Walewale witnesses improvement in development projects
Undoubtedly, it is one of the fastest developing and vibrant constituencies in the North East Region, bustling with lots of activities, especially Walewale, the constituency capital, which is also the commercial centre.
The Walewale Constituency has witnessed appreciable infrastructural development for the past six years.
The development projects cut across all sectors including sports, health, education, industrialisation, roads, electricity and sanitation.
While a number of these projects have been completed and currently in use, others are at various stages of completion.
Interestingly, these projects are scattered across all the communities in the constituency.
For many, the level of development in the area is not surprising because it is the home of the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
The Walewale Constituency, which is also the West Mamprusi Municipal, was created in 1988 with Walewale as its capital.
It has a land size of 4,892 kilometres, with a population of about 175,755, per the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC).
Sharing boundaries with Savelugu to the south, Nalerigu/Gambaga to the east, Yagba/Kubori to the west and to the north by Talensi, the constituency has registered about 75,661 voters.
As it was formerly part of the Northern Region, it is a focal point for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), with the former winning the seat four times -1992, 1996, 2004 and 2008.
However, the Peoples’ National Convention (PNC) won the seat once in 2000, whilst the NPP snatched the seat in 2012, 2016 and retained it in 2020.
In the 2012 general election, the NPP parliamentary candidate, Dr Sagre Bambangi, won the seat with 19,328 votes, representing 42.92 per cent as against 15,192 votes representing 33.74 per cent polled by the NDC Parliamentary Candidate, Azortibah King James.
Dr Bambangi retained the seat in 2016 with 26,431 votes, representing 51.98 per cent as against 23,851 votes, representing 46.90 per cent polled by the NDC candidate, Abdallah Abubakari.
In the 2020 general election, the voting pattern was not different as the NPP parliamentary candidate, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, managed to hold firm onto the seat with 32,294 votes, representing 51.2 per cent, while the NDC parliamentary candidate, Abdallah Abubakari had 30,615 votes, representing 48.6 per cent.
However, until the emergence of the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia into the political terrain, the seat was considered a stronghold of the NDC as the party has held the seat four times.
Generally, the constituency has a mix of formal and informal workers such as teachers, health workers, civil and public servants, security personnel, traders, farmers, among others.
It is also a busy constituency, with fever-pitch economic activities that draw hundreds of people from far and near on a daily basis.
Its population is generally youthful, with agriculture as the main activity in the area.
As a rural constituency, the main form of agricultural activities are livestock rearing, vegetables and crop farming.
Some of the major farming communities in the area are Janga, Wulugu, Duu, Kpasenkpe, Nabari, Sariba, Kparigu, Tinguri, Kinkandina, Nasia, Wungu and Zangum.
The constituency is a beneficiary of the government’s one-district one-factory (1D1F) flagship initiative, with two projects at various stages of completion, while two others had been completed and are currently in operation.
The watermelon juice factory, is a subsidiary of Champion Foods and Beverages Limited, a wholly-Ghanaian-owned beverage manufacturing, distribution and marketing company.
Funded with a GH¢36 million facility from the Ghana EXIM Bank, work on the facility began in March 2019 and is currently about 90 per cent completed.
Already, equipment and machinery are on site, ready for installation. It is expected to produce about 10 tonnes of various juices and beverages per hour when operations commence.
The project will create direct employment for 300 people, while about 2,000 people, including farmers and aggregators who will engage in an out-grower scheme, will also benefit.
It will also curb the annual watermelon glut and improve the incomes of farmers, farmhands and drivers along the value chain.
Rice Processing Company
On the other hand, the rice farming and processing company, Tamanaa which is located at Nasia, near Walewale, currently mills about 290 tonnes of rice per day.
It engages over 4,000 rice farmers and aggregators in the West Mamprusi, East Mamprusi, Savelugu, Nanton and Mamprugu-Moagduri districts.
So far, some 148 workers have been employed.
The company also generates a turnover of some $1.5 million annually, while it markets 60 per cent of its parboiled rice under the brand name Nasia Star Rice.
