Almost invariably, the truth, it has been said times without number, often lies somewhere in-between the claims of the two factional disputants. So while Eno Akosua Ameyaahene, Queenmother of Berekum, in Ghana’s Bono Region, may have a point in pouring libation and raining curses in a desperate bid to settling scores with the ruling New Patriotic Party’s appointed Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr. Kofi Adjei, and the party’s Regional Chairman, Mr. Kwaku Kakam – I hope I have his last name written down correctly – the grim fact of the matter is that by the end of the day, the crucial project around which this dispute revolves, that is, the need for the construction of a new public toilet facility to replace the old dilapidated and fast-crumbling one, would still be clearly unresolved (See “Queen Mother Curses Berekum MCE, NPP Executives Over Public Toilets” News Desk – Modernghana.com 2/21/20).
Before we delve any further and deeper into the details of the conflict or controversy at issue in this column, yours truly needs to underscore the fact that he has a special emotional attachment to the Berekum Township that goes as far back as the 10-year period from 1951 to 1961, or thereabouts, when his maternal grandfather, the Rev. TH Sintim (1896?-1982), was the District Pastor of the Berekum Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and District Manager of Presbyterian Schools.
As well, the two eldest siblings of yours truly had their initial earthly contact in Berekum, namely, Dr. Kwasi Ayimadu Okoampa-Ahoofe, a double-doctorate-holding Nuclear Physicist and Computer Scientist; and Mrs. Adwoa Apeakoramaa Okoampa-Ahoofe Amoh – that is exactly how she writes her name – a Dental Hygienist.
My late father, the future Prof. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Sr., (1929-2001), also taught at the Berekum Technical School. By the last sentence, it ought to have become limpidly clear to the Dear Reader that it was, indeed, in Berekum that the parents of yours truly met and struck their conjugal bond which was to last for some 44 years into the future, that is.
Now, imagine for just a split-second, Dear Reader, if my own parents and maternal grandparents, as well, had lived in a Berekum that woefully lacked adequate public toilet facilities at the time. The preceding imaginary case scenario, of course, was what actually got me deeply interested in seeing to it that the apparent impasse raging between the Berekum Municipal Chief Executive and the top hierarchy of the local branch or chapter of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) was brought to a speedy and amicable resolution.
We are informed that one of the public toilet facilities in the Berekum Township has lapsed into abject disrepair and become a virtual death trap to those who venture into the same to fulfill nature’s call. The Queenmother of the Berekum Royal Paramountcy, that is, the invested traditional leadership of the township, wants the toilet replaced by the construction of a new facility altogether.
The local government administrators and ruling party’s bosses, according to the afore-referenced news report, would hear none of this. One would have thought that the aforesaid impasse would have something to do with availability of project funding or the dire lack thereof from the State or Government’s side of the development equation, as it were. But it clearly appears that this is not really the case; for, we are further informed that a group calling itself the Berekum Citizens’ Association Abroad (BCAA) has voluntarily offered to promptly fund or underwrite the construction of a new toilet facility to replace the old one.
This is the crux of the entire conflict, we are reliably informed by the Modern Ghana reporter. There, obviously, may be far more to this story which the reporter either chose not to nosily pursue or simply did not know how to pursue, or perhaps decided was not worth his/her while to pursue. My own hunch, on the other hand, is that the ubiquitous National Democratic Congress’ devil, as it were, may very well be smack ensconced in the details.
Whatever the real or true details of this impasse may be, it absolutely cannot gainsaid that the citizens of this part of Berekum Township need this “Toiletification” project to steadily and studiously proceed without any lets or hindrances.
And that is precisely what yours truly is humbly and earnestly pleading with the local assembly representatives, party executives and the Member of Parliament for that electoral district or constituency to promptly make happen. And maybe we could to the list, the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Mr. Freddie Blay, and President Akufo-Addo as, if the President has not already been forcibly quarantined per instructions form Mr. Sydney Casely-Hayford.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York