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Opinions of Thursday, 2 February 2017

Columnist: Daily Guide Network

Of disgraced Sunyani chiefs and BA Regional Minister-Designate

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By:Eric Bawah

“The Dogs Bark But The Caravan Passes” – Houphouet Boigny, late President of Ivory Coast

The chiefs of Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, led by their paramount chief, Nana Aso Nkrawiri are vexations to our spirits. They seem to be habouring madness in their stomachs because all too soon, they had forgotten about what the paramount chief told Ghanaians when defeated former president John Dramani Mahama visited his palace in the heat of the 2016 electioneering campaign. Article 276 of the Constitution of Ghana pronounced unequivocally that chiefs in Ghana should not get involve in active partisan politics but Nana Aso Nkrawiri threw caution to the dogs and went down into the gutter.

He told who cared to listen that John Mahama will get 70 to 80 percent of the votes in the region. That partisan pronouncement of the paramount chief of Sunyani Traditional Area did not go down well with the NPP hierarchy in the region so the party called a press conference to denounce the pronouncement. That press conference was read by the then Regional Chairman of the party who is now the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister – designate in the person of Lawyer Asumah Kyeremeh.

After the press conference, the Sunyani Traditional Council became mad and summoned the astute lawyer to appear before them to explain why he dared the chiefs. Having practiced law for more than two decades, Lawyer Asomah Kyeremeh knew that when he appeared before the chiefs, the issue of law will not work because the chiefs work with their authority but not the law. He knew a sort of Sanhedrin court would be set up to try him so the man refused to appear before the Sanhedrin court. Nana Aso Nkrawiri, a retired teacher bided his time with the hope that when eventually candidate Mahama wins the 2016 elections, he would take his pound of flesh from the then Chairman of the NPP in the region. Then the table turned. Nana Nkrawiri’s 70 to 80 percent turned out to be the opposite because it was rather Nana Akufo Addo who won more than eighty percent of the votes in the Brong Ahafo Region. Nana Addo even won the polling station the Sunyani Omanhene went to cast his vote.

Instead of sitting in their palaces while licking their wounds, the madness in the stomachs of the Sunyani chiefs forced them to call a press conference last week to express some reservations about the nomination of Mr. Asomah Kyeremeh as the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister-designate.

According to these crest-fallen chiefs, they will not give the new minister designate the needed support should he be given parliamentary approval. Listen to Nana Bofotia Boa Amponsem, Krontihene of the Sunyani Traditional Area: “While we cannot stop him from becoming a regional Minister, what we are saying is that we cannot be part of his administration.” He continued that the doors of the council is opened for amicable settlement of an impasse that had existed between the council and Asomah Kyeremeh.

Somebody out there should tell Nana Bofotia that Sunyani Traditional Area is not synonymous to Brong Ahafo Region. In anyway, the Sunyani Traditional Council cannot determine the destiny of Mr. Asomah Kyeremeh. Whether the Sunyani Traditional Council will support the new minister – designate or not, the man will be the Regional Minister of Brong Ahafo Region and serve their subjects for the four years before us. The development that will come to Sunyani will not be meant for the chiefs of Sunyani alone but the good people of Sunyani. Mr. Asomah Kyeremeh will not be accountable to the Sunyani Traditional Council but the President of Ghana and the good people of this dear nation of ours. Nananom in the Sunyani Traditional Area can go to hell. After all, they did not vote for the NPP since their paramount chief declared victory for the NDC and John Mahama. Simply, they are not part of the success story of the NPP in the region.

Yours sincerely was hovering in the firmament when Mr. Asomah Kyeremeh made his triumphant entry into Sunyani last week. A convoy of more than two hundred cars and buses met the minister-designate at Bechem and led him triumphantly into the capital city amidst singing, drumming and dancing. Wherever they reached, people lined the streets, waving NPP flags and singing “Onappo” and Shatta Wale’s “Mahama Paper’ The welcome given to the minister-designate might have peeved the chiefs, hence Nana Bofotia’s irrelevant and bogus press conference. Nana Bofotia and his fellow chiefs in the Sunyani Traditional Area can go and burn the Atlantic Ocean because we the people who are in the majority are in full support of the gentleman and we will do everything in our power to make him succeed in order to shame the chiefs who in the first place did not wish the NPP well. If they think Mr. Asomah Kyeremeh will come and go on his knees in their palace and beg for forgiveness of a wrong he did not do they should wait until the NDC comes to power again. And that too will never happen.

