There is stiff opposition to plans by the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Suhum, Margaret Dankwah Darko, to site a public toilet at Obretema, a farming community near Apedwa Junction in the Eastern Region.
The MCE, said to be a ‘darling girl’ of the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Mafo is being fought by the elders and youth of the area over her plan to convert their only durbar ground into a public.
At a press conference to register their displeasure, the Krontihene, Baffour Sakyi, said it was unacceptable for the MCE and the Assemblyman to opt for the only available space in the town where almost every event is held, for the project.
Krontihene Baffour Sakyi, said the park also serves as a football playing field for the community. It is also used as market for the women.
He said, it would be a great disserve for the community to allow such a prime land to be used for the project. Nana Sakyi, said though they are in support of development, they cannot allow this particular project to go on, because it would deprive them of their social and economic life.
He said, the land is so important that, even if the President visits the area that is the only place he would have to meet the chiefs and people.
According to him, although they have offered another land for the building of the toilet facility, the MCE and engineers for the project, have out rightly rejected it, claiming it is not fit for purpose.
“What we are saying is that we need development but not this type of development. Not a toilet facility on our prime land. We want the toilet facility, we need it, we are ready to give them another land fit for purpose. They should listen to us; we are the chiefs, we pay taxes, we are the indigenes, we are the town folks. They must do what we say”.
They are, therefore appealing to the government to intervene in the impasse to ensure the planned move is muted to restore peace to the area.
According to sources, the situation has created tension in the area and it is feared that if measures are not put in place quickly, it may degenerate into full blown battle between the community and the MCE.
“There was a time we were threatened by the MCE when we needed the park for a funeral. The MCE told us if we touch the blocks that had been left on the park for the project, to make way for the funeral, she will get us arrested. We had to write to our chiefs, who got the Police to allow us use the place finally”.
The chief claimed neither the MCE nor the Assembly man, consulted them before the land was earmarked for the project. Effort to call the MCE, Assemblyman and the contractors fell on deaf ears. At a meeting called by the security department of the Assembly, the chief said the MCE played adamant saying the land belongs to the state and so the project will go ahead as planned.
“Some of the indigenes asked to MCE and the Assemblyman to be careful about their action because as leaders, their reign can come to an end at anytime but the chiefs and the people will continue to be around.
“We disagree that the toilet facility will be located on that piece of land. That is where all the children play, that is where games are held, that is where we have ourcommunity drinking water, that is where our market is”, one resident said.
“Government must ensure this does not happen. It is unheard of that a park that is used to do all manner of activities will be used for community toilet. It is not right. We are in need of the facility but not on that land. We are ready to give them another land but not this particular land. It is the Assemblyman and few others who are doing this to destroy this town. He was expected to consult the chiefs but they never did. He should calm down and work with the chiefs because he won’t be where he is forever”, another man said.