In Ghana, President John Kufuor’s government has described as unfortunate accusations that it failed to solve a chieftaincy crisis that has rocked the Volta region. This has led to the loss of lives and property. The presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) party John Atta-Mills criticized President Kufuor’s government for ineptitude, adding that the government has had the experience of escalating chieftaincy disputes, but failed to learn from the encounters.
Atta-Mills also said it is highly unacceptable and a matter of national concern the way President Kufuor and his ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government are carving an image that portrays them as people who only act after the worst has happened.
But the government dismissed the accusation, saying Atta-Mills wants to score cheap political points. From the capital, Accra Deputy Information Minister Frank Agyekum tells reporter Peter Clottey that the accusation is regrettable.
“I can only say that the good professor is only playing politics. Nobody could have envisaged that people were going to be killed in the situation at Anglo. What has happened, I think on the contrary, that people should congratulate the government that soon after the mayhem, the government moved in to stabilize the situation, and now the situation is returning to normalcy,” Agyekum noted.
He said President Kufuor’s government should be praised rather than condemned by the opposition.
“For anybody to blame the government for not intervening before is really not facing the truth because we have a time tested traditional way of installing chiefs in this country. And we know that many a time when a new chief is to be installed, there are one or more factions vying for the same position, and any government who moves in at the least sign of two factions vying for the position to try and stop it is circumventing and trying to truncate our time-tested traditional ways. If we do step in at the very least time of disagreement between two factions, what it means is that we don’t want our chieftaincy institutions and traditional means of doing our own thing grow,” he said.
Agyekum said the government regrets the lives lost during the chieftaincy crisis that rocked the Anlo traditional area in the country’s Volta region.
“The loss of even one life is bad enough for any government, and this government is saddened with what has happened in Anlo. But let’s face it, the Anlo conflict has been raging for a very long time, and there have been various levels of intervention all these years. Nobody could have predicted that this time round it was going to lead to bloodshed. So for anybody to get up and say that government has been insensitive or has not been able to read the situation very well is only playing politics,” Agyekum pointed out.
He said there is need to allow a traditional system of solving problems to flourish.
“In fact, year in, year out, despite the conflict, despite the disputes, despite their differences, they’ve been able to resolve the issues and gone ahead to do what they had to do. So, I’m saying that we have to look at the practices that we all believe in and the tests that we need to put all of them into, and then not try to blame government. On the other hand, I think government has done well, that right after the bloodshed, the government moved in swiftly and decisively and the action of the government has now led to the calm in Anlo land,” he said.