Following decades of unheeded calls for their roads to be fixed by central governments of old and new, the chiefs and people of Aowin South in Western North Region have chosen to take the law into their own hands.
This they have done by shutting down their communities to elections officials who were attempting to enter into the communities to conduct the ongoing Local Government elections.
Just before voting could begin in any of polling stations in some 14 communities within the district Tuesday morning, young men from the communities have blocked roads, preventing the officials from entering.
“If government doesn’t see it necessary to share the national cake with us, we do not also see the need to be part of any national activity, be they local elections whatsoever,” a frustrated Patrick who is a member of the community told Adom FM’s morning show host, Captain Smart.
Frustrated Chiefs’ Support
The actions of the young men have received support from the chiefs of these communities, with the chief of Jema endorsing his subjects’ actions on the same show.
Nana Onukwano II who casted a frustrated figure on the show said his appeals to governments over the years have all fallen on deaf ears.
He gave a chilling account of how pregnant women from the community have died mainstream as they are being transported for the delivery of their babies.
“A woman died with her baby recently as she was being transported by a motorbike while in labour, all because of the nature of the roads,” a sad-sounding Nana Onukwano II said.
Readiness to Pay the Ultimate Sacrifice
Like his forebears who laid down their lives to give them the land they now occupy, Nana Onukwano II said he was ready to lay down his life if that is what it would take for the roads to be fixed.
“If chopping off my head is what it will take for the roads to be fixed for the avoidable deaths to stop, I am ready to lay it down as the ultimate sacrifice for my people,” he said.
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Apart from the loss of lives and the social implications for the people of Aowim, there are huge economic implications, Nana Onukwano II has indicated.
Drivers who ply the roads to cart food and cash crops have stopped for the obvious reason of damages to their vehicles, bringing commercial activities in the area to a halt.
Aowin South is noted for its cocoa-growing activities but what is cocoa production if it can’t be transported?
Nana Onukwano II says it is the sad reality that has hit his people over the years as cocoa beans have either gone bad or the farmers have been taken advantage of by the few and courageous cocoa buying companies who have dared to make it to the communities.
Decades of Failed Promises
The road, according to Nana Onukwano II, was earmarked as part of the cocoa roads by the erstwhile government of John Mahama but not even that has materialised in any significant action.
“The roads have never seen a bitumen since the era of [Jerry] Rawlings’ administration,” he explained.
Plan for Continued Protest and Civil Disobedience
Nana Onukwano II said he and his subjects had written to the District Commander of Police and the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) on their intention not to be part of the elections.
He has also served notice of their decision to continue the protests into the 2020 general elections if the conditions of their roads remained the same.
Listen to the audio below for more
Watch the nature of the road in video above