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General News of Sunday, 21 January 2018

Source: starrfmonline.com

Setbacks slim chances for a Gonjaland region

Regional reorganisation and development minister Dan Botwe Regional reorganisation and development minister Dan Botwe

The proposal by the Gonjaland Traditional Area for the creation of a new Gonjaland region out of the Northern Region is now facing growing obstructions as more ethnic minorities within the demarcated land continue to withdraw support and declare their exclusions.

The latest ethnic groups to declare intent to depart from the yet to the created Gonjaland region are people of Nchumuru and Nawuri in the Kpandai district, slimming the argument presented by the Gonja traditional area to the inquiry commission for a new region.

The people have appealed to the Commission to add Kpandai district to the yet to be created Oti Region from the Volta region instead of the Gonjaland.

“Our Chiefs and Elders did a very thorough consultation with all communities in the districts and it is the resolution of the people to be part of the Oti Region. Being in any of the regions to emerge from the division of the Northern Region would not be in the interest of the people neither would it augur well for an accelerated development. Counting on your esteemed sense of judgment, we say Kpandai for the Oti region and no other Region is an option,” a statement by the people disclosed.

The statement indicated that “the addition of Kpandai to the East Gonja and the Northern Territories was a historical incongruity created by the British” and declared that “the creation of the Oti Region offers the opportunity for this anomaly to be corrected.”

The Nchumurus and Nawuris cited several reasons for their decision including the relaxed territorial dispute between the Gonjas and said they were wrongly displaced by history as their way of life bore no similarity to that of any ethnic group in the entire Northern Region.

“It would be administrative [ly] more prudent to include Kpandai in the Oti Region than any region. The distance between Kpandai and Yendi, likely capital of the proposed Eastern Corridor Region is approximately 122km. For the proposed Gonjaland region, the distance from Kpandai to Damongo or Buipe is 301km and 280km respectively. This is a long distance to traverse in an area where the roads are deplorable and sometimes impassable during rainy season.

“Comparatively, Kpandai District is closer to Nkwanta, Kate- Krachi and Dambai one of which is possible capital of the Oti Region. In fact, the distance between Kpandai and Nkwanta is 112, Krachi (87km) and Dambai (68km).

“Economically, both the people of Kpandai and the proposed Oti region are farmers who mainly cultivate yam, guinea corn, maize, rice and cassava. The Dambai Market had been the centre where we sell our farm produce. Being within the same agro-ecological zone, Oti Region would provide us with the opportunity to develop strong agro base industries culminating into employment opportunities and improved livelihoods. We trade goods and services with Dambai, Nkwanta, Kpassa, and Kete Krachi and more than we do with any other part of the country. It is therefore prudent to be under one Regional Coordinating Council to help reinforce this trade ties between our towns.

“Security wise, we strongly prescribe the inclusion of the Kpandai District to the Oti Region as a natural solution to the age-long conflict between Nawuri and Nchurumu on one side and our Gonja brothers on the other side. We are a peace loving people and therefore ascribe to this suggestion as the most peaceful way of dealing with the conflict”, the statement signed by Kpandaiwura Nana Bristian Okorei Atorsah I explained.

In around 1991, conflicts broke out between the Nchumurus -Nawuris and Gonjas over allodial rights to the lands in present day Kpandai District. In that conflict, the Nchumurus Nawuris suffered massive defeat and many of their settlements were destroyed after the armed encounters. The conflict ended with a truce and has since hurt relationship with the Gonjas.

The Tampulma ethnic group occupying a significant portion of the North Gonja district in the Gonjaland has already declared intent to join neighbouring rival, the Mamprugu Region.

StarrNews sources suggest the people of North Mo in Bomboi in the Bole traditional area may also declare intent to be part of a proposed region out of Brong Ahafo.

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