• President Akufo-Addo opening the tap after commissioning the Upper East Water Supply System in Navrongo last year
• President Akufo-Addo opening the tap after commissioning the Upper East Water Supply System in Navrongo last year

2022: Mix of tragic, joyous events in Upper East Region

Undoubtedly, 2022 was an eventful year with a mixed bag of both tragic and joyous events across the Upper East Region. The tragic events brought pain and anguish, while happy moments lighted the faces of the people.

The year was greeted with the resurfacing of the unending Bawku chieftaincy conflict, which continued unabated. The conflict has still not ended despite a visit by the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, who led a delegation to dialogue with the leadership of the factions.

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At least 70 people were killed in the protracted conflict, some of whom died when they engaged security personnel on the ground in a shoot-out, while others, including women and children, were caught up in a crossfire leading to their untimely death.

As a result, some residents and public sector workers including teachers, nurses, staff of the municipal assembly and other decentralised departments and agencies sought for transfer from the town.

At least 100 teachers and 60 nurses were released and transferred to other nearby districts to continue their teaching, due to the insecurity in the area. The regional branch of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust was also closed down, while other financial institutions based in the town were compelled to stop operations as a result of the security situation in the town.

Politics

On the political front, both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) successfully conducted their branch, constituency and regional elections, with most of the incumbent executives maintaining their positions.

During the Bolgatanga Central Constituency executive election, a delegate of the ruling NPP, Paul Azika, then a government appointee of the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly, collapsed and died later.

Azika reportedly collapsed the moment the results of the elections were announced and his preferred candidate, Awudu Asonga, lost the chairmanship to Kwame Anaba by just two votes.

Mr Anaba emerged winner with 355 votes, while Mr Asonga secured 353 votes, and a third contender, Abdul-man Alhassan Amalba, polled 77 votes of the 797 valid votes cast.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, embarked on a tour of all the municipal and district assemblies (MDAs) in the region, to interact with staff and inspect ongoing government projects.

Sentenced to death

A seven-member jury of High Court One in Bolgatanga unanimously found a self-styled spiritualist, Mbawona Tindana, guilty of killing his wife, Abigail Talata Kurug, aged 25, and daughter, Nyapoka Mbawona Tindana, aged two, at Kulpeliga, a suburb of Tongo in the Talensi District in the Upper East Region.

Delivering his judgment in the fully-packed court, the Presiding Judge, Justice Charles Adjei Wilson, said “May the Almighty God and Allah have mercy on your soul, as I sentence you to death for killing your wife and daughter.”

Also, a soldier with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), died of Monkey pox at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital.

He was admitted to the hospital on July 23, 2022 with symptoms of the disease, but died three days later on July 26, 2022, while receiving treatment.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo embarked on a day’s tour of the region to inspect ongoing projects, particularly the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Polimakom road project and ongoing construction of an Agenda 111 hospital at Katanga in the Bolgatanga East District.

As part of the tour, President Akufo-Addo inaugurated the Upper East Region Water Supply System in Navrongo in the Kassena Nankana Municipality.

Paga, Navrongo, Bolgatanga, Zuarungu, Bongo and their surrounding communities are some of the areas that are benefiting from the project.

The €38 million project funded with a loan from ING Bank of Belgium and the Dutch government through the ORIO funding, a Dutch official development aid for infrastructure financing, started in September 2018.

Students’ riots

Another disturbing incident that happened in the year under review was violent demonstrations by students of the Bolgatanga and Bawku Technical institutes, leading to the temporary closure of both schools by the Regional Security Council.

The protesters were made up of final year students taking part in their final Council for Technical, Vocational and Technical Education Training (CTVET) examinations and second year students who were protesting against strict invigilation by their teachers during the exams.

After a month of closure, both schools were reopened on Friday September 9, 2022, for the resumption of academic activities. Subsequently, the students in both schools were surcharged to pay a total amount of GH¢280,000 for damages to properties.

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Education

On the education front, an induction ceremony was held to induct Professor Samuel Erasmus Alnaa as the Vice-Chancellor of the Bolgatanga Technical University.

Also, in the year under review, the Presbyterian Nurses Training College in Bawku was temporarily relocated to Bolgatanga, due to increased insecurity, to enable the students to continue with academic activities.

Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia launched the $150 million Social Cohesion (SOCO) project aimed at improving economic activities in six regions of the country heavily hit by food insecurity, climate change, conflict and violence, particularly from the Sahel region.

Aside from Ghana, the project is also being implemented in Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire which suffer from issues of conflict and violence as a result of happenings in the Sahel region.

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The World Bank is financing the entire project with a credit facility of $450 million credit facility, out of which Ghana’s share is $150 million. Cote d’Ivoire’s share is also $150 million, while that of Togo and Benin is $75 million each.

The five-year project is being implemented in 48 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) across six regions, namely Oti, Upper East, Upper West, Northern, North East and Savanna.

GMA conference

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) held its first-ever Annual General Conference (AGC) in Bolgatanga on the theme: "Addressing the doctor distribution dilemma: The case of Ghana and its underserved areas.”

Addressing the 64th conference, the President of GMA, Dr Frank Serebour, urged the government and other stakeholders to put in place measures to correct the unbalanced distribution of health personnel across the country.

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Psychiatric hospital

As a bold step towards dealing with mental health issues in the region, a 10-bed specialist psychiatric hospital was inaugurated by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Bolgatanga.

The facility is the first-ever psychiatric hospital for the five northern regions since the Tamale Teaching and Central hospitals only have a unit and department designated for mental health patients.

The well-furnished facility, constructed at a cost of €43,000, was funded by friends of Bawku, a benevolent group based in The Netherlands and the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Yakubu, entreated municipal and district chief executives (MDCEs) and heads of departments, to exhibit positive attitudes towards work, to bring the needed transformation in the region in 2023, when he spoke at the second meeting of the Regional Coordinating Council held at the end of the year.


Writer’s email: [email protected]

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