Saturday, August 8, 2009
Ga Mantse Spits Fire At Mills
The battle-line has been drawn between the Ga Mantse, Nii Tackie Tawiah II, and government over the forthcoming Homowo, as the traditional ruler yesterday fired salvos at the National Security apparatus and the Regional Minister for dictating to the Gas how to celebrate the annual festival.
He warned: "Let them leave us alone!" He was incisive, robust and articulate when he addressed the press yesterday at his palace in Accra in reaction to the Greater Accra Regional Security Council’s announced restrictions on the forthcoming Homowo festival, the highlight of which is the sprinkling of "kpoikpoi" or maize flour mixed with palm oil.
The Ga Mantse, who recently returned from a trip to the United Kingdom, said by the closure of the Ga traditional stool house at Sempe on Tuesday night by the security agencies who ordered the elders occupying the place to vacate it, "they have exceeded the threshold of abuse and should check themselves". He added: "It was with heavy hearts that we heard Gbevlo-Lartey asking certain persons to carry out certain actions against the Gbese stool."
He took issue with President John Evans Atta Mills for not even acknowledging a correspondence from his end when the Number One Citizen assumed the highest office of the country, adding, "If the President does not know that we are here, let him know that we are here and have nowhere else to go." President Mills, he noted, had visited a number of traditional rulers in the country during his campaign but decided not to visit his palace.
"His campaign took him to all traditional places but he chose not to come here. We do not begrudge him. As a father of the nation, we find it strange that the President does not find it desirable to meet us," he said.
Nii Ga did not spare other government officials such as the Greater Regional Minister, Interior Minister, Local Government Minister and others who have something to do with chiefs, noting, "They have not found it desirable to meet with us. Perhaps, they are emulating the President". The Mayor of Accra, he disclosed, only called on him some four days ago, stressing, "This is a mutation, perhaps an exception."
"We feel we are being taken for granted. Certain actions by the Regional Minister are provocative."
Dismissing as untenable the position by the authorities that their action is informed by a looming chaos, he pointed at the hitch-free performance of rituals pertaining to his stool for the past three years.
"For the past three years, I have performed rituals in the stool house every Sunday that I have been in town. I cannot recall the BNI or any other security agency attesting that there have been any case of violence recorded in those times," he said.
Speaking extempore, he appeared to have disappointed journalists who expected to receive printouts of his address and therefore did not take adequate notes as he spoke.
Turning the heat on the Regional Coordinating Director at the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council, Mr. Fats Nartey, who signed the correspondence putting the brakes on aspects of the forthcoming Homowo, he observed:
"We have been recipients of the butt of a violation when Mr. Fats Nartey stated that we have no right to perform the rites in the stool house, with the police being sent there to remove the persons at the place". He took exception to a description of some persons as "malcontents" as contained in the correspondence from the Regional Coordinating Council, adding that the actions being taken by government on the forthcoming Homowo is strange and provocative.
The decisions, as announced by the Regional Coordinating Council on behalf of the Regional Security Council, he noted, were informed by the advice from people he considers adversaries of the Ga stool. These persons, he said, are in contempt, especially since the Ga Traditional Council has spelt out who is who in the hierarchy.
One of such persons, Jonathan Tackie, he said, claims to be Nii Akropong, describing him as a fraud. "He is a twin brother of the MP who parades himself as a stool father; he too is a fraudster. This is the assortment of persons who the Regional Minister associates with and therefore concludes that the Homowo be truncated," he said. The Ga Mantse expressed surprise at the unfolding developments in Ga and noted that "we all know that the President lives by the rule of law and therefore when illegalities occur, all sides should be invited before conclusions are drawn."
The Chief Director, Mr. Fats Nartey, whom he said has been in the Regional Coordinating Council for long, should have known better by avoiding the blunders he has committed with regard to directing Gas as to how to celebrate Homowo. He advised Fats Nartey to learn to address issues properly, pointing out that "the Regional Minister ought to know that government has no business in chieftaincy just as we have no business in politics. Let them leave us alone."
He threatened to relinquish the traditional rituals pertaining to the Homowo to government to perform, saying they must also take responsibility for transgressing the customs of the Gas and the repercussion for such a violation. He tasked the Regional Minister to tell the Gas what he has done for the people of Ga Mashie since he came to power, adding that he on his part has organized a number of programmes such as outreach health campaign for the people among others.
"My hands are clean. Your actions will bring you your rewards. I do not curse. I pray for progress," he said to draw the curtain down on the encounter with the media, leaving his guests panting for breath over the speed and content of the delivery. Since his enstoolment as Ga Mantse, some persons have challenged the authority of the traditional ruler to hold himself as such.
The issue was however put to rest when a ruling by the Judicial Committee of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, sitting at Dodowa on 18th July 2008, debunked their position saying, "We hold that King Tackie Tawiah III cannot be restrained from carrying himself out as Chief. He cannot be prevented/restrained from performing customary rites that go with his office as Ga Mantse. We are also unable to restrain the Ga Traditional Council from inducting him into that Council as a member".
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