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The Bono East Capital Debate   
 
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11-Jan-2019  
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Prince Yaw Donyina /Fmr MCE Techiman
 
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The issue of "capital town" for the newly created Bono East Region is generating a lot of interest on various social media platforms and radio stations

We (Techiman people) decided not to put pressure on the President knowing that he'd do the right thing in its time.

All we heard was a meeting held in Atebubu to collect signatures of various chiefs to support their bid for the regional capital. Interestingly it is believed that only 4 out of the 16 member paramount chiefs signed their document

But for the insults, name calling, false accusations, the threats of "fishing people out" people who are reported to have push their chief to support Techiman, for what purposes we don't know, I'd consider the exercise a healthy one for the new region. It shows we're deepening democracy

We're exercising our democratic right to have a belief and to legitimately fight for what we believe in. To that extent, I won't fault anyone who's chosen to invest his thoughts on Atebubu becoming a capital .

However, my worry is the mischief I sense reading some of the posts on various platforms.

It must be made clear from the onset that *It is the president (jubilee house)* who has the constitutional mandate to name a capital.

To that effect he's set up a committee to consult and report back to him.

The Justice Brobbey Commission that went round the country *WERE NOT* mandated to work on capitals. I followed their work closely, attended some of the public hearings. Wherever they went, part of Justice Brobbey's welcoming statement was to caution the people on the capital issue "Nananom we've not come here to discuss capital towns so don't talk about that in your contribution" so those constantly referring to the commission's report should check what they're reading. 

To that extent, many of the discussions and debates on various platforms may just be for
- academic purposes
- feel good factor - at least our people will know that that we also "said some"
It may not get anywhere

The mischief is the attempt by those who should know better but have deliberately hyped their town as being the most qualified one so that in the event of their preferred town not winning, they'll blame the President. Meanwhile a little check of the literature would have informed them of what goes into the selection of a place as a regional capital thereby opening their eyes to the real facts on the ground

Some have been misled to believe that all that it takes to be a capital is "centrality" 

.....and that is my biggest worry.

I'm going to try to prepare the minds of our brothers in the various towns especially Atebubu to be able to make an informed decision whether to continue to erroneously believe that they have what it takes to be a regional capital

In the first place, I'd like to commend the youth who have Techiman as their preferred town for the capital for heeding the call to stay calm and not abuse anyone on this capital issue. Guided by the story of two women who battled over the ownership of a child in the Bible and Wise King Solomon's approach at solving it; we saw that there could be some actions similar to that of the "illegitimate claimant". They were to behave as the "legimate claimant" and rightly so "Holy Bible (KJV) 1Kings 3:16......" knowing what we've been through since the inception of the project

* how Techiman conceived the idea
* how Nananom from Techiman met the President
* how the illustrious son of the region - Prof Ameyaw Akumfi - toiled to get government accept it as a viable project and moved across the length and breadth of the area
* how they struggled to get some chiefs agreed to the proposal sometimes waiting for hours outside palaces just to get the approval of chiefs to come on board
* how they have to raise funds to sponsor all activities - paying for their travels, hotels, providing cars for their funerals and other engagements only for them now after the elections, launch a campaign for funds to support their bid for capital. One would ask if u knew how to raise funds why didn't you do that from the onset

......indeed it's only in BE where you'd see this "gya me kwan a woresan me ho" hahaha

But hey! We are more focused on the need to prosecute the developmental agenda and d4 cautioned our boys not to "return fire" if provoked so that when all is done, we could bring everyone on board.

In the *literature on choosing a capital*, certain things are considered (it's not a sentimental issue but purely an academic and maybe political). Issues such as;

- location
- existing infrastructure
- potential for growth
- history
- religion etc

In the midst of the chaotic exchanges on various platforms, I've seen some interesting writeups

For eg

There was a beautiful piece on "the need for *a law to stop rampant agitations for regions....*.". Just b4 then, the Hon fmr MP of Atebubu promised to come up with something. All we saw was that article under someone's name. The speed with which the Hon MP tagged the said article and commended it raised an eyebrow even so that the writer (like a lizards toilet) veered off its course to attempt to talk about capital. Sadly he was way off the mark. He, like many others from Atebubu, based his argument only on centrality

*CENTRALITY*

Granted! Centrality is an important point to consider when looking for a capital city
This is to aid citizens of the area to have easy access to governance.

