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General News of Friday, 29 February 2008

Source: GNA

Confusion delays inauguration of Municipality

Accra, Feb. 29, GNA - It took the timely intervention of Sheikh I. C Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister on Friday to avert a clash between aggrieved people of Gbawe and other members of the Ga West District Assembly over whether the newly created Municipality should be named after Weija.

The protestors wearing red bands holding placards stormed the venue for the inauguration ceremony at Weija to demand for a neutral name. The people of Gbawe wanted the Municipality to be called Ga South for the instead of Weija.

The Minister together with Mr Busby Quartey- Papafio, District Chief Executive (DCE) had to consult the Gbawe clan heads and agreed to change the proposed Weija to Ga South and adopt Gbawe as Municipal capital.

At the Gbawe Palace, Nii Adam Kwartei Quartey, Head of Gbawe Kwatei family told newsmen their request was fair because they did not understand why Weija which was under the traditional jurisdiction of Gbawe should be rather given the credit.

Sheikh Quaye identified inadequate consultation between the Assembly and people of the area as contributing to the misunderstanding. He said although the change of name could have some administrative effects, so far, as peace was at stake, the option was better enough. However, after that declaration, other aggrieved parties in favour of the Weija also began their protest, but the Police was quick to intervene to avoid a clash between the Gbawe and Weija protestors, before the inaugural ceremony proceeded.

At the joint ceremony which saw both Ga West Municipal and the now Ga South Municipal inaugurated, Sheikh Quaye called for tolerance among all factions to enable the area to benefit from opportunities that came with attaining a municipal status.

He mentioned social amenities and improved standard of living as some of the important benefits associated with a municipality. President John Agyekum Kufuor, in a speech read on his behalf said government's decision to create more districts would give meaning to effective decentralization as a tool for good governance and accelerated development.

He noted that social programmes such as the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, National Health Insurance Scheme, the School Feeding Programme were all being implemented with the active involvement of assemblies and therefore government would not relent in efforts to support them.

He mentioned the District Development Fund, the Local Government Service and the Functional Organization Assessment Tool by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment as some measures in place to enhance performance standards of assemblies. President Kufuor challenged the municipals to develop appropriate infrastructure and level of service required by the people and become a hub of economic activities.

"Therefore you must cherish inclusiveness, consultation with stakeholders, regular communication and transparency", he added. Mr Quarety-Papafio said with a population of over 531,000 spreading over 1,000 communities and nine area councils, Ga West became difficult to manage, hence the elevation of its status to a municipality.

He said since the creation of Ga West in 2001, the district had committed over one billion Ghana cedis for projects, adding that 44.19 per cent of the amount was spent on education, 13. 96 per cent went into road construction and 8.78 on water provision.

The DCE said huge investment in education yielded positive results and hinted that the district was first in the 2007 Basic education Certificate Examination (BECE) in the Greater Accra region. He expressed gratitude to all who contributed to the creation of the municipalities and urged them to further continue to support them in their development efforts.

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