…over recent cemetery brouhaha
From Richard Attenkah, Kpone
Drama unfolded at the Kpone Cemetery on Monday, when officials from the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), Tema Development Corporation (TDC), Kpone Traditional Council (KTC) and representatives of the Kpone youth converged at the cemetery to begin a fact-finding mission into last Saturday’s commotion that erupted at the cemetery.
Even before officials from the three institutions could arrive at the cemetery, the Kpone youth had started gearing up for what they termed “Action Time,” setting vehicle tyres ablaze on the major streets in the Kpone Township.
Representatives of the three institutions, including the TMA boss, Robert Kempes Ofosuware, a Member of the Council of State, Adjei Annan, and the Tema Regional Police Commander, ACP Augustine Gyenning arrived at the cemetery a little after 10:00 a.m. to establish whether there were newly-dug graves at the Kpone Royal cemetery.
The reason was that a section of the Kpone youth, during last Saturday’s commotion, alleged that a delegation from the TMA visited the KTC last Friday, and asked the Council to release more land to the Assembly to enable it expand the cemetery, but before they could come to any conclusion, the TMA had already started using the new cemetery.
The fact-finding team however, realised that the so-called graves the youth were talking about were actually old ones.
While, still deliberating on the way forward as far as the issue was concerned, one of the youth leaders, Mr. John Tetteh, who was a member of ex-vice president Aliu Mahama’s campaign team for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate for 2008, came to confront the Member of the Council of State accusing him as going on air to attack him (Tetteh) and the spokesman of the Kpone youth, Mr. William Josiah, as NPP members who are out to discredit the Mills administration.
This erupted into a heated argument between Mr. Tetteh and the Member of the Council of State, which eventually attracted the attention of all present.
While the discussions were going on the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, who is also a Minister of State at the office of the President, Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo arrived at the cemetery to help in solving the problem.
Again, Mr. Tetteh confronted the MP for the area over allegations that he (the MP) had accused him and Mr. Josiah of being NPP supporters who were organising the youth to demonstrate on the issue to discredit the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
But, before one could say Jack, the two started insulting each other, thus inflaming passions at the cemetery.
Nii Laryea referred to the two Kpone youth leaders, Mr. Tetteh, and Mr. Josiah, who is a former NPP parliamentary candidate for the Kpone-Katamanso constituency in 2004, as ‘useless beings.’
It took the combined efforts of ACP Augustine Gyenning and the Kpone District Police Commander, Laar-Barman, to bring the situation under control.
The Chairman of the Kpone Youth Association, Mr. David Akpeng, debunked allegations flying around that they were being instigated to embark on their action by some NPP loyalists, saying “what is happening has nothing to do with politics.”
Mr. Akpeng told the paper in an interview that the people of Kpone had been cheated for far too long, stressing, “This time we will not sit down for anybody to cheat us again.”
He said the government, in 1952, forcefully took 17,000 acres of land from them. The TMA also took a large stretch of land from them in the 1980s, and gave it to artisans in Tema to operate on.
He explained that again, the TMA created the Kpone land-fill site, where all the refuse collected in the Tema Metropolis and its environs were dumped, as well as the cemetery where all residents in the metropolis bury their dead ones.
“Until about a year and half ago, human waste collectors were dumping their waste into one of the water bodies we used to fish from, called Gao Lagoon, near the Tema Manhean end of the sea, and ended up ‘killing’ the water body.
“From the ongoing, it is very clear that TMA has taken us for granted, and as a result, brings us only things that are not good for our development, but from this time on, we will not allow such things to be dumped on us any longer,” he said.
Indeed, but for the wise decision of the police not to allow the entourage to proceed to the KTC to hold a meeting with the Kpone Paramount Chief over how to resolve the issue, there would have been chaos in the town.