Story: Samuel Duodu, Nsoatre
THE chiefs and people of Nsoatre, near Sunyani in the Brong-Ahafo Region, embarked on a three-hour massive demonstration at Nsoatre on Thursday to protest against the siting of the capital of the newly-created Sunyani West District at Odomase.
The demonstrators, numbering about 400 and clad in mourning clothes with red bands around their necks and wrists, marched through some of the principal streets of Nsoatre, amid the chanting of war songs.
Policemen were present in their numbers to provide protection.
Some of the placards the demonstrators carried read: “ Nsoatre deserves the capital”, “NPP, let justice prevail”, “President Kufuor, Tie Yen”, “ Do the right thing @50” and “ Adjei Darko, you are arrogant.”
Among the chiefs of the traditional area who took part in the demonstration were Nana Agyeman Donsah, the Akyempimhene, Nana Amankwa Appiah, the Sanahene, Nana Twene Ameyaw, the Akyeamehene, and Nana Baffour Gyamfi Awuah, the Ankobeahene.
The rest were Nana Kofi Yeboah, the Adontenhene, Nana Asi Kwasi II, the Akwamuhene, Nana Kwame Baah, the Nkosoohene, Nana Baffour Agyei Boahen, the Abrafohene, and Nana Kwaku Amponsah, the Twabirifie Panin.
The Sunyani Municipal Police Commander, Superintendent Charles Botwe, told newsmen that 70 policemen and 68 Community Protection Unit (CPU) members were deployed to maintain law and order, with some of them wielding tear gas.
The leaders of the demonstration later sent a delegation to Sunyani to present a resolution on behalf of the chiefs and people of Nsoatre to the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, for onward submission to the President.
The Sunyani West District was among the 32 new districts created last year. The new district, which was carved out of the Sunyani municipality, has Odomase as its capital.
The protesters, who later converged on the forecourt of the Nsoatre Urban Council Office, were addressed by Nana Agyeman Donsah, the Akyempimhene.
According to him, Nsoatre was the biggest town with the highest population among the other towns in the newly-created district and, therefore, deserved to be made the district capital.
He said they were not in litigation with anybody, neither did they have a problem; what they were fighting against was injustice and unfair treatment by the Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Mr Adjei-Darko.
Nana Donsah, therefore, made a passionate appeal to President Kufuor to look into the matter and let justice prevail.
A statement signed by Nana Asi Kwasi, the Akwamuhene, and issued to newsmen, said the people were pressing home their demand for Nsoatre to be made the district capital, instead of Odomase.
It stated that in terms of infrastructural development, Nsoatre was better endowed than the other towns in the new district.
The statement cited the community centre, which could be used as temporary offices for the new district, and an urban council office that could serve as offices for the decentralised departments of the assembly.
According to the statement, Nsoatre was the 62nd largest town in Ghana and the 10th in the Brong Ahafo Region, with a total population of 18,931, while the other two big towns in the district, Chiraa and Odomase, had 15,183 and 12,167 people, respectively.
It said the decision to site the district capital at Odomase, instead of Nsoatre, which was announced on October 25, last year, came to the people of Nsoatre as a shock.
The statement described the explanation given by Mr Adjei-Darko to make Odomase the district capital because it was the most centrally located town in the area as untenable.
It asked the sector minister why the national capital was not Kintampo but Accra, even though Kintampo was considered the midpoint of Ghana.
It would be recalled that last week the chiefs and people of Nsoatre boycotted a meeting convened by the Local Government Ministry to discuss the inauguration of the district, which comes off on February 29, this year.
At the meeting, Mr Adjei-Darko expressed regret over the decision of the chiefs and people of Nsoatre not to attend the durbar, which was aimed at assessing the state of preparedness before the inauguration of the new district.