CULTURAL NEWS - Features
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Ga’s, Sheathe the Daggers
(DAILY GRAPHIC EDITORIAL)
ACCRA is a triple capital. It serves as the capital of the Nation, a Region and a Metropolis. Therefore, any developments in Accra have wider implications than can ever be predetermined.
That is why we all have a stake in the peace and orderly development of Accra. The diverse interests and concerns which interact and compete are complex and could be intractable.
So, it is not just that some outsiders have invaded Accra and have deliberately plotted to undermine or reinforce local Ga customs and cultures. The competition could sometimes be overwhelming. There is always the need for tolerance and understanding of issues to ensure harmony.
We all then have an interest in the promotion of Ga custom, culture and practices. This is imperative because for as long as Gas are at peace all of us would know peace. The reverse is also true.
Presently, the daggers appear drawn for a possible showdown between supporters of the Ga Mantse, King Tackie Tawiah 111, on one hand and the Ga Paramount Stool Dzaase, under the leadership of Nii Yaote Oto-Ga, over the celebration of the Homowo.
Nii Yaote’s faction has refused to recognize the legitimacy of King Tackie Tawiah 111 and has filed a complaint with the Greater Accra House of Chiefs, challenging his purported selection, nomination and installation as Ga Mantse.
The faction has vowed never to allow King Tackie Tawiah to perform any function as Ga Mantse. Consequently, it has warned both the Greater Accra Regional Minister and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly not to interfere with the process with the deployment of security personnel to shepherd King Tackie Tawiah to perform the customary rites associated with the Homowo festival.
However, the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), chaired by the Regional Minister, Sheikh I.C. Quaye, has in turn threatened to deal with any deviants who would attempt to disrupt the orderly and peaceful conduct of the processes associated with the celebration of Homowo.
Additionally, King Tackie Tawiah has the law on his side. The Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, which is dealing with the question of the legitimacy of the Ga Mantse, has publicly stated that until the final determination of the matter against King Tackie Tawiah, he is free to carry out his duties as the Ga Mantse.
In that case, the Regional Security Council has an obligation to ensure that King Tackie Tawiah’s interests are not trampled upon and he is enabled to carry out his legitimate responsibilities without hindrance.
However, that must be weighed against the possible loss of human lives, if the other faction decides to carry out its unilateral action to use all means to stop the public performance of the rituals by King Tackie Tawiah. That is where the law has to be tampered with; since the question is no more about giving meaning to the law but totally avoiding the possibility of any fatality or injuries.
That is exactly what happened when the REGSEC ruled that the contending chiefs in Nungua should not publicly perform any traditional function, although one faction had the law on its side.
These are times that demand sacrifices and compromises in the interest of the integrity of the Ga State, the performance of some rituals were suspended. These are not good times.
The sacrifices or compromises will in no way discount the relevance or legitimacy of the cause of any of the parties. That course would be a demonstration of the respect and commitment for the welfare of the people Ga State.
The law is on the side of King Tackie Tawiah. However, if the Nii Yaote faction is not ready to respect the law, King Tackie Tawiah could decline to perform the rites at this time. Even if that is taken as a win by the Nii Taote group, it would put him in a better perspective when he eventually wins his case at the Regional House of Chiefs.
For our part, we can only appeal to the factions to sheathe their daggers and work towards the good of Gas and how the area could be developed for a better legacy. Chieftaincy, after all, is a private inheritance, even if it has public implications.
DAILY GRAPHIC EDITORIAL - Thursday, August 9, 2007 Page: 7