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A Soldier As Tamale Mayor Can Help Restore Sanity

Sat, 22 Jun 2013 Source: Ziem, Joseph

By Joseph Ziem

Of all the conflict or security hot spots in Ghana, Tamale’s are perhaps the worse, because this city can boasts of a greater percentage of the country’s most intolerable or violent youth. Besides, the onetime cleanest city in the country is gradually becoming the dirtiest environs in Northern Ghana.

In fact, all manner of negativities such as chieftaincy, religious and electoral violence, series of lawlessness, vandalism of private and state property among others, have occurred in Tamale over the years and most recently. Thus, one is right to conclude without hesitation that this historic city is the most indiscipline or lawless place in the country.

Alas, a former Northern Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress party Alhaji Abukari Sumani once said: “The only law that work in Tamale be say man for not enter woman en bathroom and woman for not enter man en bathroom.” But, is that the best compliment for a largely religious city like Tamale to carve for itself? In most security situations, the police are always helpless until military personnel storm town with or without their guns to restore law and order.

According to conflict resolution experts, the protracted Dagbon chieftaincy dispute between the Abudu and Andani royal families in particular, is largely to be blamed for all manner of lawlessness and insecurity in the Tamale Metropolis over the years. This phenomenon often push the police to a spot between the devil and the deep blue sea in their attempt to find amicable solutions to problems that regularly emanate from disputes between the two factions without necessarily causing a spillover.

For instance, when a resident particularly an indigenous Dagomba belonging to the Abudu family commits a crime and s/he is arrested, his/her family members will immediately brand the police for being sympathizers of the Andani family and vice versa. Also, Tamale has a significant number of motorbikes bearing fake registration numbers as compared to other places and the commonest amongst these numbers are those prefixed with UE with some few prefixed with NR. From the rumour mill, some producers of vehicle registration numbers are said to have started selling fake numbers prefixed with UW and BA because these numbers are cheap to come by. Besides, wearing of crash-helmet is an “unlawful act” amongst both men and women, and majority of those who obey this self-imposed law are the women who think that they have the most beautiful hairstyles and therefore, will not wear helmet to make their hair unkempt.

In fact, it is only in Tamale motor riders can embark on a demonstration to register their displeasure against city authorities including the police for arresting them when they refuse to wear crash-helmets or ride unregistered motorbikes. Thus, anytime there is an operation by the police to arrest persons who ride without wearing crash-helmets or ride unregistered motorbikes, the military MUST come on board in order to make it a success.

Another disgusting feature that is easily spotted in Tamale is the situation whereby some residents connive and condone in criminality to the extent that when someone is perpetuating crime and the police is or are coming, an onlooker will immediately inform s/he to abscond. When traffic lights show red, grownups who should know better but unfortunately have lost their moral integrity either because they were not brought up well or they are just lawbreakers by birth, seriously flout these traffic regulations with impunity and that also encourage younger ones to emulate their example. Under the constitution of Ghana, it’s an offence to protect or hide someone who has committed a crime and any police officer worth his salt will not hesitate to arrest persons who attempt to provide criminals protection instead of giving them up for the law to take its course. Unfortunately, the police in Tamale are vulnerable in such circumstances due to interference from chiefs and politicians. It’s only a criminal who will protect his fellow criminal instead of allowing the law to deal with him or her.

A story is told of a young man, Baba, who was growing up and heard his father constantly insulting the mother and threatening to marry a second wife because in other homes, wives compete to take very good care of their husband including their children. Thus, Baba grew up with that sort of mentality that marrying more than one wife is better than staying with just only one, because women appreciate nothing when they’re alone until they have a rival [s].

In another account, Fulera missed no opportunity in raining insults on her daughter anytime she requested money from her. Usually, she will tell her daughter that, “when I was your age, I had my own apartment and your father comes to spend the night at my place after work. I even cooked for him to eat”. The young lady out of frustration decided to make ends meet in her own way and began to sleep with men around so that she could own a shop [business] and apartment so that her mother would appreciate and respect her. The scenarios painted above exist in most homes in Tamale where mothers either out of ignorance, poverty or parental irresponsibleness encourage their daughters to engage in aberrant behaviours that tend to endanger their lives and future. For instance, there are a lot of young women marrying just because they think they have reach a certain age called adulthood or perhaps because their age mates are marrying and so, they must also marry at all cost. Same thing applies to young men who are marrying or eager to have children because they think they’re are adults or have attained a marital age. The end results of such marriages are divorce, child streetism, broken homes and prostitution. I personally believe that, marriage is for persons who are matured and not adults. You don’t just marry because you think you have money, a house or car and can feed a child and wife. If you don’t have the basic knowledge in how to withstand pressures from a woman including her nagging attitude or endure the pain and frustration of a sick child in the middle of the night and rushing him to the hospital, please don’t marry.

