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06.10.2004 General News

Kufuor Snubs Volta Chiefs?

By Lens

Apparently peeved by the massive show of rejection he experienced during his tour of the Volta region last week, President Kufuor decided to pay back the traditional authorities of the region by boycotting the Volta Congress, which he was billed to open last Thursday in Ho, the Volta regional capital.

President Kufuor who had earlier indicated his preparedness to be present to launch the Volta Congress, decided to alter his plans and did not even have the courtesy of informing the Volta regional House of chiefs which had extended the invitation to him. Instead of arranging his traveling plans so that he could be with all the traditional rulers of the region who had assembled in Ho for the Congress that Thursday, President Kufuor rather decided to call on the paramount chief of the Asorgli Traditional area, Torgbe Afede on Wednesday after which he traveled out of Ho en route to the northern parts of the region.

Neither the Regional Minister nor the district Chief Executive of the area was also present which confirmed the widespread belief that the absence of the President was a deliberate plan to pay back the chiefs of the region for the hostile reception the people of Volta accorded him and his entourage right from Sogakope, through Akatsi, Klikor to Aflao all the way to Ho and later in Hohoe where things grew from bad to worse.

Sources close to President Kufuor confirmed to the Lens that the hostile reception, which was characterized by boos, came to President Kufuor and his team as a major surprise because of assurances they had been given that the region had become a much softer turf for the NPP in comparison to the previous electioneering periods. How grossly exaggerated that evaluation turned out to be.

Matters came to a head in Hohoe when thousands of NDC supporters came out to confront a team of the police cum NPP supporters who were attempting to remove the flags and posters of the NDC ahead of Mr Kufuor's arrival as a way of creating the false impression of substantial support for the NPP in that area. It would have been a most bloody confrontation if the NDC supporters, who outnumbered by far the few NPP supporters, had not been prevailed upon by their leaders to exercise restraint.

Meanwhile, the police in the region are seriously harassing individuals who were suspected to have engaged in hooting at the President Kufuor's convoy. A classic case involves an attempt to arrest pupils of Amazing Love International School in Denu, in the Ketu South constituency, for allegedly hooting at the presidential convoy.

It would be recalled that a similar harassment took place some months earlier when breadsellers at Sogakope were banned from selling their wares for five days for allegedly hooting at the President's convoy. It would seem that the Kufuor regime had learned nothing whatsoever from the public outcry that greeted that infamous move by the then district chief executive.

In another development, President Kufuor had donated ¢2 million to the Chief and people of the Asorgli traditional area of Ho as part of the Yam festival which was climaxed last Saturday. It would remembered that not too long ago, president Kufuor had donated a hefty amount of ¢200 million to the chiefs of Accra to mark their Homowo festival.

An insightful analyst has explained that perhaps this disparity is indicative of the fact that in the estimation of the President, Volta region is a lost cause whereas it is possible to sway the people of Accra through some heavy injection of bribe money.

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