Heavy armed police force was in Chereponi in the Northern Region on Saturday to provide security for a street demonstration over the creation of new regions after the paramount chief disapproved the protest and warned to “crush” its organizers and members.
The demonstration was organized by a not well-known group in the town protesting against the paramount chief’s refusal to accept the inclusion of Chereponi to the proposed North East Region.
The group emerged to counter the paramount chief’s protest against Dan Botwe’s ministry to move chereponi, his jurisdiction, from Northern Region to the yet to be created North East. The chief has strongly refused to join the proposed North East since a proposed map of the North East Region was released.
The chief wrote to the police on Thursday to stop the planned action and warned to “release his boys to crush” the protestors. The chief’s warning was also copied to the police subcommand in Yendi and forwarded to the regional minister’s office in Tamale, the secretary of the chief told Starr News.
But on Saturday, the group defied the chief and poured onto the dusty streets and chanted around with written placards before converging at a spot where the leaders addressed the crowd.
The demonstration was possible after armed police reinforcements from Yendi and nearby Saboba arrived and guarded the daring procession. Protesters were mostly children with handful adults who were only smiling at onlookers while the children chanted.
It is not clear who deployed the men as the paramount chief has called an emergency meeting and invited the DCE. The chief met with the DCE at his palace only Friday and repeated his caution to him not to allow the protest. The District police commander had also told the chief the matter was being handled by his superiors in Yendi. The Yendi police commander has not been responding to request for an interview since Starr News reported about the escalation last Thursday.
A palace official who spoke to Starr News said the protestors were hired by some influential personalities in the Mamprugu Traditional Area and that government was using security agencies to force its interest on the chief of chereponi and his people.
He says what happened on Saturday was evident enough that the Mamprusis have resorted to ‘ugly lobbying maneuvers’ to occupy chereponi after they failed to diplomatically secure it from the Dagbon Traditional Area.
The elder refused his identity be disclosed for now and said the chief will surely “come out and say something”.
This is the second time security forces have been deployed to counter the authority of the chief in the ongoing tensions over the creation of new regions.
More than 100 armed personnel were sent to the area when the chief attempted to stop a limited registration exercise for voters ahead of a chaotic referendum.