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Asante group replies Bishop Dag; says Asantehene’s achievements are unmatched

Asantehene turns 71 today

A group known as the Asante Professionals Club, is incensed about some comments made against the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, by the founder and leader of the Lighthouse Chapel International, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills.

The group’s outrage about the “disparaging comments” stems from what they say was the Bishop’s “complete ignoramus utterances.”

In a viral audio, the renowned global evangelist in a sermon about kingship cited the Asantehene as an example and questioned his impact and legacy beyond the yearly celebrations of his reign.

Not only has the message offended the King’s subjects amidst social media anger, but there are also some persons who have threatened to attack Lighthouse Chapel branches in Kumasi, the seat of the Asantehene.

However, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills has apologized to the Asanehene explaining that the offensive sermon was preached 20 years ago.

He also thanked the King for handling the matter “graciously”.

But in a statement to set the records straight, the Asante Professionals Club maintained that since Otumfuo’s enthronement in April 1999, he has been an agent of peace and development in Asanteman and beyond.

Key amongst Otumfuo’s unmatched achievements the group says includes the following:

  • Establishment of the $45 million Bodukwan Multi-Fruit Processing Factory
  • Establishment of the $95 million Kumasi Mall
  • Establishment of $100 million Asanteman Development Fund
  • Otumfuo Education Fund providing scholarship to brilliant but needy students
  • Support to the Government of Ghana in engaging the Bretton Wood institutions and other investors
  • Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Foundation supports rural communities with educational infrastructure, computers and healthcare.
  • Securing $174million to support Ghana’s educational sector
  • Otumfuo undertook the Manhyia Palace COVID19 Humanitarian Relief valued at $1million
  • Conflict resolution under the 2002 Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis
  • Institutionalization of the Kumasi Declaration in the 2012 Presidential & Parliamentary elections
  • Establishment of the Asanteman Broadcasting Cooperation (ABC)

That’s not all, the Asantehene is said to have provided educational assistance to hundreds of thousands of young Ghanaians to become the doctors, engineers, and other technical experts the country desperately needs.

“In particular, under Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, over 600,000 students have benefitted from full scholarships and financial support through the Otumfuo Education Fund.

Additionally, close to one (1) million desks and another one (1) million school materials have been distributed to students across the country.

According to the group, “What is interesting to note is that the beneficiaries of all of these social interventions are not limited to Asantes but drawn from all the ethnic groups across the country”, the statement read in parts.

In his apology statement however, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills Mills also acknowledged the achievements of the Asantehene over the years.

Source:citinewsroom

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Culture/Tourism

A trip to Tafi Atome where bananas do not grow

his journey on which we are embarking is catapulting us to one of the fertile lands in the Volta region which supports the growth of every food crop except banana.

The land is the home to the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and Cultural Village, one of the most popular tourist sites in Ghana.

Yes, the banana plant, although very economical is the dream produce of farmers in any part of the country for growth, but the monkeys which are the ‘land owners’ of Tafi Atome ‘laid an embargo on its cultivation.

Farmers here put themselves at risk with any plans towards the cultivation of bananas.

History

Mr Martin Fleku, an opinion leader disclosed to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the monkeys which have been in the community for over 600 years are considered sacred, therefore, not harmed but protected by the people.

“My grandparents said during their migration from Assin, somewhere in the Fante land, monkeys always followed them to their present stay so they see them to be sacred and always ensure their maximum protection. We do not kill them and we inform neighbouring communities too.”

He said the community used to patronise the site prior to it becoming “popular”.

Species

There are more than 300 highly endangered True Mona and Patas monkeys that inhabit the forests together with many birds and butterfly species.

The Journey

The site is a 47km ‘never a dull moment’ journey setting off from Ho, the regional capital along which you enjoy the ‘far away’ Mount Gemi and the beautiful greenly valleys and vegetation,

You would also come across foodstuffs such as mangoes, pears, pawpaw, cassava at Fume, a town forming an intersection of Hohoe to Ho and Hohoe to Kpeve route.

At this point, you would have halved your journey after close to an hour and half with the remaining half not going to be as smooth due to the bad nature of the roads with potholes.

From Logba Alakpeti, the site sits some 5km west of Alakpeti on the Accra-Hohoe Road. It is to your left hand on the Ho to Hohoe route and on the right when using the Hohoe to Ho stretch of the Eastern Corridor Road.

With the few speed rumps from Logba, the tarred road and ‘immature’ vegetation, greets and welcomes you to the Sanctuary.

In case you are using public transport, motor bikes will be at your service when you alight at Logba Alakpeti.

Seeing the Monkeys

The monkeys may be seen in the early hours of the morning or during the latter part of the day.

Once tourists finish with the necessary registrations, they are led by a tour guide to various ‘sectors’ of the forests where monkeys, through a whistle from the guide, come out of their zones to their position for bananas which are either bought along by the visitors or provided for by the guides at the site.

‘Firmly hold the banana in your hand, stretch it to any monkey around who will then jump on you and peel the banana and sometimes relax to eat if you are not nervous.’

Tourists are allowed to take numerous pics and definitely, it is a nostalgic trip to make.

Lovers of fresh palm wine also get sorted out under a cool canopied shed in the town.

Various beautifully designed kente stoles, carved artefacts, beaded necklaces, purses, African print material, and shirts are also available for purchase.

