The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah has said he has “no respect” for the Ashanti youth groups who have in the past two days demonstrated against the government over the poor nature of roads in the region, TheNewsGh.com reports.
The former Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bosomtwe Constituency also says he will not waste his breath to address the grievances of the demonstrators because, some of them are assemblymen, so should have consulted him before embarking on the demonstration.
Speaking in an interview on Accra-based Neat FM monitored by TheNewsGh.com, Mr Osei Mensah said in assuring the people of the Ashanti region of government’s commitment to fix the roads that, “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”.
“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, government has released funding to that effect.