The GaDangme Council has vented its spleen at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) for arrogating to itself the Ga Community Centre in the Central Business District (CBD) of the Accra metropolis.
According to the Council, the Assembly, instead of handing over the centre to the traditional authorities, is using it as a source of revenue.
The Ga Community Centre is adjacent to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and opposite the Judicial Service along the beach road.
The AMA over the years has been using part of the Ga Community Centre for the motor court and as a parking lot where it charges a fee for usage.
The president of the GaDangme Council, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, raised concerns about the state of the Ga Community Centre when he inaugurated some 13 standing committees of the Council over the weekend.
He argued that the centre being used as a car park is making the AMA huge sums of money while the people of Ga Mashie do not have a community centre.
He said the lack of a community centre has led to the blocking of streets for funerals and other social gatherings in the Ga Mashie area.
“In my view, the concerns which motivated the founders to establish the Council have not receded or diminished but have reached gargantuan proportions and, like the hurricane or monsoon winds, are sweeping away the gains made,” he said.
He observed that: “GaDangme language was widely spoken and taught in schools; Ga Dangme books were in abundance; church services; singing and preaching were all done in the Ga Dangbe language and interpreted in Akan but all these have gone missing in recent times.”
''Our foods were prepared and sold widely, and we all knew Yoo ke Gari or Yoo ke Tatale (to wit Beans and Gari) today we hear the same food being referred to as Gobe,” he bemoaned.
He revealed that not too long ago, the top echelons of the public and civil service were manned by Ga Dangmes.
“Today Ga Dangmes are compelled to write or give investigation and caution statements in the Twi language to their successful criminal defence,” he added.
He recalled the Makola Market was full of successful Ga Dangme traders who controlled the market; although most Ga Dangme traders at Makola were illiterate in the English language and only fluent in Ga yet they funded the education of their children.
“They built houses rather than their husbands who were mostly civil and public servants earning salaries; I am a proud beneficiary of the largesse of my Makola mum,” he noted.
“As children, we were entertained at night, before the advent of television, by Kpanlogo and other folk songs and dancing; later, there was the redoubtable Mr Mensah and his Adabraka Drama Troupe, La Akai Drama Troup, etc. who entertained in the Ga language on national TV,” he recalled.
“Hitherto, there was respect for the Ga Mantse and we had Kpehe, where chiefs visiting Accra had to be met and welcomed. Accra lands were controlled by chiefs, quarters and families but today, most of our lands are controlled by non-indigenes", he bemoaned.
“Almost all our MPs were of GaDangme extraction and, therefore, had a strong GaDangme caucus but today the caucus is referred to as Greater Accra caucus to the extent that when considering regional balance in appointments, a cynical view is taken that Akans and non-indigenes are considered as part of GaDangmes,” he noted.
He disclosed that libation is no longer poured at national functions while Akan cultures are used to welcome foreign dignitaries.
“Our beautiful Dipo dance, which rivals Adowa and also our Obonu, Kome and Kpanlogo dances have all been shunted aside,” he charged.
“Today, we have concerns such as the need to salvage whatever is left of our heritage and culture, our political survival as a people, our chieftaincy institutions, our lands, our language, and our marriages and funerals institutions all in danger with some GaDangmes observing one-week celebrations after the demise of a family member.
“I shudder to think of what will happen to the Ga Dangme tree after its leaves have been shed and the branches withered away,” he concluded.