A quick contact to the *survey department* indicates that the real central place in the Bono East Region is Abease. Therefore all genuine proponents of the "central city" arguments should rather be advocating for Abease.

*Why not Abease*?

When i confronted one of my Atebubu friends with this fact, his response was "what has Abease to be made a Regional Capital"?
In effect, his argument was that, Abease is less developed to handle a Regional Capital.

So to my Atebubu brothers, they conceded that Abease is the centre however the place is less developed to handle the capital city

1. If the argument (and this has been championed many times by our Atebubu brothers) is about getting an underdeveloped place to get developed, then Abease - the physical central place - should be the place bcs they better fit Atebubu's criteria - centrality and underdeveloped - more than Atebubu

2. To Atebubu, a capital town should have at least a certain level of development. (I'll return to it later on)

*Accessibility*

*In development planning, centre is not just the physical place, but more importantly a place that is accessible*. (Those interested in the subject can contact any expert on development planning for further enlightenment)

Check this scenario!
1. Kintampo is seen as the centre of the country. Yet Techiman will be more be favoured as such than Kintampo bcs it is *Techiman that is more accessible from all parts of the country* - Techiman is second to Kumasi in this regard

2. The journey from Kwame Danso to Atebubu can be done in say 30 min and that of Atebubu to Nkz too if well constructed. To my brothers in Kwame Danso, they'd rather have the roads done and travel in a good car for say 1 or 2 hours to Techiman than having a capital in Atebubu and sit in an old rickety car for 1 or 2 hours to a capital called Atebubu

The population of Kintampo, Nkoranza and Techiman forms about 2/3 of the entire Bono East population. For these 6 constituencies, they can reach their administrative centre in Techiman in less than an hour.

Policy makers first target the larger population, not neglecting the smaller ones tho. That is why roads like Kwame Danso - Atebubu - Nkz, Amanten - Nkz, Prang - Abease - Kintampo are topmost on the agenda to open up the region

*Potential for growth*

It's clear that in Ghana, apart from Kumasi, the most accessible city is Techiman.
It's not only accessible to the people of Bono East but the enire country - northern, upper east, upper west, brong and the ashanti regions but more importantly, Techiman has international links. All the neighbouring countries (remember the ECOWAS Treaty?) have a strong presence in the Techiman economy. Techiman is the hub of a lot of biz activities with those countries. It's only those with limited understanding of international relations and international trade who'll downplay the importance of this fact. From its solid Base in Techiman, It can easily trickle down to other parts of the region

*History*

A brother from Kintampo wrote a nice piece on how history favours Kintampo that somewhere around independence time, Kintampo was the regional capital
Yes, to some people, our history matters when selecting a capital and that is OK.

However what he failed to realise was that Ghana's history did not start at independence. Any historian with the elementary knowledge of how our country came into being will underscore the importance of Techiman - Bonokyempem in the Akan history in general and Bono in particular. So when it comes to history, I'd recommend FK Buah and other writers for those who'd want to have a little knowledge on the subject.
Techiman has no equal in that area too

*Religion*

The literature on religion points to a situation where the dominant religion of place determines where a capital should go. Maybe bcs of the historical links to the people or bcs of the importance they attach to that particular religion

In our case, the issue of religion is to assess what went into the thinking of the various religious bodies in choosing Techiman as their regional capital. Most of them have had a conference/diocese in Techiman for decades taking care of this part of the region. Looking at the research base of these religious bodies, the intellectual base etc it'll not be farfetched to conclude that they did a lot of consultation; travelled across the length and breadth of the area; and importantly prayed and fasted for divine direction before settling on Techiman. They've gone ahead to build magnificent edifices as their headquarters. Certainly they've made the work of selecting Techiman a lot easier for the President
Any researcher will include "their work " as part of his
"literature review"

At the last check
- the Catholic Church
- Seventh Day Adventist Church
- Founting Gate Chapel
- Deeper life Christian ministry
- The Church of Pentecost
- Islamic Moslem Mission
- Ahmadiyya Moslem Mission
- Al-Sunnah Wal Jamah etc
....all have Techiman as their headquarters for this area
Is government going to ask them to relocate?
Your guess is as good as mine

