Since antiquity, you cannot mention any group of people who have contributed their blood, sweat & resources to the collective vision of brining Ghana thus far without mentioning the Sisaala land & it’s people.
Our place has been imbeded in the very heart and core of the history of this great nation. From fighting slavery to being a main supplier of slaves to the South who are eventually transported to the Caribbean and Europe. In fact, the Sisaala people are part of the Northern Labour that still powers every aspect of Ghana’s economy to this day. Katakyies, cocoa Labour, galamsey etc
We gave Ghana a president whose contributions are recognised by all and still cherished to this day even though alot has been done to downplay his efforts. He is the only national asset from the Upper West to occupy the highest office in the land. We can also talk about the contributions of Imoro Egala and his contributions to the first Republic and to Nkrumahs government. We can count a plethora of human resources even to this day. It has never been the problem of the contributionsof the Sisaala’s. No! In fact, now we know it is an intentional, ochestrated plot to downgrade the Sisaalaland and its people from the National level all the way down to the Regional level. If not so why have we been neglected and discrimated against for this long. Is it intentional, ochestrated or a simple matter of we do not matter.? We are ready show this time around that we matter and we must be taken seriously.
The Sisaala-Land, again, is the single largest producer of cereal (sorghum, beans, soya, cow pea, yam etc) in the country and feeds the entire Upper West Region and Ghana at large. Even with bad roads from 1902 when Ghana become a colony to 1957 when we won indepence till 2021 in the 4th Republic, the Sissaland has not seen a proper 5km tarred roads. Yet year in year out we produce more than hundred thousand tonnes of maize to feed the country. The records abound for all to see. Numbers don’t lie.
It was same for cotton production until its collapse. Officers from the Agric ministry visited the only cotton factory in the entire North (Northern, Savana, Upper East, Upper West). We were optimistic something good will come out of the visit. Well we are yet to see anything. What crime have we committed to deserve this treatment? Or indeed we are not part of Ghana as we have been told before that we are Burkinabe’s? Maybe that’s why. But then that should apply to the whole of Upper West and not just the Sisaala enclave.
Additionally, the Sisaala enclave is home to pivotal natural resources & reserves. The shea tree is an important resource. It’s fruit is edible. We also produce shea butter from the shea fruit. It is one of the best trees for charcoal production in addition to the rosewood. Both trees face extinction today because of the indiscriminate felling of these trees. It has left our vegetative cover naked and left us prone to serious weather changes that has taken a toll on the main source of livelihood of the people- farming.
We cannot even talk about natural resources without talking about Gbele reserves which is the second largest in Ghana and recognised internationally. It is sitting in the Sisaala enclave. Its contributions to protection of flora and fauna, is indispensable let alone the cover it provides for human survival, is immeasurable. It’s impact on the local & Ghanaian economy has not been fully felt because of the bad nature of roads hampering possible creation of employment opportunities and local business to visitors. The thought of the extremely bad nature of the roads will deter anyone who has the intention of visiting this area.
As for the opportunities in tourism that has been killed as a result of the intentional neglect and bad nature of roads and possible economic contributions to the local, regional & national economy, the least said about it the better. Our cries have always fallen on death ears. But we have stopped crying. There are as many tourist sites in the Sisaala area alone as there are in any major tourist Region in Ghana. We can talk about Gbele natural reserves to Gwollu slave defence walls to slave markets to hiking and camping sites. The list is endless. But for the roads, the Sisaala area could have done so much more.
The Sisaala area is a strategically positioned entrėpot. It is the easiest route from the Brong & Ahafo Regions through the Northern Region through Savana to the Burkina Faso by land. The volume of Trade that goes through this area is immeasurable but the extremely bad nature of the roads have deterred alot of traders and forced them to use long routes at higher cost over longer periods of time. The Burkinabe’s have fixed their roads to the point that meets Ghana and left it for the Ghanaian government to also fix the remaining part of the road on the Tumu- Leo strecth connecting Burkina Faso to Ghana which would have improved travel (transportation)and facilitated trade. Has Ghana fixed its part of the road? Your guess is as good as mine.
In terms of land mass, the Sisaala area occupies 2/3rds of the Upper West Region and does most of the agricultural heavy lifting.
Part of the blame goes to our leaders (political, tradional & opinion leaders). Those who have been at the fore front of the affairs of the Sisaala area. Those who have been quiet for far too long. Maybe because most of our leaders including tradional & CSO’s and opinion leaders have become political and cannot speak to issues. Regardless, we have seen a renewed sense of responsibility, commitment & objectivity in fighting for the development of the Sisaala area.
The youth must also take the blame squarely. As much as we are enlightened, we have fallen short of the objectivity, integrity & moral uprightness that characterises that age bracket and have fallen to partisan political gerrymandering to the detriment of our collective development. We have allowed ourselves to be used as political tools against true agents of development. It is said that the leaders are a reflection of who a people are. It is high time we encouraged ourselves and our leaders to be upright in the demand for development.
As much as we commend our leaders for putting up a great fight in regard of the consistent, intentional treatment of the Sisaala enclave, we encourage them to not allow themselves to succumb to the whims and caprices of any politician. We remind them that as much as they have our full support, they are under the scrutiny and watchful eyes of the youth whose actions, reactions & inactions will be determined by the outcome of the resolution in their several meetings to resolve this injustice especially the one which will take place on Wednesday, 2nd June, 2021.
We are ready to take our pound of flesh.
Long live Ghana
Long live the Sisaala land.
Long live the Chiefs & people ofbthe Sisaala land.
For God and country.
Chief Bukari Kuoru.