Mayor of Tamale, Mr. Musah Superior is facing growing internal pressure and intense criticism over plans to eject hundreds of people occupying the depleted forest reserve in the Northern regional capital.
The Mayor announced that from the 2nd of October, 2017, he would sanction a military operation in and along the forest reserve in the Metropolis to drive out all illegal occupants.
Nearly a thousand of unemployed youth of the metropolis are thought to be occupying the forest reserve which originally occupied about 138.64 hectares and snaked through four communities in the city.
Party executives in the region have been desperately struggling without success to maintain a stable youth base who have been the target of the mayor’s ruthless and hasty operations since taking office early this year.
While still struggling to manage a failing decongestion exercise and haven’t been able to implement a single policy that would provide jobs to the jobless the youth, party executives are increasingly venting their frustration and worry publicly about the political consequences of the operations.
Already tensions are mounting as security forces stepped up a crackdown targeting tricycle drivers and petty street hawkers. Scores of tricycle riders have been arrested for various offences since an operation to sanitize the road begun.
Several market women and petty hawkers operating in the Central Business District have been forced out of business after they were constantly harassed by armed soldiers unleash the the mayor who provided no viable alternative for the traders.
Some hawkers particularly those on the Aboabo enclave are taking over the road again and the streets getting increasingly chaotic despite the regular presence of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly’s Taskforce who have repeatedly been accused of extortions and corruption.
The mayor has also issued sweeping restrictions on movement of minors vowing to order military and the police arrest and haul before a juvenile court parents of children found wandering on streets beyond 10pm.
The decision to evict the youth groups from the forest have been met with mixed reactions with some executives of the New Patriotic Party condemning and describing it as another hasty policy rollout and political misstep.
The forest has become a home to hundreds of residents from different social experiences. Wooden structures and tents are indiscriminately erected and all kind of activities booming in the forest.
Kasapa News sources said since the Mayor issued the ultimatum two weeks ago, several meetings to get him rescind have not been successfully forcing some authorities to fire furious responses.
The latest to denounce the operation is NPP youth chairman in Moshie Zongo, Kanzulahi Layafna who said the Mayor does not act with deliberation and prudence.
The youth chairman believes the operation will adversely affect the fortunes of the party and urged the mayor to hold it in abeyance. He said the NPP received massive support from the forest dwellers during the last elections and the move now to flush them out is “a threat to the NPP Party”.
“I don’t support it because many of our votes come from the forest- I witnessed it myself. I went and meet the smokers several occasion and they accepted that they would vote for NPP. So if Mayor decides to sack them, to me, I will tell NPP that maybe Nana Addo only want four years because if I’m not mistaking, those in the forest are more than thousand in number. People that you never see, five years back; if you go to forest you would see him.”
The youth chairman grew more emotional along the line and suddenly descended into personal mudslinging thrashing the mayor as “arrogant” and said he would support a demonstration to protest against the operation.
“The reason why we are to demonstrate is that, he is looking down upon our party elders, executives, chairmen. Can you imagine that Alhaji Ofa (Council of elders, member) at Aboabo send to call Superior five times and he refused. God didn’t say we should use force to correct each other but because of his arrogance he claims himself that nobody has voted him for as Mayor and that Nana Addo appointed him to that position.”