06.05.2005 General News

Ga Chiefs Say No To GaDangme

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THE Ga Traditional Council (GTC) has dissociated itself from the “March for Justice” demonstration organised by the GaDangme Council.

It said the “GaDangme Council has no mandate to deliberate on any issue in the name of the GTC”.

According to the GTC, it was not involved in the organisation of the demonstration and, therefore, felt the need to dissociate itself from it.

At a press conference organised by the GTC in Accra yesterday, it, however, lauded the idea behind the demonstration but expressed displeasure at the way the idea was forced on the council.

Among the chiefs present were Nii Adjetey Kraku III, Tema Mantse, Nii Tettey Kpobi Tsuru III, La Mantse, Nii Nortey Owuo III, who was introduced as the Osu Mantse, Nii Duodo Nsackey II, Otublohum Mantse, Nii Armakai III, Asere Dzasetse, Naa Dede Omadru I, Ga Manye, and the Nai Wulomo, Numo Tettey III.

Last week, the GaDangme Council organised a demonstration dubbed “March for Justice”, with the aim of compelling the government to accept the need to return to the GaDangme people unutilised public lands belonging to them, as well as promote the use of the GaDangme language in schools, among others.

Although it was resolved at a meeting by the GTC at the request of the chiefs and queens in the area that it would not “bow to the requests and threats of the GaDangme Council”, since it was going to set an unfortunate precedent for chieftaincy, some of the chiefs, including the La Mantse, took part in the march.

The acting President of the GTC, Nii Adote Obuor II, who addressed the press conference, said although the idea to organise the demonstration came up during a meeting at Dodowa where some delegates from the GTC were present, it was not accepted by all the parties to organise the demonstration.

He said the GTC was, therefore, shocked when it received a letter from the council inviting it to participate in the said demonstration and, therefore, advised its members to disassociate themselves from it.

Nii Obuor said the GTC felt aggrieved and deceived because it expected the GaDangme Council, which was formed to promote the interest of GaDangme people, to discuss the issue with the GTC after the Dodowa meeting, since, according to him, the Dodowa meeting was convened for a different agenda.

He said some people had misinterpreted the GTC's action, to the extent that “some even went on radio and television to interpret our decision not to join these deceitful and self-seeking leaders of the demonstration to be the result of having sold our conscience and sovereignty to the present government”, among other allegations.

According to him, the GaDangme people had a just cause concerning land but added that President J. A. Kufour had “recognised it graciously” and that plans were being made to resolve the issue.

He was of the view that because the GaDangme Council was working in isolation, it was not current on efforts being made by the GTC to promote issues concerning GaDangme people.

The acting President, who is also the Sempe Mantse, said the traditional council had been working assiduously with the Presidency for Ga lands which had expired their leases or were unused to be released to the rightful owners or get the relevant compensations paid.

One of such cases, he said, was a piece of land which was given out to Lever Brothers in Osu which had finally been given in favour of the Osu Stool.

He said the GTC was also cataloguing other lands, in tandem with the government, adding that it was through its efforts that the President had set up the Lands Committee.

He said the GaDangme Council had deviated from the purposes for which it was set up and, therefore, the traditional council was going to be its own mouthpiece.

Reacting to questions from the press as to why he was present at the demonstration, the La Mantse said he was there to support a cause that was worthy in principle and that his participation prevented some of the demonstrators from displaying placards that were insulting to the dignity of chieftaincy.

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