Gwen M. Murrell, a retired Chaplain from the United States of America, on her first visit to the site, told the GNA, she was impressed.

“I am impressed about the jungle itself, how peaceful, green and large it is as well as how the monkeys are friendly and numerous.”

Atome Monkey facts

Atome monkeys have a life span of 36-40 years and are divided into more than three troupes with leaders and a king named “Kakagbla” literally “Grandpa” which has four wives.

He ensures orderliness and no member of the various troupes dare disobey the king nor heads of their troupes.

The troupe heads move from one territory to another either by branch or land after spending a maximum of four hours at a territory.

The King makes an “uhum uum” sound to announce rotation of territories and respond by “am am am” from the troupe leaders to ‘acknowledge receipt’. Sounds from the king or troupe leaders depend on the situation at stake.

A monkey gets banished from its group for life if it falls while swinging from a branch to another.

Snakes and monkeys are enemies and do not reside in the same jungle.

You won’t see a monkey’s carcass because a member who gives up its ghost is carried by the troupe it belongs to and buried in a grave dug by their claws.

Troupe heads feed themselves first before any member and after feeding, they climb the highest tree to monitor and protect members while they feed.

Site Management

Mr Francis Acquaye, Manager at the site told GNA that the site had a staff strength of seven, and management of the site was like a normal daily management of an office.

He said the office got supplies of bananas from nearby communities for tourists since there was no cultivation of bananas in the town.

Site Facilities

Minimum facilities at the tourist site include reception centre, washrooms, souvenir shop, signages, home stays, car park, wire mesh, and bamboo fence walls.

Tourists can stay in the village during the night and pay for services such as home lodging, feeding, and entertainment.

Site Renovation

The Tourism Development Fund funded the upgrade of facilities at the site which was undertaken by A&B Construction Ghana Limited giving the Site a new look.

Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, former Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, commissioned the upgraded facilities of the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and Cultural Village in November 2020.

She noted that tourism was positioned as one of the strategic pillars of the transformation agenda of the government.

Revenue Generation

Data available to the GNA from the Volta Regional Directorate of the Ghana Tourism Authority revealed that the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and Cultural Village generated a total revenue of GH₵12,286.00 out of 1,662 total arrivals between January and December 2017.

For the same period in 2018, the site, out of 1,515 total arrivals, a revenue of GH₵ 11,605.00, in 2019, it generated GH₵ 32,108.00 out of 3,605 arrivals, and out of 796 total arrivals for the same period in 2020, the site’s revenue also dropped to GH₵ 8,402.00

COVID-19 and Tourism

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all tourist sites including the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary, thereby, reducing the number of arrivals and the revenue generated last year.

Safety materials are placed at the site with measures put in place to protect tourists and visitors who may visit the site.

Mr Alexander Nketia, Volta Regional Manager, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), called on tourists to visit the region and explore the numerous tourism potentials the region possessed.

Source :GNA

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Culture/Tourism

Final funeral rite for Bawumia’s mum Oct. 24

The family of Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has scheduled the final funeral rite for the late Hajia Mariama Bawumia to be held on Sunday, October 24.

The mother of the Vice President passed away peacefully on Monday, September 13 in Accra.

Her body was, then, taken to Walewale in the North-East Region, where she was buried on Tuesday, September 14 in accordance with Islamic customs.

Several dignitaries including religious and traditional leaders were in Walewale to mourn with the Vice President and his family.

On Thursday, September 16, the third-day adu’a prayers were held.

All 16 regional imams in Ghana were in Walewale to recite the entire chapters of the Holy Qur’an to seek the mercy and favours of Allah towards the departed Hajia Mariama.

Another round of recitation was done for the members of the family and all sympathisers who have been mourning with the family.

Source: 3 news

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Culture/Tourism

Tourism inspectors improve capacity for effective service delivery

A tour of Nzulezu | BreathList
Nzulezu, one of the tourism scenes in Ghana

Tourism inspectors across the country have begun a training exercise to improve upon their skills for effective service delivery in the hospitality industry.

They are also being trained in inspection and licensing processes, hotel security management, infection prevention and control and fire safety.

Other topics are inspection techniques and report writing, interpretation of architectural drawings of hospitality facilities and incorporation of COVID-19 protocols in service delivery.

The four-day programme which is being organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) started in Accra yesterday for the 65 participants.

Ensuring standards

The Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, said the inspectors would be equipped enough to ensure that tourism establishments and facilities lived up to standards.

He said the training formed part of the country’s COVID-19 alleviation and revitalisation of enterprises support (Ghana CARES) project.

The project includes building the capacity of about 10,000 people in the hospitality industry who will also undergo training for over a period of 18 months.

“This is the beginning of a comprehensive and sector-wide programme. We are not just training our inspectors, but other players within the value chain such as Uber, Bolt and Taxi drivers.

“To be able to enhance effective service delivery in the industry, stakeholders have to be given the requisite skills and training,” he added.

Revitalisation

Mr. Agyeman further mentioned other topics lined up for operators under the project to revitalise the sector to include product knowledge, basic conversational French, digital skills, customer service and sales and marketing skills within the hospitality industry.

“Focus is domestic and regional. And on regional, we know that we are more or less surrounded by francophone countries. To make our francophone brothers and sisters comfortable travelling into the country, we need to take the learning of the French language seriously,” he said.

Source : Graphiconline

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