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30.12.2005 Regional News

Lack of transparency, accountability, causes of chieftaincy disputes in

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Sekondi, Dec.29,- GNA- The Western Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) has identified the lack of transparency and accountability in the disbursement of stool land royalties as the major cause of chieftaincy and land disputes in the Western Region.

The deep division and disunity that existed among members of the Regional House of Chiefs, the institution that is expected to settle land and chieftaincy disputes amicably to promote peace and development. Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Regional Minister said these when he opened the first meeting of the RCC at Sekondi on Thursday. Metropolitan and District Chief Executives, Presiding Members of the various District Assemblies, Coordinating Directors and some Heads of Decentralised Departments, attended it. Mr. Aidoo stressed that the increasing number of chieftaincy disputes that frequently erupt into violence and the inability of the Regional House of Chiefs to handle the situation continue to pose serious concern to his administration.

The Regional Minister said that since chieftaincy, as an institution is the galvanising force around which the total development and advancement of the region revolves and appealed to chiefs not to indulge in acts that would put the institution into disrepute. Mr. Aidoo mentioned Bonyere, Apremdu, Kwesimintsim, Takoradi, Shama, and Sefwi-Wiaso as some of the areas where protracted chieftaincy and land disputes continue to threaten peace and tranquillity and advised the people not to condone acts that would breed civil strife. "Chieftaincy disputes constitute a major assault on the peace and tranquillity we are all striving to establish," he noted and said issues of law and order would continue to remain high on the agenda of the RCC. On security, Mr. Aidoo said the RCC in collaboration with the security agencies had within the year been able to maintain a stable situation apart from few incidents of robbery, rioting, industrial strikes and demonstrations in some parts of the region.

The region had made appreciable strides in the education front as a result of the introduction of some initiatives by the Regional Education Directorate and provision of textbook and some logistics by the government.

Mr. Aidoo said the Ghana NEPAD school feeding programme had started in some schools in the country, including the Mpohor Wassa East District in the Western Region on pilot basis, adding that soon this would be extended to other schools and eventually the whole country. He advised DCEs and Directors of Education to ensure that Parent Teachers Associations do not thwart the objectives of the FCUBE programme by continuing to institute special levies to be paid by pupils.

With a total of 371 different categories of private and public health facilities in the region, Mr. Aidoo said the health sector continued the modest march towards the attainment of the goal to provide the people with the access to basic health services.

Statistics indicate that there had been tremendous improvement in registration of the people to become members of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Mr. Aidoo said and urged the Regional Task Team to accelerate the membership drive campaign.

The Regional Minister said a number of roads have been completed; others are ongoing, while the rest have been awarded on contract to improve the road network in the region.

He assured the people that the RCC would continue to collaborate with stakeholders in the training of the youth to make them employable.

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