“I HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR MAHAMA,”
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah says he will never address the youth groups who recently protested against the government over the poor nature if their roads in the region because they did not respect his office.
According to him, he has no respect for the demonstrators because most of them who were Assembly members should have contacted him or channelled their grievances to him before embarking on those demonstrations.
“THEY ARE NOT MY FOCUS; MY FOCUS IS ON THE PEOPLE OF THE ASHANTI REGION, FOR WHOSE WELLBEING AND DEVELOPMENT I HAVE BEEN APPOINTED THEIR MINISTER AND NOT THOSE WHO EMBARKED ON THE DEMONSTRATION; I WILL NOT ADDRESS THEM”
“As for them I don’t respect them and I won’t address them; because they did not show me respect by organizing those demonstrations. Some of them are assemblymen, as they should have channeled their grievances through their respective chief executives or even through me, ask them if they did any such steps”, he said on Accra based Neat FM.
“They are not my focus; my focus is on the people of the Ashanti region, for whose wellbeing and development I have been appointed their minister and not those who embarked on the demonstration; I will not address them”, he fumed.
The Ashanti Regional Capital, Kumasi last week was bustling with demonstrations by youth groups, demanding a fair share of development for the region which has since long been the stronghold of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), with little to show for that loyalty.
Last Thursday, residents of Abuakwa in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality demonstrated over the abandonment of the Sofoline Interchange project, warning to march naked on the Jubilee House if the Tanoso-Abuakwa stretch is not completed as soon as possible.
The demonstration was fronted by a group which calls itself the Youth Coalition for Progress, as thousands poured onto the streets clad in red and chanting war songs to register their displeasure to government.
The Kumasi Youth Association (KuYA), together with the Asante Youth Association (AYA), Asante Development Union (ADU), Kumasi Youth Association (KUYA), and Adansi Youth Association also championed another march on Friday, demanding a swift response from government as to why works have stalled on almost all government projects in the Ashanti region, in a demonstration dubbed “Asanteman Ky3fa” (Asanteman’s Portion).
The shine of the demonstration was however blighted after the Ashanti Regional Police Command served a court injunction on the protest in the middle of the march.
Riot police also took over the entrances to the Manhyia Palace to stop the demonstrators from presenting their petition to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Four sub-chiefs, including the Saamanhene were however delegated by the king to receive the petition on his behalf.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon Simon Osei Mensah has however served notice that in the coming days, work would begin in earnest on all the abandoned road projects in the region since according to him, the government has released funding to that effect.