Some angry youth of Osiekuse in the Manya Krobo Traditional Area of the Eastern Region on Sunday prevented the Divisional Chief of Piengua from launching this year’s Piengua Ngmayem Festival on the Osiekuse durbar grounds.
Nene Tetteh Zogli III, Divisional Chief of Piengua was leading some elders and people of the Piengua Traditional Area to the grounds to launch the festival slated for October 26, 2021, but the youth numbering over 300 and led by the community leader, Niewimatse Daniel Tetteh, stopped the entourage from entering the grounds to hold the function.
The youth who got wind of the impending program Sunday morning, lay in wait at the venue all day.
The incident resulted in a physical clash between the two sides with some of the youth removing the hat and sandals of the chief in the process.
The youth wielding clubs and red arm and headbands chanted to register their dissatisfaction with the actions of the divisional chief and his people.
Though the chiefs and people of Piengua have celebrated the Ngmayem Festival at the Osiekuse durbar grounds over the past years, GhanaWeb sighted several correspondences between the two sides within the past seven months regarding ownership of the grounds in question.
According to the youth, their actions bordered on President Akufo-Addo’s ban on social gatherings and the directive from the Konor of the Manya Krobo Traditional Area, Nene Sakite II against the celebration of this year’s Ngmayem festival to avert the spread of COVID-19.
Leader of the youth, Niewiamatse Daniel Tetteh in an interview with GhanaWeb justified their actions, insisting that the durbar grounds belong to the chief and people of Osiekuse against the claim to the place by Nene Tetteh Zogli.
“The divisional chief of Piengua is laying claim to our durbar grounds which was sold to him by the late youth leader of this community which we know nothing about. If we continue to allow him to come here, he’ll one day claim it as his property so we stopped him from coming here today,” he said.
He added, “Moreover, President Akufo-Addo has placed a ban on mass gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic but he wants to flout this directive so the youth have decided to stop him.”
The youth also accused Nene Tetteh Zogli III of showing gross disrespect towards the family head of the Osiekuse Community, Nomo Awasabi Gbertey Kporkpi and would hence not recognize his authority.
Responding to the claims, however, the divisional chief dismissed the assertions of the youth. He averred that the grounds in question does not belong to the people of Osiekuse but instead to the Piengua people.
“Osiekuse doesn’t belong to the youth, Osiekuse doesn’t belong to Nomo Awasabi Gbertey or his family or any family members in Osiekuse. Osiekuse belongs to Piengua since the Krobos descended the Krobo Mountains so the control of the place resides in the Piengua Matse (chief of Piengua), we hold all of our ceremonies over there,” explained the chief.
According to him, he performed renovations on the grounds to host activities of the Piengua Traditional Area.
He also accused the family head of Osiekuse of arrogating unto himself jurisdictions he has no control of including Yokuenor and Saisi and vowed to continue to lay claim to the durbar grounds.
Police Commander for Odumase, Supt. Doris Grant who led a team of policemen to the site said the police were on the scene to avert any infractions of the law.
“We had information this afternoon that there’s going to be an issue here so I called my station to mobilize men as quickly as possible,” said the police commander.
According to her, her efforts to dissuade the two factions proved futile, resulting in the clash.
On the plans by the police to beef up security in the area, she disclosed that “there are other teams that are coming into the jurisdiction to beef up our patrols for this season and they’ll be here till whenever the situation improves.”