The Minister for Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Abubakar Saddique Boniface, has reiterated government’s commitment to the development of the Zongos.
According to the minister, the development of the Zongos is a priority of President Akufo-Addo.
He said so during a presentation of an assortment of items to Muslims in Kumasi when they held their annual post-Ramadan festival. During the event, the various ethnic groupings in the Zongo communities in Kumasi displayed their rich cultures.
Dubbed ‘gargaajiya’ or traditional culture in Hausa, the presentation was made on behalf of the minister by Dr. Joseph Darmoe, a director of the Ministry.
He stressed: “Historically, politics, internal fighting as a result of ethnicity and chieftaincy related issues, low investment in the economy, low levels of education among others, have been the bane of the development of the Zongos.”
He noted that all these have led to both voluntary and forced migration of the people from the North to other parts of the country in search of better socio-economic well-being. This migration results in informal settlement in the capital.
He continued: “It is in view of this that Ghana has taken the lead by establishing a Ministry to ensure that the excluded are included in its development orientations.”
According to him, the ceremony reflects the rich cultural differences among the people of Ghana and what they can do.‘’What we need to do as country is to ensure we acknowledge the richness of the country’s culture, preserve and develop it and be able to translate it into productive ventures for the society to benefit from it,” he said.
“We cannot just come here and display our rich cultures and traditions to ourselves and go back home poor. Let‘s find a way to make it economically and socially viable,’’ he intimated.
He added that to achieve this goal, the Ministry has developed programmes and projects in the following categories: infrastructure enhancement and sanitation, economic empowerment and social development, security and crime control as well as cultural heritage preservation and promotion including heritage preservation, cuisine promotion, built heritage listing and ethno-religious dialogue.
Speaking in an interview, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly in the Ashanti Region, Alhaji Alidu Seidu, appealed to the Ministry to take steps to adopt the programme and make it the Ministry’s own to generate revenue.
He suggested the Ministry could transform it into a competition where prizes will be given to the best performers at the end of the day.
The colourful traditional display of culture was attended by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asutufi South, Collins Dauda; Muntaka