Executive Director of policy think tank Development Challenge and failed Ayawaso East NDC MP Aspirant, Alhaji Haruna Rashid Ibrahim, has warned that the ruling party risk losing its grip on the Zongo communities if the party does not take immediate steps to reconnect with the people of the hundreds of Zongos dotted across the country.
According to Alhaji Haruna, the present state of the various Zongos in the country is not befitting of a community that has contributed immensely to the success of the NDC in elections since the start of multiparty democracy in 1992.
In an interview with The aL-hAJJ at Nima over the weekend, Alhaji Haruna Rashid Ibrahim, who contested the East Ayawaso primaries of the NDC but lost to the incumbent MP, Naser Mahama Toure, said the leadership of the ruling party must “wakeup” and begin to “pay particular attention to the issues in the various Zongos.”
“Things are not easy as they think…we cannot continue to live with this erroneous believe that the Zongos will always vote for the NDC in any election so even if we don’t attend to their needs, they will still vote for us. The NPP is making great inroads into our Zongo communities and if care is not taken, they (NPP) may take us by surprise in 2016”, he observed.
Cataloging the challenges bedeviling the Zongo communities, Alhaji Haruna Rashid Ibrahim noted that a recent research conducted by Development Challenge “identified 360 major Zongos across the country and in all these communities, the issue of unemployment, lack of opportunity for women and lack of educational opportunities for the youth is very rampant.”
The failed parliamentary candidate aspirant observed that “if we (NDC) fail to address these challenges facing our people, what will happen is that they will lose faith in us and that can cost us the 2016 elections. The NPP is seriously working to snatch the Zongos from us… they have added their NASARA club to their national executive setup. That should tell you that they mean business.”
Further compounding the problems in the Zongos which, according to Alhaji Haruna, if not properly managed could spell doom for the party, is the outcome of the November 21 nationwide parliamentary primaries, saying “there are lots of people harboring pain as a result of the just ended primaries because the election did not go the way they expected. The election was fraught with a lot of irregularities and issues that people are still struggling to find answers to.”
“So if you tie what is happening in the Zongos as a result of the outcome of the primaries with the already existing difficulties in the Zongos, the NDC would have to re-strategize on how it tackles the Zongos. As I said the Zongos have voted en-bloc for the NDC since 1992 but if you measure the quantum of votes we (Zongos) have contributed to the NDC and compare that to the opportunities the NDC has given us, you will conclude that the NDC has not been fair to us,” he noted.
The Executive Director of Development Challenge stated that gone are the days “when people say the Zongos don’t have educated people or enlightened men. Now we have well educated people across the country. It is time we are given recognition and also given our due for contributing we have made over the years to the electoral fortunes of the NDC.”
“The people in the Zongos cannot continue like this, the rice, sugar, milo, milk and other essentials given them every Ramadan season is not what they require… The people want economic empowerment and opportunities so that they can attend to some of their basic needs,” Alhaji Haruna Rashid Ibrahim stressed.