Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has ridiculed the record of the opposition National Democratic Congress in the Zongos after many years in power.
Addressing the National Council of Zongo Chiefs during the opening of a three-day consultative conference at Kyebi on Thursday, Dr. Bawumia made an apparent reference to the NDC, citing their recent 8 years in power and the party’s inability to do something meaningful for the people of the Zongos, despite claiming to be a party for Zongos, especially under the Presidency of John Dramani Mahama.
“Some people were there for 8 years and they cannot point to you what legacy they left. I won’t mention their names, but they are my friends,” Dr. Bawumia said, amidst laughter from the audience.
He continued: “they can’t tell you (their legacy) because they did not focus on it, and if you don’t focus on it, you don’t prioritize it, and if you don’t prioritise it, you will not be able to budget for it. And if you don’t budget for it, there will be no money to do it,” said the Vice President.
On the contrary, Dr. Bawumia said, following the marginalisation of the Zongo communities from meaningful national development, the NPP and Nana Akufo-Addo set out to prioritise the development of Zongo communities, adding that the government has actualised that promise by prioritising Zongos in an unprecedented manner in the history of the country.
“Nana Akuffo Addo made it very clear, when we were coming into office that we have to pay attention to the Zongos because the Zongos have been left for years,” said Dr. Bawumia.
“They (zongos) never entered any budget; since independence to 2017, no zongo program had reflected in the budget that I’m aware of.”
“Zongos were completely ignored as far as real development on the ground is concerned. This is why we said we are going to focus on Zongo development.,”
” And how are you going to focus on Zongo development? We are going to establish a ministry for the first time in the history of this country. A whole ministry for zongo and Inner cities development. Has it ever been done? It has never been done. This is the first in history.”
“And in addition to that, we have established the Zongo Development Fund so that every year, there will be funding specifically for Zongo development.”
Dr. Bawumia indicated that Zongos make up a significant number of the Ghanaian population, hence they need special attention for them to get their fair share of national development.
“Zongos we have counted so far, and we are still counting, are 1080 and if you put the Zongos together they are even more than some of the regions we have, ” said Dr. Bawumia.
“So they need special attention and we are paying that special attention to the Zongos and the focus is to use the Zongo Development Fund to improve on infrastructure in the Zongos. A lot is being done to improve infrastructure like toilets, schools, hospitals, astro turfs etc.”
Dr. Bawumia added that apart from infrastructure development, the government of President Akufo-Addo is also focused on developing human capital in the Zongos through training and educational scholarships in Cuba, a deal he brokered with the Cuban government when he visited there last year.
“We are also training our Zongo youth. Very soon, Inshaa Allah, we expect about about 40 youth from our Zongo and deprived communities (boys and girls) to go to Cuba and study medicine and we expect 40 to go every year to build human capital in the Zongo and deprived communities , which is very important because we have to educate our people.”
“We are educating people and improving on infrastructure in the Zongos,” said Dr. Bawumia.
The Vice President told the Zongo Chiefs that the prioritisation of Zongos in the nation’s development agenda by the government of Nana Akufo-Addo, culminating in the number of infrastructure and human development projects on going in Zongo communities, is a departure from the past where government’s interaction with the Zongos was on rice and sugar.
“We have moved away from the politics of rice and sugar in the zongo community,” said Dr. Bawumia.
“We want real development in the Zongo community.
“Nana Akufo-Addo can tell you by the end of this year, exactly what legacy he has in the Zongos. Clearly, all these projects that are taking place across all the Zongos, will give you the body of evidence and this is only 4 years.”