The Zabzugu District, formerly called Zabzugu-Tatale District is one of the 16 Districts in the Northern Region. The district was carved out of the former East Dagomba District (Yendi) in 1988 by PNDC Law 207, (Act 462), and in 2012 the district became one of the newly created districts due to the carving out of Tatale/Sanguli District with LI 2053.
It is one of the eastern corridor districts in the Northern Region of Ghana, with Zabzugu as the district capital. As a district we enjoin by central government and the NDPC to prepare MTDP every 4 years to guide the development of the district in line with government Agenda or framework. This plan will spans from 2018-2021. It includes activities in the education, health, environment, water and sanitation, secuirity. The plan is guided by the outcome of 2014-2017 MTDP, community action plans(CAPs), departmental plans, sustainable development goals.
The Zabzugu District is located in the eastern part of the Northern Region and covers an area of 1,100.1sqKm2. It shares boundaries with Tatale/Sanguli District to the east and North, Yendi Municipality and Mion District to the west and Nanumba North and Nanumba south Districts to the south. The distance from the district capital, Zabzugu to the northern regional capital, Tamale, is about 140km and to Accra, the national capital is about 400km.
The Mean rainfall for the district is (April- October.) 1,150 mm. the dry season which experience little or no rainfall, starts from November to March . Mean annual deficit is between 500 mm and 600 mm. Rainfall is seasonal and unreliable. Temperature ranges between 210C- 36 0C giving rise to high temperature ranges.
The long period of dry season (November-march) affects all year farming activities in the District, hence, impacting negatively on productivity, food security, economic and the general wellbeing of the people.
Soils in the district are generally sandy loam with alluvial deposits in the low lands. It is a very rich soil, which results in the growth of yam, cassava, maize, groundnuts, millet, sorghum, rice and other crops. The vegetation of the district is guinea savannah, though some areas in the southern part fall within the transitional zone.
Economic trees such as Dawadawa, Shea, Teak, Kapok/silk cotton and Mango are found. There are also tall grasses, shrubs, and thorny trees. Bush burning is rampant in the district. Another activity that affects vegetation in the district is illegal lumbering especially in the Kworli area.
The rich soils and the availability of grasses within the area enhance livestock production in the district .The soil also enhances the commercial production of root and tubers, cereals, legumes, and plantation crops like mangoes, cashew, teak.
The district has one large water body thus, the River Oti that flows through the district. The river also have a number of tributaries like takpa, kulani . Over 15 settlements are along the river Oti which mostly engage in fishing activities. A number of streams, dugouts, valleys and hills are also found at various locations in the district, as components of the natural environment.
The activities of bad farming practices (burning and felling of trees) along the river have eroded the amount of vegetation along the river resulting in reduction of the volume of water in the river.Also, bad fishing practices such as light fishing, use of unapproved fishing nets and use of chemicals in fishing has negatively reduced the fish stock in the river.
The availability of these water bodies serve as basis for investment in fish farming, irrigation development and source of water for livestock. Also, Sand winning along river Oti could serve as a good source of revenue for the district.
The Zabzugu District Assembly is made up of 24 Assembly members comprising 15 elected and 7 government appointees, District Chief Executive and a Member of Parliament. Out of the 24 assembly members, only two (2) are women and they are appointed members. The district has only one electoral constituency and therefore only one Member of Parliament.
The Zabzugu District Assembly in consonance with the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) is composed of the District Chief Executive who is appointed by Government and approved by 2/3 majority of the members of the Assembly, a member of parliament for the Zabzugu constituency. The District Chief Executive is both the administrative and political head of the District. The general Assembly is made up of 15 elected members elected from the 15 electoral areas through universal adult suffrage and the remaining 7 are appointed by government in consultation with the Traditional Authority and other interested groups. The District Chief Executive and the member of parliament of the Zabzugu constituency are also members of the general assembly.
However, the member of parliament has no voting right. The Presiding Member is the head of the Assembly and presides over all meetings of the Assembly. The Assembly has 1 Area Council(kworli town council) and 1 Urban Council(Zabzugu town council).
The general Assembly performs deliberative and legislative functions and takes decisions for implementation by management of the Assembly.
There are 15 unit committees with a membership of 5 in each. These unit committees take decisions at the community level for the consideration of the area councils and the General Assembly.
The District Assembly has District Security Council (DISEC) chaired by the DCE. The main role of this body is to ensure that at every point in time there is adequate security in the district to ensure proper development. The Security committees at times invite potential conflict groups to meet and resolve issues through dialog.
The existence of DISEC has put measures in place to resolve conflicts amicably in communities to ensure that conflicts do not hinder the development efforts of the district The lack of adequate skilled personnel and logistics for the decentralized departments and the DPCU will have serious repercussion on the Assembly’s capacity to implement, monitor and evaluate the MTDP and undertake further participatory development planning. The DPCU therefore need to be expanded and adequately resourced to effectively execute its mandate on be Administratively only seven out of the stipulated eleven decentralized departments are operational in the District and these are:
- Education, Youth and Sports,
- Social Welfare and Community Development,
- Central Administration,
- Agriculture and,
- Disaster Prevention and Management
Vocational training programme started in the District and sensitization on the dangers of Kayayee led to reduction in out migration and increases in in-migration. The vocational centre is presently offering only dress making and weaving. Support is therefore required for other training programmes to be brought on board and also for satellite centres to be opened in the District.
For the ease of administration, the Zabzugu District has been zoned into two Area Councils with 15 electoral areas. The District Chief Executive is the Chief Executive Officer of the Assembly with both administrative and political responsibilities. The District Coordinating Director is the Head of Administration of the Assembly. Only seven out of the stipulated 11 decentralized departments are operational in the district. These departments are: central administration, finance, education youth and sports, community development and social welfare, district health directorate, agricultural and disaster prevention and management departments.
The population of the Zabzugu District, according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, is 63,815 representing 2.6 percent of the region’s population. Males constitute 49.1 percent and females represent 50.9 percent. The proportion of the population living in rural localities (68%) is higher than that living in rural localities (32%) of the district’s population. The district has a sex ratio of 96.3.
The population of the district is youthful (46.5% of the population is below 15 years) depicting a broad base population pyramid which tapers off with a small number of elderly persons (60 years and older) representing 5.3 percent. The total age dependency ratio for the district is 100.2, the age dependency ratio for rural localities is higher (109.3) than that of urban localities (83.1).