Blows over Regional Capitals

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An intense ‘fight’ has ensued over the siting of the regional capitals in the newly-created regions.

Six regions namely- Western North carved out of the Western Region, Ahafo and Bono East carved out of the Brong Ahafo Region, Oti carved out of the Volta Region, as well as the North-East and Savannah carved out of the Northern Region would come into existence by Friday, according to Regional Reorganisation and Development Minister, Dan Kwaku Botwe.

Following a referendum described as successful by many which led to the creation of six additional regions, President Akufo-Addo is scheduled to present Constitutional Instruments (CIs) for the establishment of all the regions, starting with the North East and Savannah Regions today.

There have been intense lobbying and demonstrations in some of the major towns of the regions after the chiefs and people claimed they were being sidelined in the process to name the capitals.

After uniting to rally their people to campaign massively for a ‘Yes’ vote for the new regions, the respective chiefs and traditional leaders are the ones leading the lobbying which has been characterized by agitations.

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Yesterday for instance, the chiefs and people of Nkoranza, which is in the Bono East Region, claimed they were being short-changed in the naming of the regional capital.

Some residents in Sefwi Wiawso and Bibiani have started clamouring for the new region’s capital in their respective towns immediately the referendum was over.

Those in Bibiani claimed the town is the centre of the new region and would be accessible to all people in Western North.

However, residents in the Sefwi Wiawso Municipality insisted that the area is ‘primed’ for the regional capital and said the municipality already has the requisite infrastructure to host the new region’s capital.

Residents in the Bono East and Ahafo Regions have also been ‘fighting’ to get their towns to host the regional capitals.

In Ahafo, people in major towns like Goaso in the Asunafo North Municipality, Bechem in the Tano South Municipality, as well as Hwidiem in the Asutifi South Municipality, all want to host the regional capital.

For Bono East, Techiman in the Techiman Municipality, Kintampo in the Kintampo Municipality, Nkoranza, as well as Atebubu in the Atebubu Amantin Municipality, have been tussling for the regional capital

There has been intense lobbying in Oti Region where big towns like Nkwanta, Jasikan, Kadjebi, Krachi and Dambai, are all up for the regional capitals and the powerful chiefs in the respective areas are not giving anything to chance.

Savannah

However, in the newly-created Savannah Region, it’s a straight fight between Damongo and Salaga while in the case of North-East Region, three prominent towns Walewale, Nalerigu and Gambaga are fiercely competing for the capital.

Meanwhile, the sector minister, Dan Botwe has reacted to claims by the chiefs and people of Nkoranza that the government is shortchanging them.

He said nobody would be allowed to stampede the government into doing what is not right as far as the siting of the capitals are concerned.

“You can’t threaten or intimidate the ministry or the President…discussions have been held and the right thing will be done. The language from everyone is that they will accept the President’s decision and so I don’t know where this is coming from,” he told Peace FM yesterday.

He said, “Discussions have been held and we are not singling out anybody. Their accusations are totally baseless and an insult to my integrity. “We are focused on what we are doing; they should be embarrassed that they are making such accusations, pure tactics.”

“You are insulting the intelligence of the president and that is what whoever wrote that petition is trying to do. If you claim it is the prerogative of the president then what are you talking about? Nobody will be intimidated by this…Some are not worried about the capital but are interested in development and they have already started lobbying and not fighting about where the capital will be…we are focused on what we are doing and we know the majority of the people are happy with what we are doing,” he added.

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