Thursday, August 23, 2007
Stool dispute halts progress at Wellembelle
A protracted chieftaincy dispute in the Wellembelle traditional area in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region has brought development and progress of the area to a halt.
The dispute which has raged for about two years has resulted in total breakdown of the communal spirit of the people and they have refused to owe allegiance to the paramount chief or respond to his calls.
The people led by the elders and Tendamba (landlords) of the Wellembelle paramountcy, have offered sacrifices to the gods and ancestors evoking them to strike dead, anybody who pays allegiance or respond to any call by the chief.
The palace has, therefore, been neglected by the people and can best be described as a “ghost” palace.
This position was amply demonstrated when the Upper West Regional Minister, Mr. George Hikah Benson and his Deputy, Mrs. Winifred Dy-yakah paid a courtesy call on the chief at his palace here on Monday to begin a tour of paramountcies to solicit the support of the chiefs to move the region forward.
Mr. Benson and his delegation were met by a handful of people believed to be only close relatives of the chief. The usual traditional drumming and dancing that characterize such courtesy calls were absent.
The Minister and his entourage who arrived at the palace at about 10.30 a.m. were kept standing for about 15 minutes before a few chairs were provided for them to sit and exchange greetings with the chief.
The Wellembelle Kuoro Mumuni Dimbie who lamented the poor reception given to the Minister said efforts were being made to reunite the people.
He said about one and half years ago, an unpleasant chieftaincy problem erupted resulting in the disunity of the area and promised to work tirelessly to resolve the differences between him and his people.
Kuoro Dimbie described the Minister’s visit as “a day for forgiveness. The era of misinformation and political treachery must give way to peace and development”.
He hoped that the people would see reason with him and come back together as one people with a common destiny of moving the development of the area forward.
The Regional Minister, Mr. Benson urged the chief to do all in his power to reunite the people in the interest of development of the area.
Mr. Benson noted that unity, co-operation and peaceful co-existence were vital to the socio-economic development of the area adding “without peace there can be no meaningful development”.
He told the people to bury their differences and come together as one and champion the cause of progress and development to help improve their living standards.
About one-and half years ago, the people, of Wellembelle traditional area staged a peaceful demonstration against the paramount chief for gross misconduct, abuse of power and refusal to perform annual rituals and sacrifices to the gods and ancestors of the land to seek for peace and blessings for the people among others.
They later issued a statement and stripping him of his powers as paramount chief of the Wellembelle traditional area.
Kuoro Dimbie dissatisfied with the conduct of the people brought the matter before a High Court at Wa, the Upper West capital which ruled in his favour describing the action of the people justified by law. The court slapped a ¢10 million fine on the people.
The Ghanaian Times - Thursday, August 23, 2007 Page: 7