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Part 2 of Protest Against Neglect of the North Set for July 18

2007-07-16 19:44:14
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The Northern Patriots in Research & Advocacy (NORPRA), a pressure group has warned that Ghana will fail to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a middle-income status unless regional inequalities and socio-economic imbalances are tackled.

"Our quest to attain the MDGs and become a middle-income country by 2015 will undoubtedly be a mirage if these regional inequalities and imbalances in the country's socio-economic development are not addressed now," said the NORPRA.

The group issued the caveat in a statement announcing part 2 of its peaceful protests against discrimination and marginalization of northern Ghana.

Messrs Adongo Bismark Ayorogo and Konnuba Joseph, President and Secretary respectively jointly signed the statement, which announced Wa, the capital of the Upper West Region as the venue for the Wednesday July 18 2007 protest.

"The objective of this protest is to inform the government that protest of this nature will cease as soon as the President and his executive arm of government start implementing policies and programmes that cement our nation rather than divide it into a privileged south and a marginalized north.

"The second objective of the protest is to use the Upper West Regional Minister as yet another channel to remind the government of our previous petition."

NORPRA observed that it is very clear that under the present New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, there has been a greater intensity of marginalization of the three northern regions. It argued that it is very obvious that presently northern Ghana has very minimal influence in the distribution of national resources, such as advocated under Article 36(2d) of the 1992 Constitution.

Secondly, NORPRA stated that the marginalization of northern Ghana has become so well known worldwide, and cited a statement of knowledge of the practice issued by the office of the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair to support its claim.

The statement also blamed the impending peaceful protest on the government's failure to respond to the group's petition presented on the 14th December 2006.

In the said petition, NORPRA entreated the government to take appropriate measures to reverse a number of policies that did not favour the three regions. The group was against denying the entire three northern regions of the President's Special Initiative (PSI) and excluding the two upper regions from the disbursement of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) fund.

It also could not come to terms with the failure of government to allocate state resources in accordance with the formula of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) document. Particularly, the government's failure to implement the GPRS requirement of providing free school clothing and meals for all basic school children in the 3 northern regions.

The group has also faulted government over its inability to disburse the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) in accordance with Article 252 of the 1992 Constitution between 2001 and 2003.

Concluding, NORPRA said, "As long as this problem persists, we shall not hesitate in urging all patriots, the clergy, civil society organizations and advocates of transparency and accountability in democratic governance to advise the government to pay all arrears accrued to all the assemblies in the country within the period stated for these payments to be made."


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