Exiled Cadres Cry Out
War-weary National Democratic Congress (NDC) cadres who were whipped and chased out of town by their New Patriotic Party (NPP) counterparts in Mike Gizo’s Shai Osudoku constituency in the aftermath of Election 2000 have launched a passionate appeal to President Kufour’s administration to investigate the causes of the clashes. The cadres, who number some 300 by Honourable Mike Gizo’s account and 100 by the account of two key exiles spoken to by the Chronicle, say this will enable Government to bring to book all who were involved in the Shai Hills blood and thunder politics between 1996 and 2000 and ensure that peace prevails in the area.
Hon. Mike Gizo, who himself is in the centre of the storm, has added his voice to the appeal by the NDC cadres, calling for an independent enquiry into the clashes which have divided the people of Asutsuare and its outlying communities, resulting in scores of them fleeing into exile at Akuse and surrounding villages.
Chronicle investigations revealed that after a clash during the 1996 that saw NPP sympathizers at the receiving end, the next major clash occurred on March 28, 2000, exactly three days after Hon. Mike Gizo had inaugurated the NDC’s propaganda wing, the Veranda Boys and Girls Club. Yet another clash also occurred on August 14, 2000, leaving in its trail heavy casualties on both sides.
The final clash, which was a clear case of reprisal attacks by the NPP on the eve of the Kufuor victory in the presidential elections, saw scores of NDC cadres fleeing their homeland into self-imposed exile between February 2 and 3, last year.
Whilst Mr. Vadis Teye Muno, a former National Convention Party (NCP) cadre, who did a political somersault to the NPP the very night Mrs. Faustina Nelson abandoned her Nkrumaist party to join the fat-cats in the NDC, points a finger at Hon. Mike Gizo for spearheading the clashes, Hon. Gizo also blames Mr. Teye Muno for politicizing an old intra-clan and intra-family feud arising from the scramble for irrigated lands for farming purposes.
When Chronicle enquired from Hon. Gizo what he was doing to resolve the matter, he told the paper: “There is very little I can personally do in resolving the case since any move I make to reconcile the factions is misconceived by my political opponents as trying to re-organize my people to attack the NPP supporters.” Local NPP firebrand, Mr. Teye Muno, however, claimed that a couple of months after the clashes he initiated moves that he believed had paid off in a way.
“Elements like Douglas Appafo, Kofi Ansah, James Tettehfio and Dennis Tettey Noah, who were all involved in serious atrocities have returned to Asutsuare and are living and going about their normal duties peacefully in the town. What prevents the fingerlings from returning when the voracious sharks have returned without any verbal or physical attack from any quarter on their persons?” he fired, accusing the NDC leadership of ill-advising the remaining exiles whom he claimed could not be more than fifty, not to return to the town for purposes of political war-gaming.
“They (the NDC) have been housing, feeding and clothing their boys free of charge. Why must they return after this much pampering? There is the case of a Mr. Kwadjo Asslevi, an exile, who ignored requests by family elders to return with the excuse that a room has been rented for him by the NDC and that he should be allowed to enjoy the facility.” Even though Hon. Mike Gizo confirmed that the NDC supports and cares for the exiles, he would not specifically tell the paper the form of assistance the party gives to the boys.
Independent sources told this paper that almost all the exiles come to Asutsuare on a daily basis and return to Akuse and other communities at dusk after their normal work on their farms and attending to other duties. The paper further learnt that when church leaders at Asutsuare realized the mess the clashes were causing to growth and development in the town, the Local Council of Churches, under the leadership of Rev. Charles Aryee and with the full compliments and support of Mr. K.T.K. Agban, the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the Dangme East District Assembly, took up the responsibility of reconciling the factions and bringing an atmosphere of peace and stability in the constituency.
Mr. Charles Tetteh Hombey, an opinion leader in the area, indicated to this paper that it was the NDC “Akuse-Volivo” group that made mockery of the reconciliation process by their refusal to take part in a reconciliation durbar held to bring the feuding factions together on December 1, last year after several months of negotiations.
However, the NDC said that the said durbar coincided with a funeral of the mother of one of their members, hence their absence at the durbar. But the paper learnt from independent sources that they notified the Local Council of Churches of the said funeral at a time when it was too late to postpone the durbar.
Mr. Richard Kwesi, 36, a farmer exiled at Akuse, said his group does not believe in the peace brokered by the reconciliation team, but admitted that he visits Asutsuare without any provocation. Mr. Favour Segbedzi, a 40-year-old exiled farmer, argued, however, that those who have returned are either family members, friends or relatives of their attackers who have understood themselves because of assurances from family elders. “I am an Ewe, and the room I was living in has been rented to another person. How do I go back there, and where am I going to stay?”
The Chronicle learnt that a committee of enquiry promised to be set up by Sheik I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister, about nine months ago to investigate clashes is yet to begin its work as worried original Akuse residents live in perpetual fear of radical NPP elements invading Akuse and smoking out the exiles.