25.04.2005 Regional News

Road construction discontinued

By Chronicle
Road construction discontinued
LISTEN APR 25, 2005

- because Assemblyman campaigned for NDC Tenzug-Tongo(U/E), April 25, Chronicle -- In a winner-takes-all style, some elements of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the newly created Talensi Nabdam District, in the Upper East Region, are said to have called for a freeze on development projects for Tenzug, an ecotourism site, because the Assembly Member openly campaigned for the NDC in previous elections.

Consequently, the construction of an access road from Tongo to Tenzug, has been abandoned for the past four years, even though it had almost reached completion stage.

A section of it has had its first coat of bitumen, from Bumbuane to Nankyieryir, and because of the abandonment, has started eroding, sending thus taxpayers' money down the drain.

Some citizens and residents of the village, which is situated on a hill and has a shrine and magnificent natural laying of rocks as an ecotourism site, complained to The Chronicle that, if the NPP government had indeed decided not to develop the area because of the assembly member's NDC membership, then it was unfair because not all of them belong to the NDC.

The assembly member, Mr. John Bawa Zuuri, on his part, said it was a political ploy to discontinue the project to make him unpopular. He alleged that as a contractor, he has suffered a similar fate as that of the road.

However, The Chronicle can report with authority that, if the move was political, then it was a mistake by all standards, since according to the people, who have varying political affiliations, John Bawa Zuuri, also known as Bazinsoh, is their man no matter what political party he chooses to join. Their reason is his commitment to develop the area.

Incidentally, the Upper East regional Director of the Ghana Highway Authority visited the village last Friday to inspect the road in question.

It was learnt that his visit was the result of pressure from Hon. John Tiah, MP for the area.

Reacting, the acting Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Rockson Bukari, who, until recently, had responsibility for the area, skillfully dodged the question during a telephone interview with this reporter last Thursday.

His argument was on the grounds that he “had little knowledge of the award of the contract,” which project was started in 2000. Whilst referring the reporter to the Regional Minister, who has oversight responsibility for the Talensi Nabdam district, Bukari pointed out that he does “not discriminate” and that Bawa Zuuri is his friend.

He added that a guest house for tourists had been built in Tenzug in addition to the provision of a borehole as well as the renovation of a headteacher's bungalow under the NPP government.

In a related development, the Tenzug Shrine and the Tongo Hills are fast gaining grounds as exciting tourists sites, with Americans topping the number of tourists to the district.

Close on their heels are Europeans, whose numbers have increased since the creation of the Tongo Hills and Tenzug Shrines as Ecotourism sites in December 2001.

The chairman of the Tenzug Ecotourism Committee, Mr David Bagna and a guide, Mr Roger Yin told The Chronicle in an interview on Monday that, the Tenzug Shrine was adjudged the Best Ecotourism Site for 2002 by the Ghana Tourist Board.

Available figures indicate that more than 200 Americans, several hundred Europeans and scores of others from the Far East have visited the area, which has an incredible serene environment.

Messrs Bagna and Yin said Ghanaians also tour the area individually and collectively, with students comprising the latter through excursions due to the accessibility of the village via the partially tarred road from Wakyii, which hitherto was non-existent.

Tongo's road network from the main Bolgatanga-Tamale highway is untarred and rough, a sign of neglect by successive governments.

Of particular mention is the wonderful work of nature as displayed in the spectacular laying of huge rocks in both horizontal and vertical order, with superb architectural expertise as if a super Samson had taken his time to arrange them.

Bawa Zuuri disclosed also that Tenzug, which can boast of producing the President of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Mr. B. T. Baba, and a host of others, has also been endorsed by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site.

He said signboards have been erected at various locations in the region and a limited number of brochures printed to advertize the site, and appealed to the media to help market the ecotourism potential of the area.

The Chronicle's investigations have established that the duo of Messrs Moses Asaga and John Tia, Members of Parliament for Nabdam and Talensi respectively, and lately the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Boniface Gambilla, need to work very hard to improve the lives of their people.

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