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14.10.2004 NPP News

Wa Central NPP confusion takes ethnic/religious dimensions

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Wa, Oct. 14 GNA - The protracted confusion in the Wa Central Constituency New Patriotic Party as to who was the right Parliamentary Candidate to contest in Election 2004 has taken different dimensions all together.

Apart from the Leadership struggle, religious and ethnic dimensions have been added thereby aggravating the already volatile situation. Two different press conferences within a matter of 48 hours have been organised to either outline or deny the religious and ethnic dimensions, which have of late become the bones of contention.

On Monday October 11 a group of people calling themselves the Dagaaba Youth in the Wa Municipality organised a press conference to register their displeasure at Mr Sahanun Mogtari, Regional Minister allegedly making "unpalatable" utterances against Mr Clement Eledi, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).

The release said the Regional Minister allegedly openly declared at Limanyiri, a suburb of Wa that they would not allow Mr Eledi to stand as the NPP Parliamentary Candidate for Wa Central Constituency as he was a Dagarti and a Christian and it was about time for Wala people to take up the leadership mantle of Wa Central.

This statement according to the press release signed by Mr John Kpiengunaang, the Dagaaba Youth Secretary was not only creating a political dichotomy, but also impeding the development of the Region as it could fan religious and tribal conflicts in the Region.

The Dagaaba Youth said President John Agyekum Kufuor had on several times condemned religious and ethnic promoters and wondered how a Regional Minister could come out with such statements without looking back to the people he was serving.

"We believe that, these statements and actions are dangerous and inimical to the development of the Region and have the potential of polarising the people in the Region".

Tensed up by the Dagaaba youth press conference, Mr Mogtari within the next 48 hours countered with another press conference on Wednesday October 13 to refute and deny some of the allegations made against him. The Regional Minister produced and played back video clips of the Limanyiri meeting. He did not make any of the statement attributed to him in the clip he showed to Journalists.

He, however, agreed that meetings were organised but denied making statements against Mr Eledi.

"My good friends, as you saw and heard from the video clips where have I made mention of a Dagao or Christian?" He asked.

Totally not enthused with the previous press conference, the Regional Minister described it as unfortunate and pregnant with malicious motive in an attempt to drag his hard won reputation into disrepute.

Mr Mogtari said he was a unifying person in the Region as his family lineage was entrenched in all the major ethnic groups in the Region namely Dagarti, Wala and Sissala.

"First, going by my ancestral lineage, my clan in Wa, that is the people of Limanyiri is bloodily related to the people of Jirapa Naayiri" and when the late Naa Yelpoe, Jirapa Naa died he read a tribute on behalf of his people and wondered how he could turn round to insult Dagaabas.

He said the NPP stood for true democracy and that democracy would be exhibited to come out with a substantive Parliamentary Candidate for Wa Central in the coming election.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the call by the Leadership of the Party is simple, not by me. Let congress decide who should be the candidate for the New Wa Central Constituency" he said.

Some of the NPP member who spoke to the GNA after the press conference under anonymity called on the National Secretariat of the NPP to come out with a solution to the problem immediately to enable them to start effective campaigning for the forthcoming elections.

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