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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

W/R chiefs clash with Prez, Minister...Over Chronicle publication, insist story was correct

By Alfred Adams Sekondi - Ghanaian Chronicle

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Yesterday was history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. - By: anony
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Attempts by the President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Awulea Atribrukusu III, to deny last Friday's publication by The Chronicle that some Western region chiefs had declared war on President Mills' failure to appoint Dr. Sipa Yankey's successor from the region, met stiff opposition from some of the chiefs, led by Awulae Agyefi Kwame, the paramount chief of the Nsei Traditional area, when the 22 paramount chiefs in the region met in Sekondi.

Whilst addressing the house, the regional Minister, Hon. Paul Evans Aidoo, chided the paramount chiefs for openly scolding President Mills for failing to appoint a Minister from the region to replace Dr. Sipa-Adjah Yankey, who resigned from government over the Mabey and Johnson bribery scandal.

The regional Minister told the chiefs that President Mills has the prerogative to appoint anyone he deems fit to work with, and that the Health Ministry was not a preserve for indigenes of the Western region.

Hon. Evans Aidoo further told the chiefs that they should have met the President in camera, to discuss such a sensitive issue, rather than in public, as they did. The Minister added “what you have done may go against us (Western region) politically”.

Some few minutes after the Minister's criticism, Awulae Attibrukusu, the President of the House and a Board member of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), told the former that the House had distanced itself from The Chronicle publication. Awulae Attribrukusu, who had earlier justified the position taken by some members of the house over the issue, when The Chronicle sought his views, claimed that the story could not be true and that he was misquoted by the paper.

The outright denial of the story attracted the fury of Awulae Agyefi Kwame, who is noted for his honesty and courage. He told the House that it would be wrong to dismiss The Chronicle story. He argued that apart from the story's rider that accompanied the headline, which stated that the house would be meeting that day (last Friday) to discuss the issue, there was nothing wrong with the story. “We should be careful not to betray our children”, referring to Journalists.

The position taken on the matter by the Nsein paramount chief did not go down well with Awulae Attribrukusu, who attempted to stop the former from speaking on the subject in the presence of the regional Minister.

The President of the House claimed they have agreed to meet in camera to discuss and take a final decision on the matter, and did not see the reason why his colleagues were belaboring on the issue in public.

Awualae Agyefi Kwame, would however not be intimidated by the threats of the President of the House and Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, Omanhene of Sefwi Bekwai traditional area to stop him from justifying the authenticity of The Chronicle story.

He recounted how the region has contributed to the development of the nation, but has been marginalized by various governments of the country. As a result, he argued that it was important to prompt the President about the mistake he has committed for denying the region an opportunity to be represented in cabinet.

Touching on the suggestion that President Mills has the right to appoint a Minister of his own choice, Awuale Agyefi Kwame noted – “I do not agree with him, and I have the right to suggest that”.

Earlier, the Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo condemned chiefs who have sold lands in areas where oil has been found. The Minister told the chiefs that “I would like you to note that it is within government's development plan to compulsorily acquire lands near the oil-fields.

When this happens, all chiefs who have made unapproved sales of lands in their traditional areas, may be compelled to refund the money”.

Meanwhile, the Regional House of Chiefs is expected to hold a news conference in Sekondi today (Monday), to state their official position on the non representation of the region in the Mills cabinet.
Source: Alfred Adams Sekondi - Ghanaian Chronicle

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