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Feature Article of Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Columnist: Stephen Darko

Swedruhene must be invited by the police

As I glanced through the various newspapers and news websites to acquaint myself with topical issues making headlines in the country on Monday, August, 20, I could not believe my eyes when I chanced upon a caption “Swedruhene calls for mass transfer of Swedru police”.

The article, which was published by the Ghana New Agency (GNA), gave a vivid account on how the people of Swedru rallied behind the elders of the town to observe this year’s Akwambo festival, as custom and tradition demands.

In a brief description of what the festival entails; the people of Agona-Swedru in the Central Region celebrate the Akwambo festival, which literally means “path-clearing”.

During the period, the Asafo companies weed footpaths leading to the streams or rivers, farms and other communal places, as well as paths which lead to shrines.

The second day sees the whole community assemble at the ancestral shrines and the chief pours libation to the ancestral spirits to thank them for their protection during the previous year and then request for more blessing, abundant rainfall and good harvest for the ensuing year.

At the stream or riverside where some of the sacrifices are offered, alligators and other species of fish come out to enjoy the mashed yams sprinkled on the water.

The said news item, however, quoted Nana Kobina Botwe II as alleging that he has ample evidence that lots of the police officers in the traditional area were aiding and abetting criminals to undertake nefarious activities— an act he said was preventing investors and tourists from coming to the area.

Police officers and invited dignitaries who were present at the ceremony to ensure peaceful and colorful celebrations, according to the publication, were completely stunned by the chief’s assertion.

As if that was not enough, the traditional ruler is reported to have urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to, in the name of national peace and cohesion, transfer all the police officers in the community to different locations, though he failed to produce single evidence.

As a traditional watcher, I am compelled to ink my reservations about this rather unsavory and treacherous statement for the reason that the respected chief fell-short in convincing his audience, and more importantly Ghanaians by citing instances.

It is indeed sad that a person of Nana's caliber chose to cast innuendos and aspersions on the police, whereas he could have directed his grievances to the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau (PIPS)- a unit set up to receive and investigate complaints from the public about the conducts of police personnel.

Assuming without admitting that Nana's allegations were true, it is obviously not practicable for the police to transfer all of its officers in Swedru and its environs to elsewhere.

To say the least, Nana's call was misplaced and indeed outrageous, although I acknowledge that some unscrupulous personnel engage in such acts.

Without doubt, Nana would have been subjected to strict-proof his utterances or assist in investigations by security agencies, if we were living in a developed country.

It is unfortunate that authorities have stood sheepishly and allowed the chief’s sweeping statement pass without interrogation.

Though chiefs are not repository of wisdom, I believe that Nana could have done better in his delivery on that occasion, and to say the least it was a big time goof by Nana.

The Swedruhene must know that EVIDENCE is the rule of the game and it is important he align himself with that.

Moving forward, it is important that as Ghanaians we uphold the peace and tranquility we enjoy, and refrain from doing anything to destabilize it as the 2012 national election approaches, hence the need for the police to question Nana on his comments.

Present at the durbar, as reported by the GNA included Minister of Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Asum-Ahensah, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Stephen Ackah, Nana Oduro Kwarteng, Chief Director of Local government Ministry and Gyantuahene of Swedru and Agona Swedru District Police Commander, Nana Ekow Yawson.

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