The Cry of a Constituent to an MP (Hon Abu Jinapor) Who Supplies Contaminated Water to His Constituents in Damongo

Feature Article The Cry of a Constituent to an MP Hon Abu Jinapor Who Supplies Contaminated Water to His Constituents in Damongo

Dear Samuel Abu Jinapor Esq,

I bring you compliments of the season from my hideout in the caves of Laribanga. I deem this a civic responsibility as your constituent, to draw your attention to that which is of utmost concern to us (including those in NPP who can only hide and whisper but cannot speak up in public).

It is been three years since the people of Damongo voted you to represent us in Parliament. Although, you openly made some remarks that but for the strangers you bused to Damongo, you would not have won the 2020 elections. In effect, you are just an exalted imposition on us by outsiders per your own submissions. 

I can very well appreciate that the concept of development can mean different things to different people. Reason is that every individual has his/her exclusive basket of needs and what development means to them. To that extent, I cannot bundle all the constituents into a whole in an attempt to raise issues of development. That said, it is common knowledge that water is life and a basic necessity at that. And so when I highlight the water crisis situation in Damongo constituency, I should think that I am only but amplifying a common concern.

Hon. Abu Jinapor, may I remind you that in your quest to become the MP of Damongo, during which period you were the Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of operations at the Presidency, you made very juicy promises to the constituents just as your government did. Indeed, you promised to paint Damongo with “gold.” You did everything to buy our consciences and everything power could do including intimidations and abuse of office to secure the mandate of becoming the MP. Well, you won and nobody can fault you for some of the “dirty tactics” you adopted for the simple reason that in politics foul is fair and fair is foul.

In office for the past three years however, you have practically reneged on the very core promises you made including delivering the Damongo Water project as expected and presented to us in July 2020. Before the deception clothed in sod-cutting on the 29th of July, 2020, President Akuffo-Addo, Vice President Dr.Bawumia and you, had cause to make different promises in respect of the Water Project to the good people of Damongo on different platforms and in most cases at the instance of the Yagbonwura Tuntumba Boresa. 

Just to refresh your memory, in 2018, Vice President Bawumia, at the forecourt of the Jakpa palace, made us to believe that your NPP government had secured about $49m to execute the Damongo water project and that in the very year he was making that claim, the project was going to kick start. Fast forward in 2019 or so, President Akuffo-Addo himself made the same promise to the Yagbonwura amidst applause. He further stated that as a stop-gap measure, 10 mechanized boreholes were going to be drilled in Damongo Township while working to deliver the water project. As for you my MP, the number of times you repeated the same promise on different platforms, we have lost count.

On that fateful 29th July, 2020, a sod-cutting ceremony was colorfully organized at the Damongo town park. On the platform, your submissions sounded as though water had started flowing down our taps and in our homes. I remember the slogan “promise made, promise fulfilled”, which was boldly printed on the flyer and repeated by you on that platform. We were told the project was going to take 18 months to be delivered. What happened thereafter? 

Fast forward in 2023, three years after that scam of a sod-cutting ceremony without even a single pipe laid, my MP, Hon. Samuel Jinapor, in his supposed magnanimity, secured a water tanker to supply us water. Guess what! The water tanker draws water from an abandoned dam (Damongo Agric Dam) to supply to our helpless mothers for domestic use. For God sake, that water is highly contaminated and I sincerely don't think Hon. Abu Jinapor will allow for his beautiful flowers at his residence to be watered with his contaminated water he distribute to our mothers for domestic use. Even this, we are told to applaud him.

Meanwhile, other private water sellers, out of their sensitivity and empathy, source their water from mechanized boreholes they personally drilled for onward sale to the people of Damongo Constituency. Question is, between the private water dealers who have no ordained obligation to provide public goods such as water to the people of Damongo and Hon. Abu Jinapor, who has been voted for on the account of delivering basic necessities like water, who should be sensitive to the plight of the helpless constituents? How come the private water sellers source their water from mechanized boreholes, while our rich MP only resort to a typhoid infested dam water?

At least, we the ordinary people cannot be like you, because we are not entitled to the privileges at your beg and call as an MP and a Cabinet Minister for that matter. Being our representative however, who we expect to pretend to be like us, you could just ride down from your high horse and at least have some sympathy and be sensitive to the helpless situation our mothers find themselves. An unfortunate situation you and your government have collectively created with your own hands. There are existing boreholes that need ordinary repair works, is this too difficult for you to do? What about drilling new ones once we now know you cannot deliver our water project?

As a result of this singular act of sourcing contaminated water from the abandoned dam to supply us, the cases of typhoid fever have multiplied in Damongo and its environs. And because you have influence, resources and the power to mute and buy off popular voices within the constituency, you feel you have the field day to do as you please, after all nobody challenges your authority.

The Ministry you head, Lands and Natural Resources, has very resourceful public agencies including the Minerals Commission, Forestry Commission, Lands Commission, among others. Each of these agencies can undertake the drilling and mechanization of boreholes in large scales just in a year without any substantial financial implications. To top it all, your ministry oversees the giant mining companies including Newmont Ghana, Anglogold Ashanti, ect. Each of these mining companies have embedded social-corporate responsibilities as part of their contract, among which is to provide basic amenities like water. 

Even if you feel the statutory funds allocated to you as an MP are meant for parties and not to provide public goods, why can't you charge any of these agencies or companies to take up this responsibility in your stead? We would have appreciated and still give you the credit anyway. 

Available information has it that, one need just about GHC 25,000 to GHC 30,000 to drill and mechanize a borehole. Meanwhile we are told by some of your kitchen cabinet members that you spend about GHC 100,000 to organize just one party. Just this Christmas period, you have organized at least two different parties plus other entertainment programs. The amount spent on these parties could get us about 6 or 7 mechanized boreholes from which you can draw the water for our mothers. Is this too much to ask? Must man live by bread alone? Must it always be partying or entertainment? Must it always be sharing and splashing of cash? Well, this might win you power, but it will obviously not sustain you in power forever. 

Just a reminder! Your government came to power in 2017 to meet an existing agreement signed by the John Mahama administration with Eco Bank Ghana, for a loan of $35m for the purposes of executing the Damongo water project. As part of the scope of work, the water was to be sourced from the White Volta through the communities along the Fufulso-Damongo-Sawla road. Implying, all these communities, including Busunu, Laribanga, Mole, etc. were billed to be connected to the water project. You and your government abandoned that fine agreement, went for your so-called Bi-water Turnkey project which has become a white elephant. Is this wickedness, witchcraft or just a deliberate act to punish the people of Damongo for making their MP?

You may have succeeded in silencing most of the people who today can only whisper in pain, but you cannot silence all of us. You can buy the voices of most of the people, but even as faint as some of us may sound, we will shout and scream until the voices of conscience respond in tandem. This may sound political to you and your “attack dogs” who, I know will be unleashed to come after me sooner than later, but to me, this is a genuine fight for freedom. And in the voice of the great Nelson Mandela, the road to freedom has never been seamless. It has always been bumpy, muddy and rough, but for what democracy presents us with, we dare to undertake this uncertain journey until we get liberated. 

I can only wish you well sir. Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

By Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese
(Youth Imam from Laribanga)