Serious trouble is currently looming in the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo Constituency for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ahead of the 2008 general elections, as the party's new and former executives are at each other's throat for glory.
The party is now divided into factions, with persistent internal wranglings, which delayed the constituency elections for nearly a full year, after virtually all constituencies here in the Northern Region had concluded theirs.
This situation, which has largely brought tension and unrest in the area, was due to lukewarm attitude of the Northern Regional and National party executives, in ending a rift between the newly elected executives and the District Chief Executive (DCE), Princess Elizabeth Pijit Puyari, whom party sources insist was once a strong pillar for the 31st December Women's Movement (DWM) as well as some old party executives in the area.
The former constituency executives, who are on good terms with the DCE, are threatening to leave the NPP if the National Executives fail to address their differences.
The current executives have been enmeshed in demonstrations and vulgar petitions against the DCE.
On October 30, 2006 they organized another demonstration to disrupt the inauguration of the newly elected and appointed assembly members. The DCE and her driver on that day were attacked. She was chased out of office and her official vehicle seized by the demonstrators.
The DCE had apparently refused to consult the executives before appointing people as government appointees to the District assembly, a sore spot that has raised tensions across the nation.
According to pieces of information available to The Chronicle, the new executive team came into existence after the death of the Late Northern Regional NPP Chairman, Alhaji Salifu C.O.P, who had tried to settle the impasse on many occasions.
Soon after C.O.P's funeral, some of the regional executives helped the new executives to settle in, and together with a renowned lawyer, Mr. Mahama Dubiq (who lost to the NDC candidate) allegedly developed a new album of polling station executives, which was used to form the new register of executives.
To beef up the constituency's strength towards the 2008 elections, lawyer Mahama has bought a pick-up vehicle for the Constituency Chairman, Amos Yamba and donated about 80 bicycles to the party members to facilitate their activities.
At a press conference organized by the Young Elephants group of the NPP, attended by over 600 party followers from the old executives' camp in Bunkpurugu, the former Chairman, Thomas Elisha Naan and his team, the good projects and activities embarked upon by the DCE, especially for women groups in the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District, were outlined to justify why the DCE ought to have a continued stay in office.
The new Constituency Chairman could not be reached but lawyer Mahama Dubiq in an interview with this paper denied suggestions that he was part of the problem for the tensions in the area as he does most of his legal work in Accra where his family resides.
He admitted giving the Chairman the pick-up and the 80 bicycles. According to him, the DCE may be having problems in her administration because she was not performing to the satisfaction of the people.
He asserted that it was the old executives who first assaulted the DCE before later siding with her.
On the development of the new constituency album, Lawyer Dubiq asserted that the whole album was rather sponsored by the DCE and two other people, Alhaji Aliu and Sampson Nambo. He also accused the DCE of drawing tribal lines in her administration and also working underground against the NPP.
When contacted, the National Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Peter Mac Manu told this paper that, the party hierarchy was aware of the problems in the Bunkpurugu constituency and had dispatched a team of researchers to all constituencies with similar problems. He said the Bunkpurugu issue would be fully attended to early next year. Mac Manu therefore urged followers of the party to exercise restraint and soften their entrenched positions for the betterment of the NPP.
Ghana News Agency (GNA) has suggested that research shows that inadequate provision of basic infrastructure and social amenities in the newly created Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo District was causing social and economic disorders in the area. The road network in the area is said to be very poor; the district has no communication and electricity facilities as well as potable water.
People in the district either have to travel 36 miles to Nalerigu in the East Mamprusi District or neighbouring Togo to make telephone calls at an exorbitant cost. They also receive television signals from Togo, as signals from Ghana are not clear in the area.
A visit to the district capital, Bunkpurugu by the GNA revealed that as a result of the inadequacies in development, government workers were refusing to take transfers to the district while private individuals were also declining to establish businesses there.
This has led to the nicknaming of the area as " an orphaned district".
Mr. Gard Kanturib, a teacher at the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Senior Secondary School in Tamale, told the GNA that about two-thirds of the youth from the area had migrated either to the southern parts of the country or to Ivory Coast to work on cocoa plantations.
He said 80 per cent of educated youth from the area were also working outside the district.
All these not withstanding, there is serious internal strife within the local branch of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), a circumstance many people said was affecting the development of the district.
Mr. Rafig Barley, an opinion leader said, “the confusion” in the NPP was fuelling security unrest among the three ethnic groups, namely the Binmobas, Konkombas and the Mamprusis.
He said there had been demonstrations and counter demonstrations, anonymous letters circulating among members of the ruling NPP from these ethnic groups, some in favour of the District Chief Executive, Pijit Tuyari and others in favour of Lawyer Dubik Y. Mahama. Madam Tuyari is a Konkomba and Lawyer Mahama a Binmoba.
Mr. Barley said because of the state of affairs, the DCE spent all her time in either travelling to Accra or Tamale to answer queries.
Those of us who are supporters of the NPP are worried about the political wranglings and I wish to appeal to the National Executives of the NPP to come down to Bunkpurugu to consult the chiefs and people of the area to find an amicable solution to the problem before it escalates into a conflict situation", a party supporter said.
Madam Talata Sayers, a leading member of the Party, said, “for us women in the district, we like her (the DCE)'.
She said the DCE had helped mobilise women in the district to form groups and also solicited credit support for them to expand their businesses. She also appealed to the National Executives of the NPP to come down to Bunkpurugu to unite the two factions to work together for the development of the Party and the district.