Shea processing factory, waste treatment plant
Initiated by the wife of the Vice-President, Hajia Samira Bawumia, under her Samira Empowerment Foundation, with support from the Ghana Exim Bank, the shea processing factory, constructed at Gbimsi near Walewale is completed.
During a recent visit, it was observed that all construction works on the facility were complete, with some machines being installed.
It is expected to create more jobs for the people, especially women, who are the main value chain actors.
Constructed by Zoomlion Ghana Limited, in partnership with the government, a waste treatment plant is currently at the foundation level and will help to transform tonnes of waste generated in the region into valuable produce such as organic fertiliser.
Zipline medical drone centre
Another key project site in the constituency is the Zipline medical drone centre at Vobsi near Walewale.
The facility, which is the third in the country, currently supplies, on demand, blood and other essential medical consumables to medical facilities in hard-to-reach areas across the region.
It undertakes on average 90 life-saving flights a day, according to officials of Zipline Ghana Limited.
A number of road projects have been completed in the constituency, with others at various stages of completion.
Notable among them are the Wulugu-Kpasenkpe, Wungu-Mishio, Wulugu-Kurugu, Bulbiya-Dibisi, Nasia-Janga and Walewale township roads, as well as some bridges and drainage systems.
So far, about 15 road projects covering 250 kilometres are being worked on, out of the 846km earmarked by the government to be constructed in the North East Region.
Also, work has commenced on the Walewale-Savelugu highway.
The Walewale township intersection of the road will be upgraded into an interchange, and dualised with all the necessary safety measures.
Aside from the road infrastructure, the West Mamprusi Municipal Assembly has also hooked 39 communities onto the national grid, with the remaining five communities expected to be hooked onto the national grid next month to achieve 100 per cent electricity coverage.
Other projects that had also been initiated in the constituency are the two astro turf facilities, the North East Regional Hospital, health centres, classroom blocks and a cattle market.
In spite of the significant infrastructural development, parts of the constituency, such as the Nasia and Kparigu areas, are still grappling with poor roads, inadequate drains and bridges.
Checks by the Daily Graphic indicated that the contractor working on the main Nasia-Kparigu-Mimima stretch road has abandoned the project.
Another major issue of concern has been the increasing spate of armed robbery attacks in Walewale and its environs, which has sparked fear and panic among the residents.
The incidents have resulted in the loss of lives and life-threatening injuries over the past months.
In the past two months, four persons have been killed with others injured in some of the robbery incidents.
Some residents who spoke with the Daily Graphic — Osman Yakubu, Issahaku Razack, Rashida Fuseini – said in spite of the security challenges facing the constituency, it had witnessed significant development in the past six years.
They mentioned the construction of the two astro turf facilities, asphalting of link roads, Zipline medical drone centre, rice processing factory and a number of projects, which they noted had given a major facelift to the area.
Some opinion leaders — Afa Alhassan and Takora Fuseini- commended the government for initiating some projects which are impacting on the lives of the people in the constituency.
They, however, appealed to the government to equip the security agencies with logistics to be able to curb crime and ensure the safety of the residents.
In an interview, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for West Mamprusi, Issahaku Aremeyaw Somo, said the assembly had worked hard to bring massive development to the people.
He said within the past six years, a lot of measures had been adopted to improve infrastructural development of the area to address the challenges of the people.
“In fact, for the first time, we are witnessing this massive development; a lot of projects have been completed while others are ongoing and this will go a long way to improve on the living conditions of the people.
“The area has been left behind in terms of development for a very long time but the government is committed to turning their fortunes around,” he said.
Mr Somo, however, said there were still some challenges facing the area and reiterated the assembly’s commitment to address them.
For her part, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Walewale, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, who is also the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said she had invested her share of the MP’s Common Fund to support the development of the constituency.
Aside from that, she had also lobbied for a number of projects and explored available resources for the execution of projects in the constituency.
She mentioned renovation of some classroom blocks, supporting over 2,000 widows, logistics for health centres, connecting communities to the national grid and youth skills training as some of the projects she had undertaken in the past two years.