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08.12.2018 Feature Article

The Political Hijacking Of The Sissala East 2018 Overall Municipal Best Farmer Award

The Political Hijacking Of The Sissala East 2018 Overall Municipal Best Farmer Award
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Some few days ago, a brother and friend of mine, Sadiq Jongi, who also happens to be a communication team member of the opposition NDC posted on his Facebook timeline that the 2018 overall best farmer of the Sissala East Municipality is being politicised. This troubled me but I saw it as a usual opposition propaganda. I was however yet to receive one of the greatest shocks of my life.

From Wednesday, the 5th of December, 2018, I've been receiving numerous calls from different persons on this same issue. Most of these persons are in my party, the NPP. Based on this, I decided to do some digging on this issue to ascertain the realities on the ground.

In the evening of the said Wednesday, I made some calls on this issue. From the calls, I was told that there were nine persons vying for the overall best farmer award in the Sissala East Municipality. Of these nine, three were to be chosen and awarded. The committee which was already formed and after carefully assessing their various farms chose one Moro from Bichemboi as the overall best farmer and awarded him with 64points. Then closely followed Ibrahim from Nankpawie with 60points. Jabunmie who is also the presiding member of the Sissala East Municipal Assembly was a distant third with 40points. The report I was told was submitted to the Municipal Agric Director who also eventually forwarded it to the MCE, honourable Karim Nanyua.

The MCE I'm told also then communicated to the MP, honourable Ridwan Abass Dauda, on the report. The aftermath of their discussion was that they both cannot accept the results of the committee because they want the Presiding Member, honourable Jabunmie, to win the Municipal Best Farmer Award at all cost. And as such, they recommended that Moro should be removed from the list because he belongs to the opposition NDC and honourable Jabunmie(The presiding member of the Sissala East Municipal Assembly and a failed 1st Vice chairman of the NPP) who is a distant third on the committee's report should replace him. Ibrahim can however be maintained at his second position.

On Thursday, the 6th of December, 2018, I had calls from some of my earlier contacts that told me to try and contact the leadership of the NPP to intervene on the issue. They indicated that if we allow this politically motivated scheming to happen, the NPP as a party will pay the cost in 2020. I spoke to some of our leadership in the party and they also indicated hearing similar rumuors but when they contacted the MCE, he denied knowledge of such and also told them the Presiding Member cannot win the Best Farmer Award. Some Electoral Area Coordinators I spoke to also said they were witnesses when the MCE denied knowledge of honourable Jabunmie winning the award.

On the night of the said Thursday, I received some few calls with some giving me few but important reasons they perceive the MCE and the MP are adamant in forcefully pushing the award to the honourable Presiding Member eventhough both the MP and the MCE know he does not deserve it. They claim that the Presiding Member has been accused by his own NPP Electoral Area Coordinators of being part of the syndicate that stole 21,000 bags of subsidised fertilizers meant for the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme in the 2017 farming season. And as such, making him win the award was a way of clearing him from any wrongdoing. I asked them how this is possible, they said that where fairness and justice operate, it isn't possible but in an area like ours where power rules, that is realistically possible.

Besides, they also claimed that honourable Jabunmie currently has a case at the party(NPP) level. He is accused of slapping the NPP Sissala East Communication Director just because the Communication's Director sought to find out from the Agric Office how the coupons that came into the municipality were distributed. The Communication's Director couldn't understand why people will come from distant villages and come and sleep for several days without getting a single coupon. He felt such actions tarnish the image and good name of the NPP. But, honourable Jabunmie, though not a worker at the Municipal Agric Office, cannot take any probe on the Agric Office by any party officer. He therefore gave his own communication's director hefty slaps so that he wouldn't poke his nose on issues that he honourable Jabunmie is deeply involved in. It is rumuored that he alone took over 1000 fertilizer coupons this year.

They then added that honourable Jabunmie has been an hindirance to the fight against illegal felling of rosewood. They alleged that he set an office for himself where he took 5,000.00 Ghana cedis from the Chinese who are illegally cutting our trees in large quantities. How then can such a person be forced on us as the Overall Municipal Best Farmer by the MCE and the MP? They questioned.

After these calls, I made a resolve that I will be at the grounds of the Best farmer award in Nankpawie to witness things for myself and also give a solidarity support to my son and grandson who are both vying for some awards. On the grounds, you could feel and hear murmuring of the overall best farmer being politicised. And true to what was earlier said and predicted, honourable Jabunmie, the presiding member of the Sissala East municipal Assembly, the failed NPP 1st vice chairman, was awarded the overall municipal best farmer with Ibrahim being the 1st runner-up.

After the programme, some people especially those in the NPP could not believe our leaders could scoop so low and could be so petty to not seeing awarding such an award to a high profile politician is a discouragement to the poor and ordinary farmers who work in the various villages. The total exclusion of Moro from the award winners is mind-boggling and surprising. The fact that he is NDC doesn't make him a less Ghanaian or a less Sissala person. Our politics has grown more than that.

To the credit of the Municipal Agric Office, their organisation of the programme at Nankpawie was superb. My joy too is that most people I spoke to before and after the programme are not blaming them for anything. Our political leaders are those that most blame goes too and it is they that have disappointed all of us. It will be good and to the interest of all of us if the MCE, honourable Karim Nanyua, can make public the full report of the committee.

I shall, In sha Allah, be back...
Fuseini Abdul-Fatawu.

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