Rumours on the Sale of the Surviving Parks in Tamale
I was born in an area where the present day Tamale evolved. Specifically, I was in a suburb called Dagban Dabi Fong or Bugulana Fong, literally translated as ‘the suburb of Dagomba men’ in the case of the former or ‘the suburb of the Chief Priest’ in the case of the latter. I lived in this area till age 12 when we moved to Zogbeli.
Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, our parents were always busy in their farms or in the market to take care of basic needs. Well, while our parents were busy trying to make earns meat for their families, we the kids had all the freedom in the world to explore Tamale Central and its environs. That was how some of us discovered parks and gardens in Tamale. I can only remember two parks and Gardens in Tamale. There was one opposite the Police Park in Tamale and there was another on the water works road. I stand to be corrected if there are more parks unaccounted for in this write up.
The history of parks and gardens dates back to the 1980’s, specifically, 1988. Currently, the department of parks and gardens is under the Ministry of Local Government. I am sure the spirit behind the creation of parks and gardens in Ghana is not different from those of the developed world. It is basically to advance the welfare of citizens or what I will call planning or development with people in mind.
Everywhere in the world, a park is supposed to be ‘an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation or the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. For the purpose of this write up, I limit the definition parks to ‘an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation’. Many of these parks have fields for playing sports (football, basketball, volley ball etc.). Some parks even have trails for walking, biking and other activities. Unfortunately, in Ghana when we hear of parks and gardens, what comes to mind is where trees and flowers are nurtured for sales. Oh yeah, it is sad but that is the stark reality. Parks and gardens are not meant for the relaxation and recreation of people.
Why I am boring you with this long write up? Let’s go straight to the substantive issue.
Well there are rumours going round Tamale that the only surviving park (I stand to be corrected) opposite the Tamale Police Park is about to be sold to a private developer. I was not just saddened about the issue that the dry park we have left in Tamale is about to be desecrated, I was more saddened about the fact that in this 21st century, we still do not plan with people in mind. We still do not consider recreation and human enjoyment as a major facet of both social and economic development.
Let’s remember it is still a rumour until proven otherwise.
With the above statement in mind, I consoled myself that the gossip could be a hoax. In the first place, if the government no longer has the need for a public land that was taken for government use, it is supposed to be returned back to the original land owners. So, I said to myself, the Mayor should know better. This thought consoled me a little but that did not really quench my thirst to get to the bottom of the matter.
So, I decided to make further enquiries from sources close to the mayor. Information gathered from my sources revealed that there is no such plan to lease the park in question to any private developer. According to sources, the park has been given out to SADA to construct a gallery to display the plan of Greater Tamale and Sagnerigu.
I hope the latter explanation is true and that there is really no such intention to cede the park to any private developer.
Some of us have not given up on hopes that one day our assemblies will plan with the recreation and enjoyment of people in mind.
That one day the people of Tamale will wake up to a park with water fountains and walking pavement, football parks, basketball parks, volley ball parks etc. for purposes of exercise and recreation.
That one day, Tamale will be the place where tourist will flock to just to have a glimpse of our beautiful and amazing parks.
But all these hopes will not come to pass if the rumours come to pass. I pray the Hon. Musah Superior will not want to go down in history as the mayor who commanded the sales of our last surviving parks in Tamale.
I would love the Mayor to transform that park into a beauty that makes hearts pause for minutes upon first site. If possible, I will love to see the creation of more parks under his command as Mayor of Tamale.
May our fears never come to pass.
May the rumours remain rumours.
May the Almighty God guide our Mayor to make Tamale a city of envy.
About the writer
A proud daughter of Dagbon
A proud daughter of Gukpegu
A proud daughter of the North
A proud daughter of Ghana