THE Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture has been directed to speed up research and codification of succession to traditional stools and skins in the country to help deal with the numerous chieftaincy conflicts.
To this end, the ministry has been tasked to strengthen the research departments of the Regional House of Chiefs and the Centre for National Culture.
The President, Professor John Evans Attah-Mills, said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Mr Alex Asum-Ahansan, at a durbar of chiefs and people of Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region to climax their annual Apoo festival.
The Apoo festival provides the platform and immunity for ordinary citizens to criticise their leaders, including those in political authority and to check the misuse of power through open criticisms of those in authority who are thought to have misconducted themselves through cultural tools of music, drama and poetry.
This year’s festival was on the theme “Our culture, our heritage, a tool for social integration.”
President Mills observed that in the Brong Ahafo Region alone, the number of chieftaincy disputes pending before the Regional House of Chiefs had increased from 52 in 2006 to 59, a situation, which he said did not augur well for a peaceful co-existence and development.
He, therefore, called on all to eschew chieftaincy conflicts and support their paramountcies to develop appropriate strategies such as the institution of Educational Trust Funds to assist in the education of the youth and programmes that would attract investors to their traditional areas to provide job opportunities for them.
President Mills announced that the government, through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, would provide the necessary support to develop the various tourist sites in the region which would also serve as major cultural attractions and eventually enhance the establishment of cottage industries.
He said Brong Ahafo was considered the food basket of the country, and the government was determined to add value to the food produced in the region by assisting the traditional councils to embark on agro-processing activities.
President Mills also paid glowing tribute to the ancestors of the Techiman Traditional Area for the gallant role they played in the struggle for the creation of the Brong Ahafo Region, which was originally christened Western Ashanti.
For his part, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, called on the people of the region, both within and outside the country, to use the year-long golden jubilee celebrations of the creation of the region as a rallying point to hasten the socio-economic development of the region.
He said the Regional Co-ordinating Council would put the Techiman Tomatoes Factory into good shape to start full operation this year, so as to prevent the annual glut experienced by tomatoes farmers in the municipality as well as create jobs for the unemployed youth in the area.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Techimanhene, Nana Ameyaw, announced plans by the Techiman Traditional Council, the assembly and the University of Michigan in the United States of America (USA) to establish a state-of-the-art cultural centre, which would be christened “Nkwantananso Cultural Centre”.
He also called on the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture and other stakeholders to support the project in cash and in kind.
Nana Ameyaw also suggested to the government to set up a special Traditional Council Development Fund for all traditional councils in the country which would be used to support development projects initiated by Nananom and managed by them as well.
Among the traditional rulers who graced the occasion was Naa Puowelle Karbo III, Lawra Naa, who pledged that the two traditional councils would continue to collaborate for their mutual benefits and those of their people.