Why Mantse Agbonaa The Elephant
The choice of Mantse Agbonaa at James Town as the venue for the launching of the 2004 electioneering campaign by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) was for tactical and strategic reasons, according to Mr. Samuel Augustus Tetteh, Chairman of the Ashiedu-Keteke Sub-Metropolitan Assembly.
He said the NPP was perceived to be an Akan-dominated party whilst the largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was seen as a party for Gas.
“In this regard, it was strategically necessary to bring the 2004 campaign closer to the Gas by launching this year's campaign here at Mantse Agbonaa,” he explained.
Speaking to The Chronicle just after the launch, Mr. Tetteh, who is also the NPP Constituency Secretary of the Odododiodoo constituency said: “The choice of Mantse Agbonaa was to let the indigenous Ga populace have a feel of the massive support the NPP, as a party, enjoys as well as to showcase the popularity of the President, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor.”
Mantse Agbonaa, James Town British Accra is very significant in the annals of the Ga State as well as the political history of Ghana.
Mantse Agbonaa, which literally means “The chief's compound,” is strategically located in the hub of the city of Accra. Situated between the James Town chief's palace to the north, and to the south by the James Fort Prison and the old Accra harbour, its existence dates back to the colonial days before the construction of the James and Ussher forts.
According to an elder of the chief's palace, the welcome and celebration of the release of most of Ghana's political prisoners, including Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in the pre-independent days, commenced at Mantse Agbonaa and ended at the old polo ground, the present site of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum where Ghana's Independence was proclaimed.
With every piece of land in Central Accra now acquired for commercial or business activity, Mantse Agbonaa is now the only free space left for social activities, the most prominent of which are juvenile football and funerals.
Mr. Tetteh described the launch as highly successful, having proved the point that the NPP is a national party and not an Akan party.