed up with filth, and are dangerously constructed without access roads to combat incidence of fire.

The Chief also touched on the way and manner the Assembly had allowed cattle, sheep, goats and other livestock to roam the streets of Tamale, causing unnecessary accidents. Sometimes the animals, he said, roam the streets from morning till mid-night, without the city authorities showing any concern.

Meanwhile, efforts by The Chronicle to get some reaction from the Tamale Mayor, Alhaji Haruna Friday, proved unsuccessful, as he told the paper that he was busy going to remove his aching teeth, after several attempts to have a personal interview with him had failed.

He, however, directed the paper to speak to his Coordinating Director, Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, who admitted to most of the issues raised by the Chief of Tamale and the Concerned Citizens about the state of the Tamale Metropolis.

According to him, there was no denying the uncontrolled activities of the hawkers and other traders on the various streets and pavements in the city. He said that the assembly had taken note of the activities of the hawkers and was adopting plans to evacuate them anytime soon.

The Tamale Metropolitan Coordinating Director, who took office some four months ago, blamed the situation partly on the lack of cooperation and support from the Chiefs, opinion leaders and the youth groups who sometimes interfere in the operations of the assembly.

He also admitted that the Assembly for the past few months had had a serious challenge in managing waste, as a result of the break down of some waste management equipment of the Metro Assembly.

The Coordinating Director revealed that the Assembly would be meeting the Press on January 18th 2013 to announce its plans concerning the uplifting and beautification of Tamale.

After the Press Briefing, he hinted that another meeting would be held with the identified livestock owners and the leadership of the Butchers to discuss ways of retraining the animals from roaming the streets.

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