The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has inaugurated the refurbished office building of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs.
The refurbishment, which started in September last year and completed in March this year, was fully funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USIAD) Office of Transition Initiatives at the cost of $140,000.
The support formed part of the United States’ commitment to promoting community cohesion, peace and stability in Ghana.
The renovation works carried out included re-roofing of all the offices, tiling of the floors of all rooms, construction of new places of convenience and drainage works.
The rest are fixing of ceiling fans and air conditioners, paving the compound and landscaping.
The renovated building is expected to provide a conducive and inclusive space for meetings, work and training for chiefs, queen mothers and technical staff of the facility.
The ceremony was graced by the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Stephen Asamoah Boateng; the Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, a member of the Council of State, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nalebetang, among other dignitaries.
The refurbished office building
At the inauguration ceremony in Bolgatanga yesterday, Dr Bawumia commended the chiefs and people who contributed in diverse ways to bring the project to fruition.
The Vice-President said he was not surprised about the gesture by the USAID as it was in line with what the agency had been doing across the country over the years, as a way of contributing to Ghana’s development.
The Vice-President said the government’s worry was chieftaincy- related issues which were being tackled with scarce national resources which could have been channelled into other basic developmental projects.
Vice-President Bawumia called for more collaborative efforts towards the prevention and control of conflict in the north.
Touching on the unending Bawku conflict, he expressed the hope that the ongoing initiatives taken by the government would help bring lasting peace to Bawku and fast-track the town’s development for the benefit of the people.
For her part, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia E. Palmer, said traditional authorities were the centre of many of Ghana’s most critical issues in the areas of justice, peacebuilding, women’s empowerment and development.
Ms Palmer stated that the renovation of the House of Chiefs’ facility formed part of efforts between both countries to further solidify the long-lasting friendship.
Security under threat
She noted that Ghana’s security was under threat from forces not too far from the region, indicating “our investment shows that we recognise the concerns of the region and that the USA is committed to supporting her partners in Northern Ghana to remain resilient.
Old building an eyesore
In a welcome address, the President of the House of Chiefs, Pe Ditundini Adiali Ayagitam III, said since 1971, the building of the House of Chiefs had not seen any renovation works, and the dilapidated offices was an eyesore.
To tackle the problem, Pe Ayagitam noted that efforts were underway through intense lobbying, leading to the renovation of the offices, saying “we wish to thank officials in Ghana and the USA who worked tirelessly to put this great smile on our faces”.
Pe Ayagitam III, who is also the Paramount Chief of the Chiana Traditional Area, informed the gathering that efforts were in place to settle the protracted Bawku conflict and others before the judicial committee through alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and formal judicial process.