Story: Samuel Duodu, Odumase
The chiefs and people of Nsoatre, one of the major towns in the newly created Sunyani West District of the Brong-Ahafo Region, on Wednesday boycotted a meeting convened by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment (MLGDE) to discuss the planned inauguration of the district on February, 29, this year.
When the roll was called at the meeting held at the Odumase Presbyterian Church, no chief, opinion leader, assembly member or citizen of Nsoatre was present.
The meeting was attended by the sector minister, Mr Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, and the chiefs, opinion leaders and assembly members of the other towns and villages in the district.
When the Daily Graphic contacted the Nsoatre Traditional Council, a source close to the council acknowledged the receipt of the letter inviting the council to the meeting, but claimed that they decided to stay away because they did not want to have anything to do with the newly created district that had Odumase as the capital.
An official of the Sunyani Municipal Assembly has also confirmed that he wrote the invitation letter on behalf of the municipal chief executive.
The decision by the chiefs and people of Nsoatre not to attend the meeting, according to the source, also stemmed from an earlier press conference held by the traditional council to protest against the siting of the district capital at Odumase, during which they vowed they would not be part of the new district.
All the six assembly members from Nsoatre, who were also not present at the meeting, have also decided not to attend any meeting of the Sunyani West District Assembly when it kicks off.
The Daily Graphic gathered that the traditional council had planned a demonstration to register their disapproval of the naming of Odumase as the district capital.
Mr Adjei-Darko, who addressed the meeting, however expressed regret over the decision of the chiefs and people of Nsoatre not to attend the durbar, which, he said, was to assess the state of preparedness before the inauguration of the district.
He stated that the creation of the district was not a means of usurping the powers of traditional councils and, therefore, urged traditional rulers not to see it as a way of taking away their powers.
Mr Adjei-Darko, who is also the Member of Parliament for Sunyani West, added that the decision by the government to create the district was to ensure accelerated development in every part of the country.
He explained that the siting of the capital for the newly created district could go to only one out of the towns that comprised the district and, therefore, the others that did not get the capital must not see it as offence.
Mr Adjei-Darko announced that the government had decided to finance one special project that would be selected in each of the 32 newly created districts, while the ministry had also decided to support each of the districts with ¢1.5 billion.
He urged the people in the newly created districts to pay their levies and assist in the successful kick-off of the assemblies.
The MCE for Sunyani, Mr Kwame Twumasi-Awuah, urged the chiefs and people in the Sunyani West District to bury their differences and unite for the rapid socio-economic development of the new district.
The Sunyani West District, which has Odumase as its capital, was created out of the Sunyani Municipality.