*Existing infrastructure or the level of development*

It is one of the major things we look for in selecting a capital (let anyone who's bothered, instead of making fun of it, search for literature on the subject for some education)

As indicated earlier when discussing centrality,
Atebubu believes Abease - the centrally located town - is not qualified bcs she has no facilities befitting a regional capital

Meanwhile when you point to the facilities in Techiman as against that of Atebubu;

- for eg my Hon Fmr MP of Atebubu *calls it overrated Techiman*; Lemme make this point clear! Techiman can compete on the national scale. Accra/Tema, Cape Coast (bcs of the schools), Takoradi, Kumasi, Tamale, Techiman will come next in terms of size, population, availability of infrastructure etc. This cannot be an overrated city
For years it was only Techiman and Obuasi that were non regional capitals among the *12 elite Metro and Municipal club*. To put it in a local palance, "those were the days when Municipals were municipals" Techiman should have been Metropolitan long ago

- *others call it counting of everything*! Once there are things to be counted, they ought to be counted. When it's between Atebubu and Abease, my brothers in Atebubu finds it expedient to count for eg their 1 bank and 2 rural banks and point to lack of same in Abease

- Others think *Techiman should allow Atebubu to also have some development* saying Techiman is already developed (indeed it has been the main cry of the people of the people of Atebubu)
It is important to emphasise that
* Techiman did not get those facilities because it was a regional capital
* Those facilities were not done by central government.
Indeed all assemblies when created had an assembly block build by central government. That of Techiman was started by my 2 predecessors whilst I came to complete it with over 60% of the work
We positioned ourselves long ago for this. This is what we call *strategic planning/thinking*

Development will not come by magic or be rained down like "manna from heavens for the Israelites" There are agents of development - technocrats. *Any report commissioned by the UN or any agency or Ghana government on why civil/public servants refuses posting to the rural areas* will among other reasons, cite the lack of basic infrastructure as the main cause. That is why governments spend huge sums of money to provide those amenities.

Research upon research have shown that the availability of these are some of the surest ways of curbing rural urban migration

As a new region, competing with the existing and newly created ones for developmental projects, issues like lack of portable drinking water - drinking from same wells with animals (as narated by Atebubu residents on TV 3 news recently); lack of proper schools, roads etc should not become a barrier to our developmental agenda

It is therefore in our own interest to have a place where there is a sizeable portion of these amenities to attract the best in the field to prosecute our agenda. We can't wait for one town to use all our resources to develop her place before turning to the rest

It'll also ease the burden on government to have enough space to plan for the region

Take the issues of banks for eg!

Atebubu has one commercial bank - ADB. So assuming I want to send money to my wards in school, family etc, the only option in Atebubu is ADB

*2 Rural banks*
* Yapra
*;Amantin Kasei

*1 Micro finance*
* GN

Techiman has

*Over 15 Commercial Banks*

* ADB
* GCB
* UMB - Universal Merchant Bank
* NIB - National Investment Bank
* GT Bank
* CBG - Consolidated Bank
* OMNI Bank
* Republic Bank (HFC)
* Ecobank
* Barclays Bank
* Access Bank
* First Atlantic
* FBN
* Fidelity Bank
* Atlantic Bank

*Over 9 rural banks* most of these perform far better in Techiman than their home town

* Kasseman
* Wamfie
* First Allied Savings and Loans
* Kintampo
* Fiagya
* Opportunity Savings
* Badman
* Nkoranza Kwabre

*Over 10 Unions and Savings and Loans*

* Abosomakotre
* Ebenezer
* Sinapi Aba
* Pentecost
* Techiman Area Teachers
* Bayport Financial services
* Utrack financial services
* Dalex financial services
* Multi-Credit
* Trinity Presby
* Baccsod
* Baptist

Would you say these are not important?

The Banks/Financial Institutions do not just move to a place. They do a lot of studies and projections which I know the committee would look at those.

What I'd have anyone in Atebubu n their later coalition partners (if it ever gets that far) desirous of seeing their area grow do, is to find out how Techiman's been able to develop so fast assuming what someone wrote recently is true (someone wrote that Nkz, Kintampo etc were all once ahead of Techiman)

*Fuel stations*

Imagine u get to the city late night and uv run out of fuel, your chances of getting fuel in Techiman looks far brighter than Atebubu

The last time I checked
*Atebubu has 4 fuel stations*

*Techiman town alone (without the outskirts) has more than 30*

*Revenue mobilisation*

The biggest problem facing the ministry of local government and rural development is how to get the various assemblies raised enough revenue to augment central government's work and be able to carry out some little little activities instead of always waiting for statutory funds from central government.