If you marry too, please don’t bring forth offspring unnecessarily when you know that you can’t take care of them but hide behind that stupid belief that God or Allah will take care of them. For God sake, having your child begging on the street, eating crumbs at food joints, sleeping in the street, engaging in child labour among others isn’t what the creator has assigned for them in this world. I can state unequivocally, that there are many children [boys and girls] who are either products of divorce or broken homes roaming the streets of Tamale searching for food, shelter and peace. Unfortunately, paedophiles are preying on some of these children particularly the females and they are getting pregnant and acquiring STIs by the day. The boys too, are engaged in petty stealing and other forms of child labour. A father or mother who will not take proper care of his/her child brings upon him/herself a CURSE! There is another serious canker that has permeated the DNA of almost every resident of the Tamale metropolis. This canker is one such derogatory insult called sheeje. The commonest word one hears everyday in most homes or on the streets of Tamale is sheeje. Whether young or old, everyone says it without shame or regret. You will wonder whether users of such a word even know what it means. A mother can insult her daughter/son sheeje and a father can do same to his son or wife. Sheeje, I understand, is a Hausa word which has such a horrible meaning. It could mean bastard, whore, adulterer, fornicator and one’s mother’s or father’s something [can’t mention it here].

At the lorry station, in the market and even in school where children are supposed to be brought up well to become responsible citizens, some teachers spew out sheeje so recklessly in the presence of their pupils. No wonder the moral breakdown amongst the populace is so disgusting and glaring for all right thinking individuals or persons who have conscience to see. Thus, there is no respect for the elderly; not even the police who are charged with the responsibility of ensuring law and order.

Furthermore, any first-time visitor to Tamale is most likely to assume that the city has the most number of residential facilities that have master bedrooms as compared to other cities and towns in some parts of the country. This is because, walking through vicinities or homes in the metropolis, one immediately comes across waste water flowing from bedrooms and spilling over recklessly instead of being directed into sockerways. Any mayor worth his salt will charge every home where such practices exist to provide sockerways to collect the waste water. But, that is not the case as just a few reasonable residents [tenants and homeowners] have deviced proper ways of collecting the waste water flowing from their rooms. The waste water being discharged recklessly from these homes also breed mosquitoes thereby leading to high incidence of malaria cases. Cleanliness, the two Holy Books (Bible and Qur’an) say, is next to godliness. But surprisingly, in a largely religious community like Tamale where Christians and Muslims are taught to observe cleanliness in their daily lives and also consider it a spiritual obligation, it is so appalling to see choked reeking gutters and incinerators in almost every corner of nearly all vicinities in the city.

Few examples of vicinities considered by this writer as the dirtiest places in the Metropolis include Tishegu/Ward K, Kalpohini/Sangani, Kukuo, Duanayili, Changli, Gumani, Jisonaayili, Kanvilli, Vitting, Dabokpa, Koblimahagu, Sakasaka, Nyohini, Lamashegu, Gumbihini, Gurugu, Tamale Polytechnic, Choggu, Bulpiela, Zogbeli, Nyanshegu, among others.

Mr. President, there is nothing like the rule of law in Tamale. If it exists elsewhere in its least form, it’s in fact rare in Tamale. The police in this city don’t have much work to do except guarding financial institutions and checking travelling vehicles on the highways. Even some past mayors have run for cover from irate youth who are often incited by faceless irresponsible and coward adults to perpetuate crime. The only person lawless residents’ fear or respect is a military man. So Mr. President, kindly appoint a soldier as mayor of Tamale in order to restore sanity.

To the youth of Tamale; can you imagine attending a job interview one day only for you to hear later on that you were denied the job because you’re a resident or native of Tamale and therefore, they [employers] think you might be a violent person? That is a food for thought.

The writer is a freelance journalist and a social media fanatic based in Tamale. Views or comments may be sent to him via ziemjoseph@yahoo.com

Columnist: Ziem, Joseph