IN SPITE OF the semblance of peace blowing in the Ga Dangme State, Royal succession and land issues continue to gravely affect the individual ethnic States in the GaDangme communities, relegating progressive and developmental issues to the background. And even whilst great strides and in-roads have been made by the people of La and Teshie in their quest to replace some traditional “square pegs” previously put in round holes with the appropriate pegs, the people of Ga Mashie (British Accra) have stoked the wildest chieftaincy fire of recent times concerning the succession to the Ga stool putting National security on high alert.
The Gbese Mantse, Nii Ayi Bonte, during the lifting of the ban on drumming and noise-making in Accra last Saturday, pledged to install a new Ga Mantse within two months. However, just a day after on Sunday, June 12, 2011, a new chief under the Stool name Nii Adama Latse II was installed as promised. On the third day, assigns of Nii Ayi Bonte known in private life as Tommy Okine besieged and seized the Ga Mantse palace, an act that has been described as a ‘coup’ plot.
The Gbese Mantse has persistently insisted that the Ga state had no king, dismissing the installation of Nii Tackie Tawiah III who has been acclaimed as the Ga Mantse and recognised as the chairman of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs.
Accusing the erstwhile Kufuor administration of imposing Nii Tackie Tawiah on the Ga people, the Gbese Mantse mentioned the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) , Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey , Member of Parliament for East Ayawaso, Hon Sheik I. C. Quaye and Hon. Adjiri Blankson, former Accra Mayor as responsible for the ‘problems’ in the Ga state.
As envisaged, the supposed destooled King, TackieTawiah III is heading for court and the grounds seem fertile for both parties for a long legal battle with fears of wastage of huge financial resources which would have gone a long way to develop some parts of the impoverished communities going to be spent on legal luminaries who would be counsels for both parties.
Obviously, the resultant effect on the communities is a stalled developmental agenda (if there is any) of both government and the already lagging behind in development in the GaDangme States.
Meanwhile, the Abola Quarter of Ga Mashie has condemned the installation of the new king. Speaking on behalf of the Quarter, Mr. James Lamptey, stool elder of Abola said since NIi Tackie Oblie II, another claimant of the Ga stool, is awaiting the outcome of a petition to the Regional House of Chiefs against Nii Tackie Tawiah III, there was no need to turn around to install a new chief.
“The entire exercise is a betrayal of our customs and procedures of installing a Ga chief,” he explained.
All chiefs are received at Abola Piam as a sign of legitimacy. Nii Tackie Adama Latse II was not received and therefore cannot be said to be properly enstooled,” he stated, describing last weekends event as an act of cowardice and a “camouflage”
The Asare stools who are the chiefs of Accra were not aware of any enstoolment, he confirmed.
When Wojaku contacted the Asare elders, Nii Arday Ansah-Hill, Stool Secretary and Attorney asked whether the petition on Nii Tackie Tawiah III have been resolved. He referred to the Chieftaincy Act 759 of 2008 and said an appropriate forum for destooling a chief ought to be followed.
He explained: “So far, no Asere representative has been involved in the supposed, enstoolment nor anybody from that house has been called upon to perform any duties pertaining to the enstoolment of a new chief,” he concluded.
Some good news, however, is that the people of La are on the verge of seeing the celebration of a “real” homowo festival in about a decade.
The last time the people of La celebrated homowo was in 1993. Since then, various versions of the homowo have been celebrated to keep the tradition going. Traditionally, the La State cannot celebrate its homowo festival without a substantive High Priest for their deity, the Lakpa.
In September, 2010, the Lakpa Wulomo Nii Yemotey Odoi IV, was safely destooled and removed from the Lakpa shrine after a long battle with traditional elders. Thereafter, a number of events including the installation of Wulomei for the shrines that do not have substantive priests as well as and Jaanoyei have successfully taken place.
Indications are that, the La homowo would be celebrated somewhere in September this year to seal the unification process.
The people of Teshie have also made significant inroads in their bid to install a chief for the first time in more that two decades.
Speaking to Wojaku over the weekend, a spokesperson for the Teshie Divisional Council said the Krobo quarter that is responsible for the nomination of a candidate for vetting and installation has agreed to provide one pending the burial of the late Mankralo who died three years ago and installation of a new Mankralo who would perform the rites for the installation of the new chef.
Currently, three members of the GaDangme State namely, Nungua, Tema and Ga have parallel chiefs – a situation which do not augur well for any meaningful development for its people in particular, and the GaDangme State as a whole.
On Tuesday, some fishermen of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council (GNCFC) were injured after Police fired tear gas and shots to disperse them, as they attempted to enter the Seat of Government at Osu to present a petition to President John Evans Atta Mills.
The fishermen numbering about 5,000 demonstrated from James Town to Independence Square.
As police personnel and security operatives try to prevent them from entering the Castle, a scuffle ensued with the Police firing indiscriminately injuring the four fishermen who were quickly rushed to the Police Hospital.
The GNCFC petitioned President Mills to ensure that the laws governing fishing in the country are applied.
The fisherman say they are angry about the fact that, years after the promulgation of a law which makes certain fishing practices illegal, nothing is being done by the authorities to apply the law.
Nii Aboe Kyerekwanda, a leading member of the GNCFC bemoaned the fact that practices like pair trawling still exist.