A once healthy relationship that existed between the traditional authorities of New Abirem in the Birim North District and their District Chief Executive (DCE), Nana Raymond Damptey, has gone sour, with some residents calling for a swift intervention by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Both parties are said to be at each other’s throat, with a planned stakeholders meeting scheduled between the market women in the locality and the Assembly of which it was abruptly aborted by the traditional authorities at the last hour is said to has further exacerbated the matter.
The Assembly, led by its political head, Nana Damptey, had scheduled to meet the market women on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, to interact with them.
However, the meeting was called off at the last minute by the traditional authorities with the reason that the event might disrupt economic activities and affect the income of the market women.
Tuesdays are known to be market days in Abirem, with the chiefs said to have proposed to the DCE and the Assembly, through the MP for the area, John Osei Frimpong, to re-schedule the stakeholders’ engagement to a day which will be convenient for all.
Nananom had expected the DCE, as customs demand, to engage them, so they could properly plan the event together without disrupting economic activities in the area but their hopes and expectations were dashed.
The Chief of New Abirem, Obrempong Nana Kwasi Amoh I, commenting on the issue said chiefs in the area do not interfere in the activities or programs of the Assembly.
However, the way and manner the said stakeholders’ engagement was planned and or called without consulting nananom left them in the dark.
According to him, the sheer disrespect and disregard for traditional authorities by the DCE is legendary, stressing that never in the history of the area has the chiefs come across a disrespectful district political head like Mr. Damptey.“Even your own wedded wife, you can’t go to her without her consent or approval. As every country has a president, so do every town has its leadership – the traditional authority which needs the maximum respect of all. You can’t do what seems right in your own eyes without consulting the traditional authorities and claim you are autonomous whiles you know that Tuesday is a market day”, he noted.
He added “We sent a message to the DCE through our MP for him to reschedule the stakeholders meeting but he refused. The market women are our wives; they are our mothers; and they are our sisters. We can’t let them bear the brunt of the decision of a disrespectful DCE. That is why we have cancelled the stakeholders meeting to enable our market women do their business without any interruption”, he noted.
The Assemblyman of Old Abirem, Hon Abdul Hakeem who is familiar with the situation also told journalists that most of the Members of the Assembly were left in the dark with regards to the stakeholders’ engagement and only heard about the news through the Assembly’s Information Van.
“The Chiefs raised a concern that Tuesday is a market day and went ahead to draw the Assembly’s attention to it. However, the response from the Assembly was that they had already planned for the said meeting and will not change their mind. The traditional authorities saw this avowed position of the Assembly worrying and felt disrespected, hence their cancellation of the program”, he explained.
The DCE of the area, Mr. Damptey, responding to the issue on Freeman TV said the chiefs cannot dictate to the Assembly, insisting that the Assembly is an autonomous body which does not take instructions or directives from anybody.
“The Assembly just like a Government has its own programs and do not need approval from the traditional authority”, he said.
In April, 2021, President Akufo-Addo urged chiefs or traditional authorities to report Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) who do not consult them before making decisions in their communities to him so that he doesn’t re-appoint them.
He said this when the Okyehene and the Chiefs of Akyem Abuakwa called on him at the presidency.
The Chiefs had complained about the difficulties they face in getting the MMDCEs to cooperate with them.
The Gyasihene of Akyem Abuakwa State and Kwabenhene, Daasebre Eyimadu Kantamanto, had complained to the President on behalf of the chiefs that some MMDCEs do not consult the traditional leaders when they make decisions for the communities they are responsible for.
“Our DCEs and MCEs are not treating our chiefs well at all. When you question them on any move they are embarking on, they respond that it’s their mandate to do what they are doing”, he noted.
A month later, the Chiefs in Birim North voted against the re-nomination of Mr. Raymond Nana Damptey as their DCE citing lack of respect, arrogance and disregard for traditional authorities as their reasons.
Some residents say the relationship between the Chiefs and their DCE has gone from bad to worse following the former’s vote of no confidence in the President’s representative at the District.
Considering the situation and the posture of the DCE, it would not be prudent for the President to re-appoint him since his re-engagement will further worsen his already marred relationship with the traditional authorities who are the custodians of the land, they added.