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The state of Zabzugu-Yendi road



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The Yendi-Zabzugu road in the Northern region is in a deplorable state and continues to worsen daily. The 28 miles stretch of unpaved road has been neglected by successive governments compelling the people of Zabzugu, Tatale and its surrounding communities to put their lives at risk each time they travel on the road.

Commuters on  the road described the current state of the road as a death trap and stated that persistent failure by governments to upgrade it as unfair to the people in that part of the country. They said traveling on the road was akin to  walking bare footed on sharp nails as every part of the road has become unmotorable as a result of unavoidable potholes. And in the dry seasons communities along these roads are covered with dust, they added. 

As if that is not enough, people said buses plying the road are frequently overloaded with passengers who have no other recourse.  Loading boys or station conductors from all indications, care less about the consequences, all they care about is their commissions, they lamented.

The GPRTU in the region has not been effective in enforcing laws and punishing those transport conductors who flout its laid down rules and regulations. Before the creation of the Tatale district in 2012, passengers from Zabzugu and Tatale used State-own transport(Metro Mass Transit) which was very punctual departing or arriving at its destination

Boarding this bus was also a “survival of the fittest” and “whom you know” at the station in spite its ticketing policy. Even though  the Ghana Private Transport Union of the Trade Union Congress (GPRTU of TUC) stationed buses for the people, the sprinter buses are generally not safe and one will only board it without alternative. They are indeed not road worthy. The question on the minds of commuters is how did these vehicles obtain road worthy certificates?

The state-owned transport was safe. However, the GPRTU has no customer service representative to help passengers with their problems. Those who were around to help did not. They largely ignored passengers and only hurled insults when asked to help.  For the GPRTU members who ply the deplorable roads in the northern region such as Tamale-Gushegu and Karaga road, Yendi-Zabzugu, Tamale-Salaga and Kpandai it is an opportunity for them to exploit the most vulnerable for money. 

Unlike western world where passengers have rights and can demand better services they have paid for,  Ghana's transport system, is a whole different world in which the driver, conductor and in some instances the mate are the only people who are right. 

The GPRTU members have not learnt any lesson from the State Transport Company (STC) which used to be a darling to the Ghanaian travelling public. But its poor management practices nearly caused it to collapse. Business oriented people upon realizing its inefficiency capitalize on it and have made the sector a keenly competitive one. The transport sector is vast and rich with potential for competitive markets and investments. 

Another lesson to learn in the local transport sector is the current emergence of tricycle  trotro motors which have almost pushed taxi drivers out of business in most parts of the Tamale metropolis. These taxi drivers just like any other private transport owner had all the time and chance to make things right but waited for competition to set in. The woes of these unscrupulous transport owners will continue to worsen if they don't learn to treat commuters right.

The only reliable transport companies in the early 90s were Tata and STC but Tata went out of business leaving STC to struggle with Imperial transport which uses Scania buses. V.I.P, V.V.IP, O.A GH Express and DKM are other private transportation companies, the movers and shakers, giving the STC a run for its money.

My experience  on Yendi-Zabzugu  road 
on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 I defied a heavy downpour and went to the  Tamale Metro Mass Transit Station located in Aboabu. I arrived at the station at about 5:30am to board Yendi morning bus enroute to Zabzugu. 
We took off Tamale at about 6:45am and arrived in Yendi around 10 am. My mission for going to Zabzugu was to witness the distribution of tricycles to the people in the area and I needed to arrive on time. 
Unfortunately, we left Zabzugu station in Yendi almost 1pm because the 24-seater bus had loaded over 30 of us. Inside the bus was like a mechanic workshop-metals everywhere. The seats were like a weak spring chair.  Just few meters away from Yendi municipality was the neglected  road. 
The driver knowing the nature of the road drove at 40-50 per kph. 
Passengers with height-challenge were comfortable but for the tall ones it was a hell. 
We started dancing with our necks moving to and fro as the bus was meandering through the potholes.
In about two kilometers to Sabare, our bus got stuck in one of the big potholes and everyone had to get down before the driver could try to drive out. It was a pity moment and anger written on every occupant's face in the car. Immediately we alighted, I realized there were three nursing mothers with their babies in the bus that weakened everyone's ribs. 
Grumbling and curses on politicians 
While we were getting down, the women especially the elderly ones started cursing politicians for turning their backs at them after every elections. 
They apportioned the blames on themselves and the politicians. Their share of the blame, as electorates, was that they don't vote for people who have them at heart but rather on chieftaincy and pettiness. 
Some even asked a rhetorical question whether they are voting for development or they are voting anybody.
The question was after realizing their mistakes, would they change their voting pattern? Would their anger and grief reflect in the 2016 general elections and would they gather the courage to ask any politicians who would drive V8s through the bumping roads to seek their mandate? 
If the electorate of Zabzugu, Tatale and other deplorable roads districts fail to ask the nagging questions, would the elite from the areas speak for them?
The about less-than-two hour journey now took more than  three  hours. 




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