Accra, Aug. 10, GNA - Mr Edward Collins Boateng, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), on Monday accused the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa of using 'divide and rule tactics' that could cost the New Patriotic Party (NPP) the Biakoye Constituency Parliamentary Seat.
Mr Owusu-Yeboah, however, denies the charge and says; "Mr Boateng's allegations against me are meant to create disaffection against me, the Government and the NPP among the Nkonyas.
Mr Boateng, who described himself as a concerned citizen, said Mr Owusu-Yeboa had taken sides in the Nkonya/Alavanyo conflict, contrary to the interest of the people and Party members.
Mr Owusu-Yeboa defeated Mr Boateng at the Party's primaries in the Biakoye Constituency of which Nkonya Traditional Area formed a part. Mr Boateng told the press in Accra on Monday: "It is regrettable that anti-Nkonya sentiments has become part of the Regional Minister even though he aspires to be an MP for the Constituency in which Nkonyas constitute an overwhelming majority."
He said the inconsistencies of the Regional Minister in the handling of the Nkonya/Alavanyo clash was haunting him, hence his attempt to blame the situation on innocent people.
"In one breath, he tells the feuding parties to go in for the enforcement of court judgements in the conflict and in the next he sets up a committee aimed at bringing lasting peace to the area.
"How can the Regional Minister sit in Ho and call a press conference to address issues relating to the most recent murder of two Nkonyas on August 2, 2004 on their farm and the resultant hostilities when he had not visited the scene or received any authentic report," he asked.
Mr Boateng alleged that the Regional Minister was incapable of handling the conflict situation professionally and was merely playing with the destinies of the Nkonyas and Alavanyos.
"It is now very clear that the Regional Minister's political ambition has totally beclouded his sense of judgement. Otherwise how can he pick on his political opponents for castigation as instigators of the conflict?" He asked.
"What will they gain if those for whose welfare they have entered politics die day in day out?" Mr Boateng asked.
Mr Boateng said it was the conviction of Party members that the NPP must win the Biakoye seat and many others in the Volta Region, "but this would elude us if the divide and rule tactics of the Regional Minister / Parliamentary Candidate is not checked".
He said the Chief of Kwamikrom, Nana Siki II was emboldened to banish one Mr Seyanu S. Agbenotor, a Veteran Politician, in his mid 70s from Kwamikrom with the tacit support of Mr Owusu-Yeboa.
Mr Boateng claimed that Mr Agbenotor, who was the NNP Constituency Chairman, was banished from Kwamikrom after 53 years stay there because of his support for he Boateng during the primaries.
"Which chief in this 21st century Ghana can arrogate such inordinate powers to himself without the support and backing from powerful men such as a Regional Minister," he asked.
Mr Boateng said it was strange that after winning the constituency primaries, instead of the Regional Minister tuning his attention towards organising the Party loyalists and broadening the support base of the party,...he was rather dividing the ranks of the Party in the Biakoye Constituency.
Mr Owusu-Yeboa, in an interview with the GNA in Ho in reaction to the accusations denied that he was taking sides with the people of Alavanyo against the Nkonyas. The two ethnic groups have been locked up in a protracted land dispute leading to sporadic clashes between them. He explained that it was unthinkable that he (Owusu-Yeboa) would rather be siding with the Alavanyos knowing that he needed the votes from Nkonya and not from Alavanyo, which is in the Hohoe-North Constituency.
"If it is possible and permissible for me to favour one side against the other, every reasonable person should expect me to favour Nkonya rather than Alavanyo," he said.
Mr Owusu-Yeboa said it was rather Mr Boateng and his sponsors, who by whipping Nkonya sentiments against him were hurting the interest of the Party and called their loyalty to the party into question.
He said Mr Boateng was his "political opponent in a very limited sense of the word in time and meaning. Now I don't see him as a political opponent. I don't see why he should hasten to the defence of political opponents in the true sense of the word by attacking me".
He said; "Mr Boateng lacked understanding of the fact that boundary dispute is the issue at stake in the Alavanyo and Nkonya conflict and that the Executive Arm of Ggovernment does not have the power to determine the boundary".
Mr Owusu-Yeboa said there was nothing wrong for the Regional Security Committee (REGSEC) of which he is the Chairman, to persuade the two sides to settle the dispute amicably either on their own, through the intervention of the REGSEC or through Chiefs and religious leaders, failing which the only recourse was to the courts.
He said it was important that Mr Boating contacted highly educated Nkonyas, who appreciated the issues, to be educated on them.
Referring to the REGSEC's recent Press briefing on the latest killings in the area, Mr Owusu-Yeboa said it was a corporate decision and he needed not be in the area prior to the briefing because it was based on authentic report from the officer in charge of the Taskforce there "unless I have reason to believe that the report was not authentic".
"Moreover it was the Deputy Regional Commander, who recounted to the Press the unfortunate incident that day on which the two Nkonya's were killed," Mr Owusu-Yeboa said.
He said Mr Boateng "showed lack of understanding about how government machinery works especially in relations between the Office of the Regional Minister and his Security Advisors such as the Regional Security Commanders."
Mr Owusu-Yeboa said Mr Boateng's allegation that he failed to manage the situation professionally constituted an attack on Heads of the Security Agencies in the Region.
Regarding the allegation that the Chief of Kwamikrom banished one Mr Agbenorto from the town for supporting Mr Boateng during the NPP constituency primaries, Mr Owusu-Yeboa showed to GNA a wireless message dated August 6, from the District Coordinating Director for Jasikan signed for the District Chief Executive, which concluded that "Rumours of tension in Kwamekrom is just an evil hoax".
Mr Owusu-Yeboa said he heard of the alleged banishment of Mr Agbenorto from Mr Yommy Amematekpor, Special Aide to the President and from a friend in Accra, who alerted him about the issue, when Joy FM, a private radio station in Accra, announced it.
He said the issue of the banishment of Mr Agbenorto was a well-rehearsed act involving the Jasikan District Chief Executive, Mr Solomon Donkor, who was in Accra to respond to respond to questions put by the presenter of Joy FM on the issue at a time he was supposed to be attending a Press briefing in Ho on the unfortunate killing of the two Nkonyas.
Mr Owusu-Yeboa said information available to him concerning the alleged banishment was that the Chief of Kwamekrom had strongly expressed his displeasure with Mr Agbenorto for allegedly entertaining a faction to a land dispute involving a neighbouring community despite repeated warnings against such acts because of the threat that it could pose to Kwamekrom.