The Konor of Manya Krobo Traditional Area, Nene Sakite II, has stated that there is no agreement to show that residents of the area are exempted from the payment of electricity bills.
According to him, no memorandum of understanding (MoU) nor any other documentary proof existed to that effect since the period of the First Republic.
He made the point when the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye
Darfour, his deputy, Mr Samuel Nuertey Ayertey, the Eastern Regional
Police Commander, Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr Adu Amankwa, and other
officials of the region visited him at his palace in Krobo-Odumase
yesterday in the aftermath of last Wednesday’s violence that led the
death of one person and injuries to seven others.
The people of the area have been protesting electricity bills submitted to them by the Power Distribution Service (PDS), claiming that there was an agreement dating back to the period of the first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, that exempted them from paying electricity bills.
The PDS had cut off power to many homes because of the non-payment of the bills.
Weeks of tension in the Lower Manya Krobo municipality exploded into massive disturbances when demonstrators clashed with the police, which led to the death and injuries.
Nene Sakite said going forward, he was going to hold a stakeholders’ meeting in the traditional area, as well as with the PDS, for an amicable settlement of the problem.
He entreated all in the area to remain calm and go about their normal activities.
According to the PDS, from 2014 to April 2019, the bills had reached GH¢86 million.
Konor not happy
The Paramount Chief spoke strongly against the disturbances in the area.
“Let me say that I am not happy about the incident and its outcome and condemn it without any reservation,’’ he added.
However, he said, he would work with other stakeholders to ensure that the incident never occurred again.
Nene Sakite said in spite of the fact that there was a problem,
demonstrations which led to the shooting were not the best and hoped a
lasting solution would soon be found for peace to prevail.
Regional Minister grateful
Mr Darfour thanked the Konor for his decision to intervene for the amicable settlement of the problem.
He said the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) would alsoensure that whatever needed to be done to find a lasting solution to the problem was done.
“The Regional Security Council (REGSEC) will also join hands with the Municipal Security councils in both Lower Manya Krobo and Yilo Krobo to ensure that peace prevails in the two municipalities,’’ he stated.
He assured the people of the two municipalities that security would be provided to protect lives and properties until it became necessary to withdraw the security and asked the two assemblies to co-operate for as long as the security remained in the area.
He also assured the people that the Minister of Energy, Mr John-Peter Amewu, would be in the two municipalities to address the issue concerning the payment of the bills.
The regional minister and his entourage later visited the injured persons on admission at the Agomanya St Martin’s Hospital, near Odumase-Krobo.
As of 1:40 p.m. when the team visited the hospital, four out of the six victims admitted had been discharged.
An 18-year-old final-year student of the Odumase Anglican Junior High School, Ruth Makata, and a 41-year-old farmer from Wawase in the Lower Manya municipality, Kortey Tetteh, whose situations were critical, had been referred to the Koforidua St Joseph’s Hospital.
Mr Darfour asked the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly to take full responsibility for their treatment and medical bills.
The Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Simon Kweku Tetteh, said what happened was quite unfortunate and appealed to the people to remain calm.
He reiterated the regional minister’s advice that the assembly was going to cater for the medical expenses of the injured until they fully recovered and were discharged.
Dr Stephen Kusi, specialist surgeon at the hospital, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, said the deceased, whose body was deposited at the hospital morgue, was yet to be identified and appealed to the people to help identify it.
In the municipalities, especially Lower Manya Krobo, calm had returned, as many people were seen going about their businesses.
The Presiding Member of the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly, who is also the Assembly Member for the Odumase-South Electoral Area, Mr Benjamin Mensah Awulley, stressed the need for the citizens of the area to remain calm.
He explained that people who had problems with their bills, especially those who had not been receiving their bills, contacted him and he led them to the PDS office for their challenges to be addressed.
A 47-year-old business woman, Madam Esther Maku Nater, suggested to the PDS to ensure that something concrete was done about the bills that were creating the problem.
About 8 p.m. last Wednesday, power was restored and calm returned to both Somanya and Odumase-Krobo.