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19.11.2008 Politics

AGYEKUM ESCAPES ANTOA`S WRATH …Denies being struck by the powerful deity

By Issah Alhassan, Kumasi - Ghanaian Chronicle
AGYEKUM ESCAPES ANTOA`S WRATH  …Denies being struck  by the powerful deity

The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Mr. Daniel Ohene Agyekum, has finally broken his silence over his refusal to join ex-President Rawlings to the Manhyia Palace, which received all manner of public interpretations.

The controversial Regional Chairman of the NDC, was conspicuously absent from the former President's entourage, which visited the Manhyia Palace three weeks ago to pay homage to the Asantehene, before the Ex-President's mammoth rally at Bantama, giving room to all sort of speculations that Mr.Agyekum was hiding from Otumfuo Osei Tutu, following his infamous invocation of the powerful river deity, Antoa Nyamaa.

The speculations were further fuelled by rumours of Mr. Agyekum being srtuck down by a strange disease, which was further interpreted by some residents in Kumasi that the Ashanti Regional NDC Chairman must have been suffering the consequences of his own actions.

But speaking in an interview with The Chronicle, Mr.Agyekum, who appeared fit, denied ever being sick, and said he was shocked when he heard rumours making rounds that he had been struck down by strange skin boils, saying “I have never been sick, neither am I running away from the Asantehene.”

Mr. Agyekum noted that he found it extremely difficult to comprehend, why people were making so much fuss about his decision to resort to the powerful river deity, to clear his party's innocence over a crime they had not committed, since it formed part of our forefathers traditional process of seeking justice and the truth, even before the advent of the Christian and Islamic religions in the country.

He explained that the visit of the former President, known to be his close pal, coincided with the death of one of his close relatives in the Eastern Region, so he sought permission from the founder of the party to attend the funeral, which Mr. Rawlings obliged.

The NDC Regional Chairman said aside that he had accompanied both Prof. Mills and Mr. Rawlings on all their campaign tours a few days before the two left the Ashanti Region, adding there was no iota of truth in what he described as attempts by his political adversaries to tarnish his hard won reputation.

On the issue of running away from the Asantehene, Mr. Agyekum stated that he had not committed any offence to be sanctioned by the Manhyia Palace, since he did not invoke the powerful spirit of the Asantehene, otherwise known in the local parlance as “Otumfuo Ntamkese.”

“I know I did not act in contravention with Ashantis traditional custom, neither did I wrong His Royal Highness, the Asantehene, by invoking Antoa, so why must I run away from him?” He questioned.

He, however, said his decision to invoke the river deity, stemmed from the incident that occurred at Gushiegu, when some NPP supporters in their bid to retaliate a reported false attack on a member of the party, took the law into their own hands and destroyed properties belonging to the NDC Constituency Chairman, which also led to the death of three people.

Mr. Agyekum, however, expressed worry over the way some prominent Ghanaian personalities, including President Kufuor, were playing politics with people's health status, saying the situation was very unfortunate, and must be condemned in no uncertain terms.

Touching on the party's campaign in the region, Mr. Agyekum disclosed that the NDC had put the necessary measures in place, to make sure it secured four more seats in addition to the existing three.

Even though he declined to mention the constituencies, which had been targeted by the party, he did not deny it when this reporter mentioned three constituencies, including the Offinso North, Ahafo Ano South and Obuasi.

The NDC Regional Chairman also confirmed the suspension of some active members of the party, including the Constituency Chairman for Nsuta Kwamang, Mr. Mohammed Alhassan, and the NDC disqualified parliamentary candidate for Asokwah, Mr. Duku Donkor, over their allegedly flirting with the ruling party.

He said even though the regional hierarchy of the party was yet to ascertain the veracity of the allegations, it had ample evidence to suspect that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had planned to infiltrate the camp of the NDC with money, with the view to sow seeds of confusion in the rank and file of the party, citing the predicament of the former General Secretary of the party, Mr. Josiah Aryeh, who was baited with just three thousand dollars, a few days to the 2004 elections.