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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Sunyani Paramount Chief cannot scapegoat Regional Minister-Designate

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. English Department, SUNY-Nassau Garden City, New York January 28, 2017 E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

Let’s get this point right. While, indeed, Sunyani is globally recognized as the capital of the Brong-Ahafo Region, nevertheless, it goes without saying that the Omanhene of Sunyani is not either the oldest, most influential and/or the most powerful in the region, any more than the Ga-Mantse is the most significant monarch of Ghana. In a practical sense, we have President Kwame Nkrumah to thank for the overweening arrogance of the Sunyanihene. I will not get into any further details in this present column. Not just yet, at least. Still, it must be pointedly observed that what the Sunyanimanhene, Nana Bosoma Aso Nkrawiri, did by declaring his support publicly for former President John Dramani Mahama, in the lead-up to the 2016 general election, amounted to a gross contravention of Ghana’s 1992 Republican Constitution. He also flagrantly alienated at least half of the electorate of the Sunyani municipality, and with it the respect of at least half of his subjects and citizens.

Indeed, attempting to use his position as a Paramount Chief to pretend as if he did nothing wrong, and could do no wrong, could not be at once more presumptuous and preposterous (See “We’re Not for Withdrawal of BA Regional Minister Nominee – Sunyani Chiefs” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 1/27/17). Mr. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister-Designate, ought to actually be commended for letting Nana Bosoma Aso Nkrawiri fully appreciate the fact that the days of monarchical and feudalist intimidation and the bullying of citizens and subject who were much aware of their rights, self-worth and dignity are well behind the times. After all, wasn’t Mr. Asomah-Cheremeh merely speaking truth to power, when the then-Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party apprised the Omanhene of the fact that he had “stooped to the lowest level to call on residents of the region to endorse the presidency of Mr. Mahama”?

That also amounted to grossly disrespecting the other far more influential chiefs of the region who did not either openly or privately support the presidency of Mr. Mahama. Or did the Sunyanimanhene suppose himself and the members of the Sunyani Traditional Council to be wiser and more important than the other Amanhene or Paramount Chiefs of Brong-Ahafo? Then also, if he wanted to amicably settle his differences with the regional leaders of the New Patriotic Party, then in opposition, the proper and most respectful approach would have been for Nana Bosoma Aso Nkrawiri to have dispatched a delegation to the New Patriotic Party’s Headquarters to intercede on his behalf, and then laid the ground for a more lasting reparative solution to whatever differences the two parties may have had.

Needless to say, it is because the pro-National Democratic Congress members of the Sunyani Traditional Council fully recognize the fact that they have absolutely no power to scuttle the very legitimate appointment of Mr. Asomah-Cheremeh, that they have mischievously resorted to the rearguard tactic of passive resistance by claiming deviously that they have absolutely no qualms about Mr. Asomah-Cheremeh’s appointment, although they do not intend to cooperate with the Minister in the smooth-running of affairs in the Sunyani municipality. If they want a referendum to be conducted on the possibility of having the Brong-Ahafo capital relocated to a more hospitable traditional area, by all means, nothing prevents the Sunyanimanhene and his cabinet of sub-chiefs and associates from floating such a proposal. But even more importantly, these local chieftains also need to be reminded that Ghana is a constitutional democracy, not a military dictatorship.

Besides, just because their presidential candidate of choice was roundly defeated in the 2016 presidential election, does not authorize these monarchical malcontents to think and believe that they can make life unpleasant for citizens and residents who do not share their political orientation and/or ideology. The logical question to ask here is this: Had President Mahama won the election, would Nana Bosoma Aso Nkrawiri be faulting President Akufo-Addo for deliberately affronting their wishes and desires? Indeed, the members of the Sunyani Traditional Council would be making a great mistake, if they think that they can bait President Akufo-Addo into descending to the base level of their petty-minded rascality. Akufo-Addo is also descended from a monarchy whose occupants have distinguished themselves, for the most part, and done more to defend and preserve the values of the chieftaincy institution than any of the present members of the Sunyani Tradidional Council can imagine.

Perhaps Nana Bosoma Aso Nkrawiri and his councilors and associates need to study the history of the foundation of the present-day National House of Chiefs before cavalierly presuming to impugn the cultural and moral sensibilities of President Akufo-Addo. Let me also take this prime opportunity to advise Nana Akufo-Addo to refer this matter to both the Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs as well as the Ghana National House of Chiefs for an amicable and constructive settlement. He should also sedulously keep his eyes on the crystal ball of the country’s dire need for rapid, massive and meaningful economic and material development.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

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