Speech By Senyo Hosi As Special Guest Speaker At The 71st Mafi Hogbetsotso Festival On The Theme “Repositioning Mafi For Unity And Development”
Mr. Chairman, today is a very important traditional day. And as such I deem it fit to foremost acknowledge our traditional rulers in my observation of protocol. Togbui wo, Mama wo, His Excellency the former President John Dramani Mahama, the Honourable Volta regional Minister Dr. Archibald Letsa, the MP of Central Tongu, the DCE of Central Tongu, distinguished invited guests and the great people of the Mafi State, ladies and gentlemen.
I am humbled to have been called upon to be the special guest speaker at the 71st Mafi Hogbetsotso. I am the son of a mother from Jamestown-Accra, particularly, Bukom and a father from Klefe-Demete and Abutia-Teti. I am proudly Ewe and proudly Ghanaian. My grandma, Mama Adibi always said all Ewes are one and same. We fled Notsie together. We hatched the escape as one people and today, we must stand truly as one people. Every Ewe is a child of every Ewe-Nyigba (Ewe-land). I therefore stand before you today not as your guest but as your son. I am happy to be here. I am happy to be home. We are a people of one history, and we share a common destiny as Ewes and most importantly as Ghanaians.
Needless to say, the organisers of today’s event could not have chosen a better theme than ‘Repositioning Mafi for Unity and Development’. Mafi must unite and Mafi must develop! I drove through Battor on my way here and I realized how big Mafi is and how blessed her lands are. I was shocked because all I ever thought was that Mafi is Mafi Kumase and its immediate environs. It was obvious to me that Mafi is a great lion that ought to be in the fore, championing the course of development and harmony not just for Mafi but for the entire Ewe-Nyigba. Sadly, the lion is nowhere to be seen.
A lion that cannot move its legs is no different from a tree stump or better still, a chair. A lion without its teeth and roar is nothing but fish. A lion needs all its major parts to be seen and felt as a lion. In that same vein, Mafi needs all its people. She needs unity to be the lion it must be. Sleeping Lion Wake up, Mafi, Wake up!
Mr. Chairman, permit me to be blunt about an issue that is dear to the heart of the Mafi people. Mafi has for over 22 years been battling a major chieftaincy dispute over its paramountcy. A dispute among brothers. A dispute among family members. A dispute in one clan or division. Mr. Chairman, a dispute that stifles the harmony and development of not just this clan but the entire Mafi people. It is a dispute that frustrates the future of the children and youth of Mafi. It is a dispute that continues to shatter the hope for prosperity for the people of Mafi. Mr. Chairman, this dispute must not be allowed to stand. No clan nor person is bigger than the future of our children and youth today. Time is of the essence and the world is not waiting for Mafi. We cannot continue to allow such disputes to fester after 22 years of stagnation.
The Ewes of today fled the oppression of King Agorkoli to settle in places like Mafi. In today’s world, oppression is economic and not as physical as before. The disputes in the Mafi State have become an economic oppressor of the prospects of the youth and children of Mafi. Who and how many will invest in Mafi amidst this dispute? How will jobs be attracted to Mafi and how will jobs grow? Who will champion the advocacy for Mafi’s development? Mr. Chairman, if we have fled Agorkoli for his oppression and we are today oppressing the socio-economic development of our own people for 22 years, how different are we from Agorkorli?
To the ruling clan, we all are escapees of Notsie. Our forefathers have settled here and defined the culture we have today. They agreed that from your stock shall come the rulers of Mafi. It is not so divine a privilege. It is an act of deference by your people to make it a privilege for you to serve them. A privilege to be a vehicle of development and not one of socioeconomic oppression. Your power comes from the people and can be taken away by the people. As it is said, when you are privileged with an opportunity to serve as Chief and you refuse to serve, even the role of a linguist will elude you. Just as we fled Notsie from oppression, so is it that the people of Mafi can flee from the State.
As my Grandma says, family disputes are not solved in court. They are solved in the family. You are brothers and sisters from one stock. You must solve your problems yourselves or call on your other cousins from the other clans to help you solve it. No matter what a court says, if the people fail to accept you, you will never rule indeed.
In these 22 years while your dispute has lingered, children have been born who have grown to become parents on their own. Parents have become grandparents and great grandparents. An Asantehene was enstooled and he just celebrated the 20th anniversary of his reign. As we sit here today, Okyehene is celebrating his 20th anniversary on the throne. Last year Togbe Afede celebrated 15 years on the Asogli throne. Ghana’s population has increased from 17.61mn to 30.42m. We have seen 4 new presidents. Oil has been found in Ghana, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have been born and become multi-billion dollar companies. The world is not waiting for you.
I respectfully wish to ask, while you have been at your 22-year dispute, who have you ruled? No one but yourselves. Mafi cannot wait any longer. Humans by default are designed to adapt, so when Mafi gets used to living without you, you will lose your relevance and there shall be no Paramountcy for you to ascend.
You are one family, fix this now!
Mr. Chairman, I am advised that the Mafi State has not been granted the opportunity to constitute or have a traditional council. I am also advised that this situation hampers the management of the chieftaincy institution of Mafi. Be that as it may that the paramountcy is a subject of dispute, we believe it is also not an adequate basis for the whole Mafi State to be deprived of this key institution. Just as we are holding the Hogbetsotso without a full resolution of our Paramountcy dispute, so can we also operate a traditional council for the furtherance of Mafi. Mafi is struggling and all must help to make it rise again. I hereby humbly appeal to government through the Regional Minister to help grant a traditional council status to the State of Mafi.
To the industrious and peace-loving women of Mafi, it is said that the egos of men ruin their thoughts but women keep them home. I salute you for the absence of an outright war amidst all the strife befalling the paramountcy of Mafi.
Mafi is a State which has graced Ghana with many illustrious sons like Dan Okudzeto (a true trailblazer who set up Ghana’s first indigenous Oil Marketing Company), Dr. Alphonse Dorcoo (Former MD of Tema Oil Refinery), Hon. Joe Gidisu - former Minister for Roads and Highways and many others that time will not permit me to mention. It is necessary we restore the honour of Mafi else very much soon, most of Mafi’s people will become citizens of other regions.
Togbui wo, Mama wo, it is said that the land we live on is borrowed land. A land we borrow from the generations yet to be born. We have a duty to keep it well so that when they come, they will testify that we were good stewards. As I conclude my submission, I wish to ask you all, which Mafi do you wish to handover to the youth, children and those yet to be born? Is it a Mafi where children have been trained to hate each other? A Mafi that is disintegrated? A Mafi that remains the sleeping lion? Or do you wish to handover a Mafi brimming with hope, harmony, development and prosperity for all her people.
Wake up sleeping lion, wake up Mafi.
It is time to bury your ego, it is time to let go,
The world is not waiting for you.
It is time to unite and develop your people.
God bless the State of Mafi, God bless our homeland Ghana.