Whereas the checks from the treasury shows Techiman's always been among the top 10, they're still searching for the position of Atebubu. I'd be glad if my brothers could get that for us. The last time we heard, they needed a whole contingent of the police and the army to collect rates

As for *schools the figure is staggering*

The concerns of many civil/public servants is how to get proper schools for their children and for themselves. The fear is, they move to an area where these facilities are lacking, by the time they come back to the city, their counterparts they left behind would have gotten further degrees from evening and part time courses taken in various institutions. The children of their colleagues would have secured admission into higher institutions bcs they had better schools
They're therefore forced to go back every weekend
- to visit their families
- attend classes

When going to work on Fridays, they carry their bags, by 11 they leave office
They set off on Mondays to come back to office. Check the number of hours lost to the state.
Folks we cannot risk it on Atebubu

Atebubu has at most these number of schools

Kindergarten/JHS 20
SHS 2
College of education 1

Techiman has over
200 Kindergarten - Junior High
About 10 SHS
About 5 (training colleges) and Universities

*Hospitality sector*

I read on many occasions how people were calling the Techiman guys to ask Prof Ameyaw Akumfi where he slept in all his trips to Atebubu
I've been with that illustrious son of the region for decades. Even if you decide to put him in my "atakwame mud family house" he wouldn't mind. Therefore to those who's only response to the lack those facilities in the town was "asking where Prof slept" is neither here nor there. It does not negate the fact that they're lacking there

A major headache the people who took the commissioners around had, was where to put them when they got to Atebubu

*Atebubu has 4 Guests* Houses - Kwapongs, Modena and 2 others

*Techiman has over 90* hotels and Guest houses. *More than 20 of these* hotels have conference facilities that can take hundreds/thousands of people at a time

For years, some government institutions have their regional (or part) offices in Techiman

GRA
SNNIT
VRA/NEDCO
Irrigation
Vertinany
Root and Tubers
Regional tourist board
Regional EPA office

Garages (Magazine)

Apart from Kumasi the biggest magazines' located in Techiman

Indeed the second is a more modern project called light industrial area

I heard Atebubu has earmarked the E block to serve as a *RCC administrative office*

If E block is the choice, then Techiman has 2.
But there's no need for that. We'd allow the children to study in those blocks.

We have a well deserved place for all that until such a time that government would be ready to build a befitting administrative blocks

*Security and Court*

We have modern facility recently commissioned by his excellency President Nana Add ready and capable of accommodating the existing Divisional and Regional Command
There's over 15acre land attached for expansion

A contigent of the army have been in Techiman over the years

Getting an esblished place for them won't be difficult

*Agro processing*

Almost all the biggest cashew buying companies are based in Techiman. There are plenty big warehouses for their work

In addition there Andrew existing companies like
* Ghana Nuts Company Ltd
* Raj Kumar Impex Ltd
* international oil Co
* Techiman Tomatoes Processing Co

*Aviation*

Techiman started work on an airstrip during my time as the MCE. indeed the place was certified for a light aircraft to land there a couple of times .
Nananom have earmarked a bigger place to surpass that of Kumasi and Sunyani

*Market*

Undoubtedly the biggest food market in the sub region can be found in Techiman with other satellite ones

*Health*

3 major Mission hospital with the Holy Family serving as the "de facto" referral hospitals, 6 major NHIS accredited hospitals, a polyclinic and over 15 clinics and maternity homes, the health needs of the people would be well catered for. I can go on and on

What I want our brothers in Atebubu to realise is that these and other political factors are what we consider in selecting a city as a capital

It is not just centrality - which is even not Atebubu.

My advice is urge them stop moving from one chief (prominent personality) to the other

They shouldn't raise the hopes of our people too much in order not to cause disaffection for our President

Techiman stands tall

"Nea wapot) 3nkyiri s3 )de b) mu"



















 
 
Source: Prince Yaw Donyina /Fmr MCE Techiman
 
 

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