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09.06.2005 General News

Kumasi Boils Over Demo

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Residents of Kumasi, the regional capital of the Ashanti Region, have taken entrenched positions on whether they will rally behind the planned demonstration by a group describing itself as Patriotic Citizens to register their displeasure over alleged unfulfilled political promises by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Although the organisers of the demonstration scheduled for this Friday are seriously gathering momentum by mobilizing their resources and supporters to hit the principal streets of Kumasi, another pressure group called the Asante United Front (AUF) has cautioned the organisers against the demo.

According to the Patriotic Citizens, the NPP administration has abysmally failed to fulfil electoral promises made in the 2000 elections to the people of the Ashanti Region, particularly Kumasi, in terms of developmental projects as compared to other regions.

The group, among other things cited the Kumasi Jute factory, Shoe factory, City Hotel, Boakra Inland Port as some of the abandoned money generating projects, which the NPP promised to revitalize when given the mandate in 2000.

Members of the group and Head of Political Department of the Kumasi-based Fox FM, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah told Gye Nyame Concord that “we have seen nothing in terms of all these things and Kumasi is lacking behind in terms of developments”

He said President Kufuor and the NPP administration should focus on the Ashanti Region and provide them with the necessary facilities and developments since “home sweet home”

Meantime, enquiries by this paper revealed that hundreds of residents in Kumasi have registered at the premises of Fox FM to participate in the demonstration on Friday

On the other hand, a number of residents have also expressed grave concerns over the aim of the demonstration, saying that it is an orchestrated move to undermine the NPP government. Others also completely dismissed the idea of taking to the streets over such issues.

Meanwhile, a press release issued in Kumasi and signed by Opanin Kwame Afreh, Chairman of the Asante United Front (AUF), said under no circumstance should any group assume the responsibility to fight for Asantes without conferring with the Golden Stool, which is the embodiment of the soul of the Asante nation.

According to the release “Otumfuo Osei Tutu II like his predecessors, is the head of all Asantes worldwide and that no group of persons has the right to champion the interest of Asantes without his express approval”

It warned against dragging the Asantehene into politics because by virtue of his unique position, he is above partisan politics, for which reason he should not be linked with any insurrection intended to bring the Golden Stool into disrepute.

It further stated that “Asantes have all the years championed their own course and it was not for non-Asantes, like the organisers of the proposed demonstration” to organise demos for them.

The release said the intended demonstration to be staged in Kumasi in the name of Asantes is a bad precedence and recipe for a coup d'etat, as disgruntled elements in the society might take advantage of the situation and make the region ungovernable.

According to the release, Nana Akwasi Agyemang, former CEO of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), whom it described as desperately fighting to be appointed as a major of KMA, is one of the people masterminding the demonstration. “If any one person who contributed to the current state of affairs in Kumasi, it is Nana Akwasi Agyemang who had served as a major of Kumasi for 23 years under various governments but could not improve upon the trend of development of the metropolis”, it stressed.