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Parliament discusses rehabilitation of Wa Na's Palace

Fri, 23 Feb 2007 Source: GNA

Accra, Feb 23, GNA- Parliament on Friday discussed the maintenance of national monuments and appealed to the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations to redeem his promise to assist in the rehabilitation of the Wa Na Palace.

"I wish to emphasize the need for Government to support and show commitment and ensure the rehabilitation of the palace before its final collapse and loss of an important heritage site," Alhaji Abdul Rashid Pelpuo, NDC-Wa Central said in a statement.

The Wa Na Palace, in Wa "is the traditional residence of the Wa Na", the paramount chief of the Wala Traditional Area in the Upper West Region.

Stretching about 200 metres in a horseshoe or crescent shape and reaches the height of about a two-storey building, it has space to house the Chief and about five resident palace warders and their families as well as up to a conservative figure of up to 25 people.

Constructed in its present Sudanese Moorish style during the reign of Wa Na Pelpuo III nearly 300 years ago, the building had been an interesting piece of local architectural work wholly designed and constructed by local people, using local materials.

Alhaji Pelpuo however, expressed regrets that that, "the sad story is that for a considerable length of time, the Palace has seen no reservation and now represents a caricature of its former self, broken, infested by rodents and lizards and a den of wee smokers."

He said chieftaincy dispute over succession to the throne after the death of Wa Na Sidiki Bomi II in 1985 resulted in a stalemate, attracting national security intervention and further declaration of the Palace and its environs as a security area.

"Mr Speaker, nearly 10 years on, the Palace has not seen any renovation work and exposed to the dire elements of the weather and is fast deteriorating and crumbling to the ground", Alhaji Pelpuo said, adding that it was a national duty that no stone was left unturned to restore the Palace to its former glory.

Contributing to the Statement, Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi NPP-Tarkwa Nsuaem, supported the rehabilitation of the Wa Na Palace. She also appealed to the Government to help build a modern type for Tarkwa. She said the Palace the first President of Ghana built for the community had been turned into a police station.

Mr Kojo Armah, CPP-Evalue-Gwira said the Wa Na' Palace served as a model for the Old America Embassy, now occupied by the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs.

He threw his weight behind the calls for rehabilitation to avoid the Palace going waste like other national monuments that had been left to vagaries of the weather.

Minority Leader and MP for Nadowli North, Mr Alban Sumanu Kingsford Bagbin said the possession of the property by security agents and not the local people, as well as its declaration as World Heritage site make it necessary for the nation to take urgent measures to save the situation.

Nana Akomea, NPP-Ablekuma North, and former Minister of Tourism, said palaces and monuments, represents chieftaincy, which were at the heart of the Ghanaian heritage and culture.

He said the rehabilitation of national monuments went beyond the District Assembly and queried why the nation did not have a National Heritage Site if the Wa Na's Palace had been declared a World Heritage Site.

Nana Akomea suggested that the National Museums and Monuments Board should be given the status of an Authority and suggested further that that discussion on chieftaincy should be devoid of partisan considerations.

Source: GNA