The Chronicle Editorial: Sefwi Wiawso Paramount Chief has a valid point

The Paramount Chief of the Sefwi Wiawso Traditional Area, Okatakyie Kwasi Bumangaman II, is not happy with the President’s plans of decentralising regional offices, ministries and departments across the districts in the newly created regions.

The Overlord of Sefwi Wiawso has, according to a story we have carried on page seven of today’s edition of this paper, warned his chiefs not to release lands to the government for such any initiative.

“I have sworn to the god’s of our land, and I have warned that any chief who disobeys me by releasing my traditional land to government for such projects risks destoolment,” he warned.

According to the Paramount Chief, the President’s decision to decentralise regional offices and ministries does not sit well with the people of Sefwi Wiawso, and that the people of Sefwi are angry and won’t sit down unconcerned for this to happen, unless the government wants to use its veto power to “intimidate me.”

According to the Overlord of Sefwi Wiawso, the regional offices, ministries and departments be centered close to the Regional Coordinating Council for easy access and processing of business documentation and government negotiations. He believes the President’s decision of spreading the offices and ministries in its decentralisation exercise will defeat the purpose for which Sefwi Wiawso was selected as capital of Western North Region.

“Those behind the segregation of various ministries and offices in the Western North Region are creating a big problem for posterity,” he warned.

The Chronicle agrees with the concern being raised by the Paramount Chief, because we do not understand why various offices under the Regional Coordinating Council should be spread across the region, instead of centralising them at Wiawso, the regional capital. Much as The Chronicle believes decentralisation is the best way to go in modern administration, it does not apply in this equation.

The Western North is relatively a small geographical area that would not require much stress for the people to travel to the regional capital to transact business. The current method being proposed by the government would rather make things very cumbersome for the people in the newly created regions. For instance, why should a land developer at Sefwi Akontombra travel all the way to Bibiani to prepare documents for his or her land instead of doing so at Wiawso?

Also, why should a teacher travel all the way from Bodi to say Sefwi Debiso to visit regional office of the Ghana Education Service, instead of Wiawso? As the Paramount Chief himself pointed out, whoever is selling this idea to the government is doing a great disservice to the people and must be discarded now. We agree though that the development should be spread across the length and breadth of the region, which the government is already doing.

But, much as we support the position of the Paramount Chief, The Chronicle disagrees with his threat to destool any chief who gives land to the government to construct some of the regional offices in their localities. In democracy, dialogue is the answer to everything.

The Paramount Chief must therefore dialogue with the government to address his concern instead of issuing threats.

Since chiefs have crucial roles to play in democracy, The Chronicle does not see why the government would refuse to listen to him if he presents cogent arguments, backed probably by other paramount chiefs in the newly created region.

We insist dialogue is the answer and not a threat.

Mr Kelly Brown

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