Monday, August 13, 2007
CALM AT HOMOWO
· At 400-strong Police Force stand and stare
Story: DANIEL NKRUMAH
A HEAVY police presence and an earlier warning that none of the factions should engage in any outdoor activity in the interest of peace both failed to dim the excitement of the annual Homowo at Ga Mashie, as the Ga Mantse, King Tackie Tawiah 111, sprinkled the traditional food, kpokpoi, to continue an age-long tradition of saying ‘shame to hunger’.
About 400 well armed police personnel, led by ACP Kwesi Appiah Boateng, had very little to do in terms of riot control and watched as the Ga Mantse, followed by an enthusiastic crowd, virtually raced through some family houses to do the sprinkling.
The police had earlier given a directive that all families should restrict the sprinkling to their houses but the Ga Mantse obviously defied that the police did not officially serve them any such notice.
“Be advised that the police did not give us any such notice… Ga State has autonomous powers. We are nobody’s schoolboys so we cannot be directed by broadcasting houses”, King Tackie Tawiah 111 said.
The police had barricaded the family house of the Ga Mantse but after performing the initial rituals at an inner sanctum in the house, King Tackie Tawiah used an exit at the back of the house that merged into another family house.
The Director of Police Public Relations, DSP Kwasi Ofori, on realizing that the police had perhaps been outwitted by the Ga Mantse and his entourage, confronted a member of the Ga Mantse’s entourage who assured him that they were not going to venture near unsafe territories.
The Ga Mantse and his entourage did not go into Gbese We, which had also been barricaded by the police.
While he was warmly welcomed into some of the family houses, with appellations and praises, others expressed their rejection of him with abusive words. But a calm King Tackie Tawiah played down the dissenting voices and called for unity among his people, stressing that “there are no factions. We are one and the same”.
At the Gbese We, a claimant to the Gbese Stool, Nii Ayibonte, known in private- life as Tommy Okine, was absent but Nii Tetteh Ahenekwah 11, Regent of the Gbese Stool, sprinkled kpokpoi inside the house and at the precincts amidst drumming and dancing.
Nii Okaidja 111, another clamant to the Gbese Stool, had been prevented from going into the Gbese We to perform some rites by angry youth but a compromise was said to have been reach later that allowed some emissaries from him to visit the house and perform the necessary rites.
In an interview, Nii Bi Ayibonte, a member of the Gbese We, who is also opposed to Nii Okaidja’s clam as Gbese Mantse, praised the police for “being fair to the people in their dealings”.
He said they had made some compromises including forfeiting their right to perform some rites at the Ushers Fort in order “not to disturb the peace”.
Another claimant to the Ga Mantse Stool, Nii Tackie Oblie, was also reported to have sprinkled Kpokpoi in his area.
Daily Graphic - Monday, August 13, 2007 Page: 3