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07.06.2005 Politics

Tension Mounts In Kumasi Over Demo


Tension is mounting in Kumasi the capital city of the Ashanti Region over the planned demonstration by the Patriotic Citizens of Ashanti scheduled for Friday.

The group is organizing the demonstration in protest of what it terms the "marginalization of the Ashanti Region in terms of development under the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP)."

The group has also cited unfulfilled promises by the NPP government for the region as another reason for Friday's demonstration. Investigations by The Independent in the Garden City revealed that residents are divided over the need for the demonstration with one group opposing the idea of taking to the streets rather than adopting the approach of dialogue with state officials.

Other people the Independent spoke to in Kumasi on Monday, June 06, 2005 gave the indication that the demonstration was necessary to raise awareness to their plight. But the Friday's demonstration is heading for a severe jolt as the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) does not seem to be in favour of it.

The KMA is expected to deliberate on the intended demonstration today and make its position known to the Patriotic Citizens of Ashanti. As if that was not enough, the Presiding Member (PM) of KMA. Nana Kofi Senya has slammed the organizers saying they have lost their focus as they are this time around targeting the wrong people.

According to the Patriotic Citizens who are said to be enjoying the auspices and blessings of a Kumasi Member of Parliament, the NPP, in the run up to the last general elections promised to revamp some of the major industries in the region which have collapsed. They mentioned the revitalisation of the Kumasi shoe factory as one of the promises that won the NPP massive votes in both the 2000 and last year's general elections.

Five years after the NPP has assumed the reigns of government, the group said, Kumasi especially, and the Ashanti Region as a whole has been denied its fair share of the national cake, thus the need to embark on a massive demonstration to register their protest openly.

In an interview, Nana Senya told The Independent that the former KMA boss, Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, is largely responsible for the mess in which Kumasi finds itself now. He said Mr Jumah adopted an administrative style that actually resulted in the dissipation of the funds that accrued to the Assembly thus sending down the drain funds meant for development projects.

The way and manner Mr Jumah autocratically dissipated Assembly, funds, according to him, reduced to a minimum the benefits Kumasi enjoyed from the billions of cedis brought into the Assembly coffers from the Common Fund, HIPC Fund, GETFund and other funds.

Mr Jumah utilized the funds wrongly, Nana Senya asserted, and attempts to bring him to book failed as the six Assembly members who stood up against his style of administration and sought his removal were branded rebels. In his estimation therefore, it was wrong for the organizers to target and chastise the NPP government and the Regional Minister, S.K. Boafo, for the under-development of Kumasi.