Regional News Fri, 30 Jan 2004

NRC ends sitting in Ho

Ho, Jan. 30, GNA- Mr Yaw Frank Yentumi, 23, a petitioner from Dambai told the public sitting of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) in Ho on Friday, that he was ten years old in 1989, when his father Mr Kofi Yentumi was shot dead in the Dambai market by Militiamen from Krachi.

He said they were led by Alhaji Salisu Bio, who was then the District Chief Executive.

He said the Militia men were there on a market day to collect market tolls at a time the people of Dambai were protesting against they being put under the Kete-Krachi District.

Mr Yentumi said when he heard of the tragedy he rushed from school to find his father in a pool of blood as he was shot in the head. He said the militiamen were neither arrested nor tried.

He said as the last child of a family of nine children, he dropped out of school in class six and because his older siblings were married, they could not finance his education further.

Mr Yentumi said he managed to get trained as a driver in Koforidua recently and obtained a driver's license.

He pleaded with the Commission to assist him to get employed. Responding Bishop Charles Palmer-Buckle, member of the Commission requested Mr Yentumi to deposit an application with the Commission to see what could be done for him.

Okyeame Kwasi Kumah of Dambai also told the Commission that eight of them who were considered vocal in protesting against Dambai and Asukawkaw being part of the Krachi District, were arrested and bundled to Accra where they were detained for three weeks.

He said while he was asleep on his compound at about 1300 hours on March 13, 1989, he woke up suddenly to see his house surrounded by Policemen who ordered him to come along with them.

Okyeame Kuma said since he was then in his pants because of the heat at that time, he requested to be allowed to dress properly he was slapped by a Policeman, and this affected his eye which was operated upon. He said he could not understand why a legitimate protest and request that Dambai and Asukawkaw be given a separate District could attract the treatment meted out to him and his colleagues.

Nana Otapo Abronye III, of Krachikrom told the Commission, that his people were not resettled by the Volta River Authority (VRA) following the construction of the Akosombo Dam.

He said the community lost its shrine house and a number of personal items while escaping from the floods to their present location, which was provided by a family member.

When asked by Professor Henrietta Mensa Bonsu why he swore by the Bible when he claimed he was the owner of the shrine, which he wanted to be replaced, Nana Abronye said he inherited the shrine which was powerless but his Christian belief preceded that inheritance.

" What is the meaning of your name Abronye", asked Bishop Palmer-Buckle.

"It means it is not good to do evil", Nana Abronye replied. "Leave according to your name if you are writing to the VRA", Bishop Palmer-Buckle told him.

Mr Alexander Dominic Kofi Sunkwa, a Teacher who said he is the youth leader of Krachi complained to the Commission about the after effects of the resettlement of a number of communities in the Krachi district following the construction of the Akosombo dam.

He claimed no consultation was done with the people who were bundled one day by a group of soldiers into trucks amidst protests to their new settlements located in an inhospitable environment.

Mr Sunkwa claimed that there was not enough land for the people to farm and they had to migrate to the Kwahu area to resettle.

He said a number of petitions to the VRA over the general deplorable conditions in the new settlements were not responded to.

Mr Sunkwa admitted that funds from the VRA Settlement Trust Fund had been used to finance a number of community projects but what was required, was direct assistance to the inhabitants to make their houses decent and habitable.

In all 73 petitioners appeared before the Commission during it's nine-day public sitting which ended in Ho on Friday. In his closing remarks, Mr Justice K. Etrew Amuah-Sekyi Chairman of the Commission thanked the Volta Regional House of Chiefs for putting its premises and facilities at its disposal.

He also expressed the Commission's gratitude to the Regional Co-ordinating Council, the Police and Military and Regional Police Command for ensuring adequate security for the Commission and medical care for petitioners.

Mr Justice Amuah-Sekyi commended the Media for their accurate reporting of the proceedings saying "we did not have the occasion to call the Press to order", he said.

He urged the public to continue to follow the proceedings of the Commission "because it encourages us if we see that the public have interest in our work."

Source: GNA