The Minister of Inner-City and Zongo Development; Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, has paid a working visit to the chiefs and people ofAhwiaa Zongo in the Kwabre municipality of the Ashanti Region to confer with them over the recent misunderstanding between the locals and the zongo indigenes.
The Minister met with the traditional heads in the company of Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the area; Nana Osei Bonsu, the Presiding Member (PM) of the Kwabre Municipal Assembly, George Obeng and the Kwabre Municipal Police Commander, IbrahinSulley at a colourful ceremony in the municipality over the week end.
The Minister, took the opportunity to advise the people to co-exist and seek the development of the municipality and void issues that will divide them.
According to him, without peace the area will see no development adding that it is in harmony that they can collectively seek development.
He told the chiefs and people that the Ministry has begun the baseline needs assessment of the zongo communities across the country.
He revealed that so far the baseline needs of two regions have been completed and the team is preparing the report to be factored in the five thematic areas of operation of the Ministry.
According to him, the team has completed assessments in the Eastern and Brong Ahafo regions and very soon work will begin in the zongo communities.
He mentioned the five thematic areas as infrastructural enhancement and sanitation; which will be dealing with access and drainage, water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), safety and security.
He explained that other areas are economic empowerment and social development which involves; vocational skills and business Incubation.
Sawadogo Alhaji Mahmoud, former Chairman, Anyinam Zongo Unit Committee in a release after the misunderstanding that reared its ugly head in the area stated ‘I will like to place on record that the said journalist did a very poor job of misrepresenting the facts and only interviewing people who were nowhere near where the murder took place and advise that he renders an unqualified apology to the entire community of Ahwiaa Zongo and also issue a rejoinder with same prominence as the earlier misleading reportage.
In a haste to be the ones to break the news, some journalists have thrown the good standards to the dogs and this is gradually dragging the nobleprofession into disrepute.
Other media houses that have carried similar reportage should also take steps to save their credibility by getting the real facts out as soon as practicable.
I will also like to categorically and emphatically condemn the prejudiced manner in which the police went about arresting people from the Zongos even though the facts point clearly as to who and what started the impasse.
Similar approaches in the past have led us where we are today and so the police must take steps to live up to the task.
Arrest the real perpetrators and leave innocent people in PEACE!
The facts that is unreported is as follows:
- On the evening of Sunday, March 18, a group of armed men on motorbikes tried forcing their way into AhwiaaZongo but were stopped by some elderly men who asked them their mission.
They narrated that one Agyen from the Asanteline, had sought their services to come and attack one Samed from the Zongo. The elders impressed upon the thugs and they left without carrying out their mission. The Zongo chief upon hearing this incident went to the Asanteline chief on Monday, March 19, to narrate the incident to them and inform him of his decision to report the matter to the police. It was whiles this discussion was ongoing that news emerged that one Zongo boy had been murdered.
- The deceased is an old student who had helped his former teacher to mark some papers at a cost and so was called to come and take his due. Whiles waiting for his former teacher to bring him the money, he saw a lady who knew and playfully engaged her in an argument which became heated. The lady in turn went to hire thugs who came and butchered the innocent boy. The teacher has reported the case to the police and I am told that the lady is in custody whiles the thugs who undertook that barbaric act are on the run.
- Another Zongo person who is currently in critical condition had learnt about the murder of the Zongo boy and was on his way to fetch his elderly mother from in order for her not to also be attacked because it is characteristic of the thugs to vent their anger on poor market women especially from the Zongos when such issues crop up. He was unfortunately lynched by a mob and is currently battling for his life.
- It is to be expected that after these calculated attacks, reprisal attacks might occur and so the presence of the police and military was timely. However, the security officers seemed to have come with a prejudiced mindset and so instead of rounding up persons associated with the chaos, rather entered the Zongo to arrest people indiscriminately. Some were arrested whiles eating and others were even asleep when their doors we knocked only to be arrested when they opened. With this kind of biased approach, there might be no end in sight at finding a lasting solution to the volatile situation in Ahwiaa.
The facts above clearly show that the media and the security services have been very unfair to members of the Ahwiaa Zongo community and I call on all the relevant authorities to take steps to ensure that every Ghanaian regardless of where you stay or come from is treated fairly because that is not the case in this instance.
In conclusion, I will like to call on the Minister of Zongo Development and Inner Cities, who I shall be serving a copy of this letter, to as a matter of urgency take an interest in the issues of Ahwiaa Zongo and work to ensure equity and fairness.