Saturday, September 8, 2007
TOGO SECURITY BARS GA MANTSE
From: FRANCIS XAH, Glizi –Togo
A visit to Togo by the Ga Mantse, Nii Tackie Tawiah III, by special invitation from Gas resident there to celebrate the Yaka Woke and the Kpetsortsor festivals ended on a very sour note on Thursday.
Security detail at the durbar grounds refused to allow his vehicle and that of the sub-chiefs accompanying him to the durbar grounds at Glizi.
The Ga Mantse and his entourage in about 13 vehicles were asked to get down from there vehicles and walk to the durbar grounds which was about 50 metres away. Nii Tawiah who felt slighted refused and returned to Ghana.
His Public Relations Officer later told the press that the King was boycotting the event because of the humiliation he had been subjected to.
Some of his subjects, however, waited for five hours thinking he would change his mind.
The host chief and the enthusiastic crowd which had gathered at the function to welcome him, were heard openly condemning the actions of the Togolese Security-men.
When a group of people confronted the head of the Security Officer, he said he was acting on instruction from his superiors.
Not even diplomatic and other relevant documents shown to him by the presidential aide from Ghana, Mr. Jones Bugri, could convince the officer to change his mind.
When the Togolese Minister of Culture, Mr. Dotseh Anyroh, who represented President Faure Eyadema attention was drawn to the incident, he intervened and assured that, he was doing everything possible to let Nii Tawiah rescind his decision, but the Ga Mantse had already made up his mind.
Prior to the incident, Nii Tawiah was warmly received the previous day by the chiefs and people of Anexo, Glizi and Zowla, descendants of the Ga people.
The Chief of Glizi, Togbe Sedegbe Fohbebe, the Chief of Anexo, Togbe Ahuawoto Savado Zankli Lawson VIII, and Togbe David Kudoyor Sepoakar IV, separately briefed the Ga Mantse on the festival.
They told him that the celebration of the Yaka Woke and the Kpetsortsor festival could be likened to the ban and lifting on drumming and noise-making in Ghana during Homowo festivals.
They promised a reciprocal visit to Ghana to celebrate Homowo in Accra with the Ga Mantse.
Of particular interest of the Ga Mantse’s visit was his journey to the town of Zowla where legend says the Gas first settlement when they migrated from Israel before moving on to Ghana in 1663.
The Chief of Zowla, Kudoyor Sepoakar IV, said the original stool the Gas brought from Israel was being kept in the town, and that the one being used by Nii Tawiah, is a replica of the original.
“The town is also the site where part of the mortal remains of all great Ga Chiefs, have been buried for generations”, he said.
Nii Tawiah earlier made stop over at Angola and Aflao, where he met and briefed members of Traditional council on his trip to Togo.
At Aflao in particular, he met with the large Ga community who had gathered to welcome him.
Togbe Fiti Amenya, Paramount Chief of Aflao said history had it that, the land on which Glidzi and Anexo in Togo were situated, used to belong to Aflao.
He said Homowo is also celebrated by the Ga Community at Aflao adding that the Ga Mantse would be invited at the appropriate time to join in the celebrations.
The Mantse also called on Ghana’s Ambassador to Togo, Mr. Kwabena Mensa Bonsu, who said “the visit is historic, and we are indeed greatly honoured”.
The Ghanaian Times - Saturday, September 8, 2007 Pages: 1 & 3