Political tension and disenchantment is seriously raising it's ugly head among some supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party and some sympathizers within the Obuasi Constituency over the actions of a former NDC constituency vice chairman John Bonful to block permanently, a vital source of water for market women, traders, transport workers and other inhabitants within the central market area of Abum without any alternative provision.
John Bonful (alias Black Santiago) who defected to the N.P.P somewhere in 2002 was recently elected a polling station chairman for one of the polling stations in the Obuasi central area in a very controversial circumstance following several protests by some party faithful including the member of parliament Edward Ennin, against his candidature.
He has since been described by many party faithful as a controversial mole within the hitherto peaceful set up of the New Patriotic party in Obuasi, as his allegiance, loyalty and commitment to the course of the NPP continues to be in doubt.
Inhabitants and party supporters within the Obuasi municipality will also recall that John Bonful recently described the M.P as an ungrateful personality who even failed to pay for about ¢1,500,000 cedis worth of drinks allegedly credited during the campaign period.
This has however been denied by the M.P who says his lawyers will soon respond officially to Santiago on his claim Black Santiago is also on record to have alleged at the Obuasi central market, during his bid for the polling station chairmanship that the M.P is useless and that he has nothing good to offer the electorates.
He however denied this allegation.
In all these, there has been no statement from the party hierarchy seeking to condemn the alleged abuses on the people's elected representative.
Investigations by the Servant on the substantive well issue has revealed that there is an attempt by Black Santiago to block the source which has served as source of water for the people for over thirty years .
According to reports, Black Santiago who is currently constructing market stalls on behalf of the Obuasi municipal assembly is seeking to extend the project to cover the site of the well to the detriment of the people. The sanitation department and the municipal chief executive J. K. Boampong have reportedly denied having any hand or influence in the actions of the contractor, yet no official statement or order has come from the assembly's outfit calling for a halt as at last Monday.
Most sympathizers are however of the believe that, Santiago's actions are geared towards denying the people alternative water source in order to compel all those around to patronize a well sunk in his residence.. Reports say due to the existence of the Abum water source many do not patronize the well dug by Black Santiago, hence an attempt to close it.
The controversy surrounding the closure of the water source intensified last Thursday resulting in a serious confrontation between some supporters of Black Santiago and the local inhabitants and traders, as the latter groups vowed never to allow the closure.
Our source revealed that the member of parliament Hon. Edward Ennin recently visited the scene and expressed his displeasure about the whole affair, saying Santiago has no basis to close the source without an alternative provision. When our correspondent moved to the scene he met a chaotic situation as one of the inhabitants by name Kwaku Gabriel engaged Santiago in a heated argument threatening to teach him a lesson should he dare him.
John Bonful who conducted our reporter round the area told him that he was ordered by the assembly to close the water source to pave way for the extension of the market stalls. We however managed to confirm that his claims were untrue as at the time.
He said the well was recently dug by the inhabitants after the former one was blocked by the former contractor on the project.
He said attempts to cover the well with slaps was however frustrated following attempts by some butchers and individuals in the market to destroy the slaps. He however did not mince words but pointed accusing finger at the M.P, saying he is behind the agitations.
He was however emphatic that the main Abum water source has not been blocked and is still available for public use.
In response, one of the inhabitants Akwasi Gabriel described Santiago's assertion as absolute lies, saying the source was constructed by the water company in 1941 and has since remained a vital source even in the dry season. When contacted the municipal chief executive Joseph Kojo Boampong refused to comment on the issue.
The member of parliament Hon. Edward Ennin who described Santiago's accusations as baseless and unfounded however told this paper that the M.C.E. and the sanitation officer have all denied having sanctioned the destruction of the water source as claimed by the contractor Messrs. Black Santiago as at Sunday 6th November 2005 when he visited the site.
Meanwhile sources close to the local FM. Station-Shaft fm 98.1 told the paper that Santiago allegedly abused one of their presenters on air during one of the numerous interviews and discussions on the issue, describing their station as bogus. On his part the constituency chairman John Dickson Baiddoo told our reporter that, the issue over the water source is purely a local government issue, hence the assembly's responsibility.
He however expressed sadness that when the M.P visited the scene on Sunday 6th Nov, he allegedly ordered the destruction of the slaps used by Santiago to cover the well, without recourse to any party official. This has however been denied by the M.P.
On the allegation that the party hierarchy kept mute over the numerous insults poured on the M.P by John Bonful, the constituency chairman said most of the said insults were mere allegations that lacked substance.
He was of the view that principally there isn't any conflict between the M.C.E and the M.P. but said it is rather some unscrupulous followers of the two, who are feuding confusion. He expressed the party's preparedness to deal drastically with any member who creates undue factionalism within the constituency.
He appealed to the feuding factions, to smoke the peace pipe in preparation for the 2008 general election.