The Paramount Chief of the Bole Traditional Area, Sarfo Kutuge Feso(l), has indicated that all Gonja tribes including the Vagla, Safalba, Chorba and Nomee communities will not be affected in the renaming of settler communities which does not bear an indigenous Gonja name.
Speaking in a stakeholders meeting at his place with his Chiefs, the Vagla, Safalba, Chorba and Nomee, he stressed that all of them constitute the Gonja State, and hence will not be affected by the exercise.
According to him, the exercise will not break up the unity, solidarity and co-existence that exists among the various Gonja tribes that forms the political union known as the Gonja State.
The Vagla Youth Association (VAYA) had earlier on through a rejoinder questioned the objectives and motives behind the exercise to rename settler communities with indigenous Gonja names in the two Districts, thus; Bole and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba.
The term Gonja was used to refer to these ethnic groups: the Ngbanya, Vagla, Safalba, Chorba and Nomee in the extreme Western Gonja area which falls in the current Bole and Sawla Tuna Kalba Districts of the Savannah Region. Several history records support this fact”, the Chief said.
Based on these we have issues in common unlike the settler communities such as the Lobis and Birifors,he stressed on.
He also warned that from henceforth, certain cultural practices such as purification of the land will only be carried out by an indigenous Gonja and not settlers such as the Birifors and the Lobis.
The Paramount Chief in a release dated July 04, 2022 stating that the decision to rename all settler communities in the Bole Traditional Area with indigenous Gonja names is “in order to avoid land litigation”.
In the release signed by Bolewura Sarfo Kutuge Feso (I), he said; “The Bole and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba Districts Assemblies shall collaborate with the Traditional Authorities in this regard”.
That the Bole Traditional Council resolved among other things that all communities under Bole Traditional Area shall with immediate effect be renamed with indigenous Gonja names and any community without a Gonja name shall be renamed through the community chiefs and elders.
“All existing communities without indigenous Gonja names shall within two weeks be assigned new Gonja names and the Electoral Commission of Ghana shall be notified to as a matter of urgency update its existing names of communities before the revision of the voter register for 2024 general elections; Bolewura added.
According to the statement; “Land is an important asset to the Traditional council and therefore needs to be well protected from all form of exploitation”.
Even though land is in the hands of Chiefs as trustees, native people were free to use any part of the land provided they respected the Chief (skin) as the allodial owner, the statement added.
“Previously when population was small, traditional authorities turned to place less emphasis on the need to secure land rights”, Bolewura added.
The decision from the Bole Traditional Council is expected to affect over a hundred (100) communities in the Bole and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba administrative Districts.