Damongo: Disgruntled youth demonstrate against decentralisation

Hundreds of youth took to the principal streets of Damongo, the capital of the Savannah Region to kick against attempts at decentralisation in the region.

The march, led by the Damongo Youth Parliament (DYP), was to compel the government to situate all departments of the Regional Coordinating Council in Damongo to spur development in the capital.

The group, in a petition to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo which was received by the Savannah Regional Minister, Adam Salifu Braimah, spelt out the gains of concentrating the offices in Damongo.

Describing the action by government as “regrettable”, the group disclosed that in an interview with PAD FM on 1st October 2019, after a closed-door meeting with the Regional Minister, the Registrar of the Gonja Traditional Council, Mr Abutu Kapori, disclosed that, it will be a betrayal of trust if Yagbonwura accepts a region with such dispersed departments.

According to him, the Overlord has directed the minister to relay to government that he has not accepted and will not accept an arrangement to decentralise departments”.

The march was triggered by the subtle disclosure by the Savannah Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf at the recently held Savannah Star Awards that, the various Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in the region have been tasked to allocate pieces of lands in their districts for the construction of the various Regional Departments as advertised by government.

“Meaning, he intends to go ahead with the decentralisation policy, despite clear instructions from the chief petitioner against such a decision,” the group lamented.

They argued that developing Damongo like what has been witnessed in Tamale, Kumasi, Accra and Koforidua “does not take away anything from the other districts in the region”.

The group is of the view that the listed regional capitals gained prominence as a result of the concentration of regional departments which propelled a growing population.

“Such a dense population easily attracts investors who will want to take advantage of the numbers to do investments. We are already picking information that potential investors are being scared away from our region because of the unpalatable decision to decentralize since it will not make investment sense to put so much into a town that cannot attract traffic and the numbers needed to drive business”.

However, what they want in the other towns are scattered higher institutions of learning, factories, better road networks, markets, district hospitals and Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds.

They concluded that “the decision to decentralize is not in consonance with the popular will and wishes of the people”.

Dressed in red attire, amidst drumming and chanting of songs, the protestors marched along the main roads. Some of them carried placards which read: “Regional capital without coordinating departments is meaningless”, ”Mr President, this is not the region the Yagbonwura asked for”,” Respect the authority of the Yagbonwura: Site all departments at Damongo”.

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