By Samuel Duodu, Berekum.
The erection of a full bronze casted statue of an unknown female farmer carrying a baby at her back with a basket full of cocoa pods on her head and a cutlass in the right hand to be sited at the centre of the Berekum Municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region has stalled as a result of furore and tensions being created by the two factions in a 10-year-old chieftaincy dispute pending in the town.
The Gh¢50,000 (¢500million) statue to be sited at the roundabout which is also the Central Business District (CBD) area of the town as part of the beautification projects to give the town a facelift to befit its status as one of the leading commercial and farming areas in the region has also led to skirmshes between the two factions in the chieftancy dispute and the traditional council and the Berekum Municipal Assembly on the other hand.
The statue which was ready for erection on, July 23, 2010 could not come on when it was alleged that some faceless youth believed to be supporters of one of the factions in the cheiftancy dispute at dawn went to demolish the concrete platform constructed on which the statue would be placed thereby escalating the extisting tension between the two factions in the chieftaincy dispute in the town.
The Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) had to quickly hold an emergency meeting to calm down tempers when the news made rounds that the concrete platform on which the statue was to be erected had been demolished on last Friday.
A report has been made to the police by the traditional council led by the disputed Paramount Chief, Daasebre Amankona Diawuo, initiators of the project but no arrest has been made as at the time of filing this report.
When the Graphic Nsempa visited Berekum to assess the situation on the ground some residents told the Graphic Nsempa that they were for the erection of the statue while others were against it.
But according to the traditional council , the erection of the statue of the unknown female farmer at the centre of the Berekum township was to honour the memory of hardworking farmers, especially females who supported their husbands on their large cocoa farms to build most of the storey buildings in Berekum which has added some prestige and brought beauty to the town.
The council added that it was also to inspire the youth of the town and the present generation, which most of them are also cocoa farmers that they could also equal that of their forefathers who through the cultivation of the cash crop, also the leading foreign exchange earner of the country has brought development to the town.
The council added that the erection of the statue was part of an initiative by the traditional council to mobilise Berekum Citizens both within and outside the country to help bring development to their town to befit its status as one of the popular and well planned towns in the region.
It stated further that it was through such meetings with citizens of the town in Accra and Kumasi that a prominent businessman of the town based in Accra decided to sponsor the erection of the statue as part of the development agenda for the town by the traditional council.
The traditional council stated that the erection of the statue which is the first of many projects to come to give a facelift to the town has been stalled by the Municipal Assembly which claimed the project would heighten the tension in the town as a result of the chieftancy dispute.
The council said to ensure that the erection of the statue went on unhindered obtained a court other restraining the assembly and its agents as well as anybody from stopping the project but added that some faceless people whom they described as nation wreckers at dawn on last Friday went to demolish the concrete platform.
When the Graphic Nsempa contacted the Berekum Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr. Stephen Lord Oppong who is also Chairman of the MUSEC, he said the assembly as the statutory body which has the power to initiate development projects or give the consent to individuals or groups to undertake any development progect has called for a halt in the erection of the statue.
He said the reason was that their investigations indicated that the erection of the statue which is being done under the auspices of the disputed paramount chief of Berekum also one of the factions in the chieftaincy dispute has the pontential to breach the relative calm and peace being enjoy in the town.
Mr. Oppong said the Municipal Security Council had to convey an emergency meeting following the demolishing of the concrete platform on which the statue would be erected to prevent any clashes and it was during the meeting that the assembly invoked its emergency powers to halt the continuation of the project in spite of a court order filed by the traditional council to restrain the assembly from stopping the project.