The failure (or refusal?) of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) led government to send even a single representative to honour a three-month old invitation to this year's Sonkor festival of the chiefs and people of Nchumuru Traditional Area in the Krachi district is not only worrying to the entire people, but has also permeated down existing political crevices between the ruling party and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC); the consequences of which could be serious if brisk damage repair moves are not made soon.
And indeed, so politically significant was the unexplained absence of government officials to the people of the area that many NPP activists in town could no longer walk shoulder high the way they used to. The plain truth is that they, for the past ten days, had to endure the jeering and taunting from their neighbours in the main opposition party, some of which were that ' neglect has become their version of the positive change they were promised'.
Investigations revealed that on Tuesday April 27, this year, and as part of the annual festival, Nana Obrimpong Kanya II, paramount chief of the traditional area, in the company of dozens of his divisional and sub- chiefs, gorgeously moved out of the Bajam Palace and headed for the Bejamse Local Authority School in high hopes that for the first time in this administration, the president, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, would heed their modest invitation and celebrate the festival with them.
But after sitting in state and waiting in vain for over nine 'bloody' hours (9am to 6pm) they, and the thousands of citizens, many of whom trooped in from afar, had no option than to disperse with disappointment.
What seemed more painful to the people was when word reached them at the durbar grounds that the Deputy Minister for Information, Hon. Asamoah Boateng, was in the district 'wining' with their District Chief Executive (DCE), Joseph D.K. Ntoso, at Krachi, not too far from their home. “If the president or his vice could not come, what about his minister or even our local DCE?” a palace source enquired. The source further hinted that for the nearly four years that the NPP came to power, no high-powered government delegation heeded their invitations to celebrate the Sonkor with them.
Tendering documentary evidences to the paper, Mr. John Adjei, chairman of the Nchumuru Youth Association (NYA), said the president was invited as far back as January 29th, through the district assembly and the regional coordinating council (RCC) in Ho. The letter with reference number NTC/VR/2004 and signed by the paramount chief, stated among other things that 'His Excellency's honouring this year's invitation will boost our cultural and social morale and make the festival grand'.
According to Adjei, when it was realized that the president had a tight schedule, the traditional council, on 1st April, wrote another letter, to be sent to the vice-president, Alhaji Aliu Mahama.
But on reaching the RCC, he was advised that inviting both the president and his vice would be conflicting, and that they should stick to their first option of inviting the president.
He followed the matter down to Accra recently, as directed from the RCC, and was again assured by the Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani, that even though the president was out of the country (Britain and South Africa), he (Mpiani) would make sure that the president was adequately represented at the occasion. “But lo and behold, when the day came, we were dumped, and not even the DCE and his minister guest deemed it fit to visit us as part of the tour,” he lamented.