The Chief and people of Kandiga in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region have declared not to avail themselves to be counted in the 2021 Population and Housing Census, a national exercise which is currently underway in all corners of the country.
Leadership of the area said their decision to boycott the enumeration exercise emanates from some irregularities it has observed in the demarcation and description of the boundaries of Kandiga.
According to the leadership, the appearance of the name Akurugu-Daboo as enumeration area for the Akunkongo/Abempingo and Atosale/Azaasi electoral areas, was wrong and in contempt of a court judgement which approved the two electoral areas as the rightful names for any national exercise.
Speaking at a press conference to announce their decision, Kennedy Atulley who spoke on behalf of the Area Council Chairman, said the abnormality occurred in previous censuses which authorities did not commit to rectify.
He stated that the appearance of the name Akurugu-Daboo was inappropriate, stressing that the failure on the part of authorities to make amendments was seen as an infringement of their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution and an interference on the territorial integrity of the Kandiga people.
The leadership in their statement said, “Today marks yet another significant day in the history of Kandiga our homeland where the entire Kandiga citizenry has to take a very painful decision not to participate in the ongoing Enumeration exercise in the country.
The Chief and people of Kandiga had to take this decision based on some irregularities in the demarcations and description of the boundaries of Kandiga, an issue that occurred in previous population and housing census that has brought about pain and anguish to the people of Kandiga.
First and foremost, the appearance of the name Akurugu-Daboo as Enumeration Area for the Akunkongo/Abempingo and Atosale/Azaasi Electoral Areas is in contempt of a court judgment approving and gazetting the above two Electoral Areas as the rightful names for any National exercise and not the illegal name Akurugu-Daboo which is just the name of one family out of Seven Clans in the two Electoral Areas.
Following the Automated Fast Track High Court, Accra ruling on 18th October, 2012 before His Lordship Justice Edward Amoako Asante, our lawyers (SIMA Consultancy) wrote a letter dated 16th August, 2013 to the Regional and District Heads of Departments creating their awareness about the court ruling with much emphasis on the nullification of the name Akurugu-Daboo and the use of Akunkongo/Abempingo and Atosale/Azaasi as the legally approved and gazetted names for any exercise in the area.
We therefore see the appearance of the wrong name (Akurugu-Daboo) as an infringement on our fundamental human rights and interference on the territorial integrity of our people hence must be resisted with alacrity”.
The leadership mentioned that there are also challenges at the Bembiisi and Nabilingo electoral areas where some houses including the Kassena-Nankana East Health Centre which are rightfully supposed to be captured as part of the Kandiga enclave, have been placed under Mirigu and Nabango.
They stated that the situation has brought some discomfort to inhabitants and was creating problems for them in the ongoing enumeration exercise.
The Kandiga leadership stated that efforts, including several attempts to get the Regional statistician and District census officer and other necessary stakeholders for redress have not been successful.
They assured that Kandiga did not have problems with Mirigu and Nabango as they are known brothers, but was important that proper demarcations and definition of boundaries be made to avert sparking boundary disputes in the future.
The chief and people of Kandiga also demanded the restoration of two of its ten electoral areas which they allege have been placed under the Kassena-Nankana Municipality. They demanded that the ten electoral areas be properly demarcated and put together as one census area under the Kandiga Traditional Area.
“Apart from the above issue, we also have some challenges in the Bembiisi and Nabilingo Electoral Areas that equally demands redress but several attempts to get the Regional Statistician and the District Census officer in Paga and other necessary stakeholders to address the matter proved futile.
In these two Electoral areas, some of the Kandiga houses and the Kassena Nankana East Health Centre are captured under Mirigu and Nabango making the affected inhabitants uncomfortable to participate in the enumeration exercise.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we wish to put it on record that Kandiga has no problem with our neighbouring communities (Mirigu and Nabango).
Historically, we are known brothers under one Traditional Council but with proper demarcation and definition of the boundaries of each of the three neighbouring communities. Therefore, the carving of some houses from one community into another has the potentialities of sparkling boundary disputes which the people of Kandiga are never interested to experience any longer.
We want to categorically state that we prefer not being counted until the issues are resolved than take part in the exercise at any cost be it catastrophic or not. We have learnt a lot of lessons from past experiences and will not want to be used again in this recent significant National exercise at our own expense.
At this stage, it is prudent to notify the general public that the Chief and people of Kandiga in our own wisdom decided to write petitions on both cases addressed to the Regional Statistician and copied the Government Statistician, the Kassena/Nankana Municipal Census Officer in Navrongo and that of the Kassena/Nankana West District Census Officer in Paga but have since not yet received any response from the Regional Statistician”.
Efforts by Our Correspondent in the Upper East Region, Senyalah Castro, to get the Regional Statistician to respond to the concerns of the Chief and people of Kandiga were unsuccessful.
Source: Senyalah Castro, Contributor