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10.08.2005 Regional News

Soshie/Anyis protest against alleged neglect


Elubo (W/R), Aug 10, GNA - The Soshie/Anyi people of the Western Region who form the minority ethnic group in the Jomoro District say they have for far too long been neglected and marginalized by successive district administrations in favour of the Nzemas.

They have therefore called for fair and equitable distribution of resources as well as political appointments to eliminate the growing suspicion and ill feeling between the two main ethnic groups in the district.

These were contained in a statement read at a press conference organised by the Tertiary Students Union at Elubo on Tuesday. Francis Spider Aomia, the President, Philip Osei Bonsu, the Secretary and Charles Morcher, the Chairman of publicity committee singed it. Hundreds of people clad in black and red attire to signify the seriousness of the situation attended the conference that initially was to be a demonstration but was cancelled because of the fragile security situation.

They said when they sought audience with the Western Regional Minister on the issues a few days ago, the response from the Minister was "unsatisfactory" hence the press conference. They said since independence no indigenous member of any of the Anyi communities that include Abenea, Nungua, Cocotown and Aleboale among others have been elected or appointed to any political position in the district assembly.

''The long neglect had accounted for the wrong impression that the Jomoro District is made up of only Nzemas,'' the statement said. It suggested that the two ethnic groups should reach an agreement that would allow for the sharing of the two highest positions in the Assembly namely the Chief Executive and the Presiding Member.

The statement said the area, which has a population of about 12,000 people, has only one elected assembly member and appealed to the Electoral Commission to take steps to re-demarcate the area for fair representation at the district assembly.

It said the area lacks health, education and social amenities even though the assembly derives much of its revenue from the area. For instance, Elubo and nearby communities have only one public junior secondary school and the primary school has 71 pupils per class. Parents are therefore forced to send their children to private schools who charge exorbitant fees.

The statement said Elubo has only one health centre with five beds so the people have to travel 65 kilometres to Eikwe or 80 kilometres to the district capital at Half-Assini to attend hospital. ''The deplorable condition of the 20-kilometre Elubo-Anwiafutu stretch of the Takoradi-Elubo portion of the trans-African highway had worsened, resulting in a spate of accidents of late.''

The statement appealed to the Jomoro District Assembly to provide facilities and equipment to improve sanitation at Elubo. Mr Martin Yamikeh Ackah, the District Chief Executive, denied that the Soshie/Anyis have been politically and socially marginalized. Speaking to newsmen at Half-Assini in reaction to the allegations, he mentioned a number of development projects that the assembly had provided and intends to provide more this fiscal year.