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11.02.2009 Politics

Traditional Priests, Cuban Ambassador call on Vice President

By gna

Vice President John Dramani Mahama has given an assurance that Government would work in the interest of the Ga-Dangme people and protect their lands.

He said the Government would enter into a dialogue with them on what new use to put State acquired lands for which the original purpose of acquisition had changed.

Vice President Mahama gave the assurance when a delegation of Ga-Dangme Traditional Priests called on him at the Castle, Osu to congratulate him and the President John Evans Atta Mills on their election as President and Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.

Vice President Mahama paid tribute to the people of the Ga-Dangme State for hosting the national capital.

He, however, observed that the hosting had put pressure on the culture and customs of the people, adding that the Greater Accra Regional Minister-Nominee, Nii Armah Ashietey would be the Government's chief consultant to address issues of concern affecting the Ga-Dangme State.

Vice President Mahama urged traditional authorities to unite, saying Government was not happy with chieftaincy conflicts that affected sections of the Ga-Dangme State.

He urged Ga Chiefs to close their ranks, be united and to work together to propel the development of their areas.

Nii Gbelenfo, the Gua Wulomo, who led the delegation, said they would play their part in the national development effort.

He said the traditional priests were the original owners the Ga lands, with the traditional chiefs as trustees.

He called on the Government to involve the traditional priest and seek their inputs into matters relating to governance.

Nii Gbelenfo appealed to Government to impress on a section of the security agencies to stop the harassment of the Ga-Dangme people during traditional celebrations.

He also called for payment of Government allowances and other forms of remuneration for the traditional priests.

Also at the Castle to pay a courtesy call on the Vice President was a delegation from the Cuban Embassy, led Cuban by the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana, Dr Miguel Perez Cruz.

Vice President Mahama praised the co-operation existing between Ghana and Cuba and commended Cuban assistance to Ghana in the areas of medical services through the Cuban Medical Brigade and Cuban training of Ghanaian youth that emphasized hard work, industriousness and excellence.

He said Cuba had also assisted Ghana in the areas non-formal education, which was aimed at eradicating illiteracy, and called for the renewal of efforts assist to train specialist in tele-medicine.

Vice President Mahama said the Government was bent on transforming the Tamale Hospital into a first class teaching hospital.

He suggested to the Cuban Government to take advantage of the changing American foreign policy and to forge trade links with the USA to accelerate its development.

Dr Cruz reiterated the collaboration between Cuba and Ghana.

Alhaji Mohmmed Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs-Nominee, who accompanied the delegation, welcomed the friendship between the two countries.

Also at the Castle was a delegation from the ICT Business Community, led by Mr Leslie Tamakloe.

The Vice President noted the improvements in the national telephony penetration, and pledged Government assistance to the ICT community.

He underlined the need for the nation to apply ICT and said the time had come to promote local content in ICT to accelerate the development of Africa.

Mr Tamakloe listed some challenges of the local ICT industry as monopoly of some foreign firms with bandwidth, and their attendant high cost.

He said as Ghanaians they wanted to enjoy a certain level of leverage from the Government to enable them to play meaningful role in the application of ICT to engender the growth of the economy.