It was not for nothing that the framers of our constitution inserted in the Constitution that chiefs should not take part in active partisan politics. Chieftaincy in Ghana in particular and the world in general is a revered institution. So when a chief engages in partisan politics he exposes himself to insults since people who live in his domain belong to different political parties. That is why traditionally, a chief is not allowed to play draft game because he can be insulted by his opponent during the game. In some jurisdictions, chiefs are not allowed to sit on benches and neither are they allowed to eat at ‘chop bars’. In fact, it is not for nothing that we have 1st King and 2nd King in the Holy Bible. So when a chief stoops so low like the way Nana Nkrawiri did and he gets insults, it serves him right.

Why is it that of all the ten Regional Ministers-designate only the Sunyani Traditional Council are kicking like a mad bull against their Regional Minister-designate? Nana Osagyefo Agyemang Badu, the Omanhene of Dormaa Traditional Area used to be one chief I respected a lot. This is a well educated man who happens to mount one of the most powerful stools in Ghana after the death of Nana Agyemang Badu, another well educated gentleman. Nana Osagyefo Agyemang Badu is a lawyer, a judge and a football fan so he is liked by his people and in fact, the people of Ghana. He too allowed himself to be used by the NDC when the going became tough. His pronouncement that since independence no government ever did so well like the John Mahama administration and that he would turn himself into a serial caller and campaign for the NDC went viral. People from all walks of life took him to the cleaners and at the end of the day he became a laughing stock.

What these chiefs did not know was that the NDC and their John Mahama are experts in the destruction of peoples’ hard-won reputation for political expediency. Today, I wonder what Nana Agyemang Badu would say if President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo visits his palace to pay him a courtesy call. Will Nana Agyemang Badu change to reverse gear? He dares not because traditionally, a chief cannot lick back the saliva that he spat. When the former First Lady, Madam Lordina Mahama started distributing V8 cars to chiefs, I knew it will come to this. Today, even though the chiefs who received the V8 cars were comfortably riding in them, anytime they passed by in their luxurious cars people insult them. And you see, honour is not sold at the supermarkets, it is earned.

There was this chief of Chiraa in the same Brong Ahafo Region who also stood up before ex-president Mahama and posed like Usain Bolt with his two arms stretched and shouted: “JM Toaso.” It was very unfortunate that people of Chiraa would not mention his name anytime they saw him in the car but would subtly tease him by shouting: “JM Toaso” anytime he passed by. His behavior too went viral and the people of Chiraa in the Diaspora regretted ever calling him a chief.

And can I finish this epistle without mentioning Nii Aye Bonte, the Gbese Mantse? The man gambled with his stool and lost and yet there he sits on the stool he used to gamble with his protruding stomach falling to the ground. It was this man who took the most stupid risk by saying that if Nana Akufo Addo won the 2016 elections he would abdicate his stool. Then Nana Addo won but sadly he shamelessly refused to abdicate. That to me doesn’t make him a complete gentleman. Where I come from, if a chief gambles with his skin by swearing the great oath of the skin and it turns out to be the opposite, he abdicates or forced to step down. I really don’t know if the Gas have similar culture but what I know is that Kingmakers can summon him to come and explain why he toyed with the stool because the soul of the people is supposed to be connected to the stool that the chief occupies.

All what I have taken time to recount boils down to one thing: Our chiefs should learn from what happened to the chiefs mentioned above and desist from following politicians in a ‘zombie’ manner. They should know that presidents will come and go but the chieftaincy institution will be there forever because the institution has been able to stand the test of time. I will be back if the Sunyani Traditional Council returns fire.

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