Constituency Executives of Fanteakwa North NDC organized a press conference on 12 February to condemn the MP of Fanteakwa North Constituency, Hon. Amankwa Asiamah, for his untoward utterances on the Fulani Herdsmen saga.
The party picked issues at his tacit attempt to blame the DCE and the NDC Parliamentary candidate for Fanteakwa North, Hon. Abass Fuseini Sbaabe, for the atrocities being committed by some Fulanis in the district.
Incidentally, both the DCE and the incumbent NPP MP are the candidates for their respective parties in this year’s election. In 2012, Hon. Amankwa Asiamah and Hon. Abass Fuseini Sbaabe were the main contenders for the Fanteakwa North seat.
The incumbent MP won the seat marginally with a difference of less than 1000 votes. The party said the DCE for the area had evolved the best strategies for dealing with the Alien Fulani herdsmen and that is why the situation in the area is calm – though Fanteakwa has as many herdsmen as Agogo or more.
The party enumerated successes chalked through the efforts of Hon. Abass Fuseini Sbaabe and the Fanteakwa District Assembly to reduce the menace posed by Fulani Herdsmen in the district.
The press conference was chaired by the Constituency Chairman, Hon. Christopher Narh, and read by the Constituency Secretary, Hon. Philip Kwaku Asumaning. The NDC party picked issues with two statements made by Hon. Amankwa Asiamah on Adom TV’s program BEDWAM on 8th February.
“It was disheartening to hear Hon. Amankwa Asiamah making statements to the effect that the DCE just gave numbers to the Fulanis and gave them underserved legitimacy. The registration of Fulani herdsmen in the District was the first proactive measure taken to identify all the herdsmen and their cattle operating in the District.
“The registration process is not just about embossing the jackets of the Fulani herdsmen with numbers. It was meant to make it easier for security agents to pick them up when they go astray” – a strong correction was made to that effect.
Strong points were also stressed, that;
1 All Fulani herdsmen in the district registered with the district assembly with their photographs. 2 Each herdsman bears an ID card to properly identify them and their employers.
3 Each Fulani herdsman wears a reflective jacket with special numbers that correspond to his registration number. The numbers are boldly embossed to allow victims to identify them from afar. The district made it an offence for any herdsman to follow his cattle without a jacket to identify them.
4 No landlady or landlord has the right to allocate land to a Fulani herdsman in the district without a permit from the district assembly apart from the above measures which were put in place.
The district assembly has established stringent measures to curb the activities of recalcitrant herdsmen. Henceforth, all cattle owners are supposed to paint the horns of their animals. Each colour is unique with each cattle owner and alien herdsmen and cattle owners are supposed to produce their resident permits before being allowed to operate in the district.
“The above, are measures put in place by the Fanteakwa District under the leadership of Hon. Abass Fuseini Sbaabe to reduce the menace posed by alien Fulani herdsmen”, the secretary enumerated.
The party debunked the assertion made by the Hon. Asiamah that Hon. Abass had agreed with some people to allow Fulanis entry into the district. The secretary was emphatic on that issue.
“On the issue of Fulanis relocating from Agogo to Begoro, the DCE made it abundantly clear that the Fanteakwa District Assembly is NOT prepared to accept any herdsmen from any district into Fanteakwa and he has made this clear on a number of platforms.”
The Fanteakwa NDC rather accused the MP of owning some of the cattle that are destroying the farms of the constituents. “Hon. Amankwa Asiamah himself is a cattle owner whose cattle have been a thorn in the flesh of farmers around Odagyayiemu and State Farms.
“He has never done anything significant to help in solving the menace of Fulanis in the District” The NDC asserted that Hon. Abass and the District Assembly had made efforts to reduce the menace of Fulani Herdsmen.
“The strategies put in place by the Hon. District Chief Execute and the District Security Council is the best means of solving the question of alien Fulani herdsmen. Many Districts such as Kwahu East, Afram Plains North and South have learnt so much from the Fanteakwa District Assembly and have been able to manage the situation to an appreciable level.
“We are aware that due to good security measures put in place, no single cow belonging to the Fulanis from Agogo has entered the Fanteakwa District. It is therefore delusional for the MP and his political cohorts to plan on going on demonstrations in the district on this issue to secure non-existent political points”, the Secretary stated.
The NDC party is of the view that the Member of Parliament seems to be ignorant of the happenings in the party because he is an absentee Assembly Man. “Hon. Member of Parliament seems to be ignorant of the happenings at the District Assembly level.
“For more than 7 years after assuming office as a member of parliament, he has attended District Assembly meetings twice and on each occasion, he spent less than 30 minutes. It is therefore not strange that he seems to be ignorant of the decisions of the Assembly and the reasons behind those decisions” the secretary revealed.
The Fanteakwa North NDC had a piece of advice for the MP.
“We want to use this opportunity to advise Hon. Amankwa Asiamah to focus on helping to salvage his collapsing Fanteakwa Rural Bank whose five branches have made thousands of people miserable in the country.
We want to assure him that the issue of Fulani herdsmen want be available for him to use politically. We are aware that he is desperate for campaign messages because of his lackluster performance for almost 8 years that the people of Fanteakwa voted for him to represent them”
The NDC picked issue with another statement made by the MP on that programme to the effect that the economic hardships in the district had reduced patronage of two major markets in the area.
“We were surprised to hear the MP lamenting over the hardships being faced by market women in the Fanteakwa District. We want to place on record that Hon. Amankwa Asiamah has a direct hand in the economic challenges being faced by market women in the district.
It will be recalled that when the MP arrived in the country, he established a bank and named it Fanteakwa Rural Bank. The bank in no time, created five branches in; Begoro, Osiem, Koforidua, Suhum and Anyinam.
Due to mismanagement, embezzlement and inefficiency, the bank has collapsed and it did so with the savings of poor farmers, market women, churches and budding businessmen.
These people are now facing serious financial difficulties and so the challenges he alluded to on the programme are his own creations”, the Secretary to the Constituency lamented.
In a telephone interview with Koforidua based radio station, Bryt FM, the MP, debunked the allegation that he had some cattle. He said those animals were kept on his farm by the brother of the Chief of Begoro but when pushed further to mention names, the MP said he could not remember the name of the person.
He claimed that those who organized the press conference against him were “small boys” of the DCE who were out to malign him.