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General News | Jun 15, 2004

You are like crabs - Nana Akomeah tells Chiefs

Ghana Palaver

THE NPP Information Minister, Nana Akomeah, last Friday, took a swipe at chiefs in the country, comparing them to crabs, which thwart the efforts of one rising to stardom.

Defending, the decision by Ghana Telecom (GT) to use the effigy of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene on its phone cards. Nana Akomeah said it was a pioneering, act, which he hoped, would be extended to cover other traditional rulers. Traditional authorities from other areas should therefore, not criticize and behave like the proverbial crabs in a bucket refusing to allow any one of their number to emerge at the top.

Appearing on Metro TV "Good Morning Ghana", Nana Akomeah, MP for Okaikwei North in the Greater Accra Region accused the 'Ghana Palaver' of dragging Otumfuo into ethnic politics.

On the same programme NDC Director of Communications, Hon John Mahama said the GT Management should have communicated the rationale for putting out the phone cards right from the beginning and not wait until the public controversy before attempting damage repair.

Meanwhile, 'Ghana Palaver' has learnt from authoritative sources that originally the plan was to carry the effigy of President J. A. Kufuor on GT phone cards, with the release planned for September 2004, ahead of the December elections.

However, when alarm was raised that it would attract public condemnation, it was decided, in consultation with Mr Kwabene Agyepong, Chief Government Spokesman, to start off with a different personality.

So as an after thought, they stumbled upon the idea of using, the effigy of Asantehene to coincide with the fifth anniversary of his enthronement.

Sources at the Ministry of Communications have however, blamed GT management for embarrassing Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and dragging Manhyia into a "corporate conspiracy".

GT has been tight-lipped on how much was paid to the Anniversary Planning Committee as "royalty" for the use of Otumfuo's effigy on the phone card.

At the Ministry, 'Ghana Palaver' learnt management of GT had found itself at the receiving, end, when soon after the release of the Asantehene phone card, a delegation of chiefs from a traditional area in the Volta Region travelled to Accra to inquire why other chiefs in the country, who have also celebrated important anniversaries had been ignored by GT.

Frightened at the turn of events, GT management began a damage repair exercise. First they lied to the Volta Region Chiefs that a decision had already been taken to feature the next Hogbetstotso festival and that the photograph of a traditional ruler had been received. Management then moved quickly to formulate a policy to use festivals on future phone cards. Sources say Lintas Advertising, are already in possession of samples of phone cards, bearing President Kufuor's effigy. As yet, it is not known, if they will be shelved as a result of current rumpus.

It will be recalled that Ghana Telecom did not only order the special phone-cards, but also imported posters, bearing the photographs of the Asantehene, at a cost which run into almost ยข90 billion (converted from the dollars and Euros spent).

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