Oguaa chiefs, Cape FM tango over street carnival

The Oguaa Traditional Council and Cape FM, a local radio station are on a collision course over the organisation of a street carnival, which has recently become part of the week-long activities to mark the annual Fetu Afahye, celebrated by the people of Oguaa Traditional Area (Cape Coast).

The council said it had not authorised the radio station to organise the carnival but Cape FM management have vowed to go ahead with the programme.

Introduced by Cape FM in 2014 and dubbed “Orange Friday”, the carnival, held on the Friday prior to the grand durbar to climax the festival, is characterised by revelLers wearing orange attire and trekking through some principal streets, amidst music and dance.

With the orange, representing the station’s colour, the carnival became an instant sensation and one of the activities to which many revellers, both young and old from far and near looked forward to each year.

However, this year’s edition is likely to see some significant changes with respect to colour and organisation, following an impasse between the Oguaa Traditional Council; custodian of the festival and the radio station.

With barely a month to this year’s edition, scheduled for Friday, September 2, the Council, at a press conference held at the Emintsimadze Palace on Wednesday, said it had not authorised the station to organise the carnival, though the station was already publicising the event.

This is due to the station’s failure to seek approval from the council to organise the carnival although the same disregard for the council nearly led to the council cancelling last year’s edition but for appeals from various dignitaries to consider the investment the station had already made.

According to the council, another company, unlike the station, respected laid down procedures and submitted a proposal to the planning committee to organise a carnival and it has been authorised to introduce what would be known as “Cape Coast Carnival”.

The council expressed  discontent over “denigrating and abusive pronouncements” that the station, which  appears bent on organising the carnival with or without approval and YES FM, another radio Station, have been making about the chiefs and the planning committee, on their airwaves.

A press release signed by Nana Kow Amoasi III, Chairman of the 2016 Afahye Planning Committee and read by Nana Kwame Edu VI, the Tufuhen of Oguaa and committee spokesperson, served notice that the council would allow only events it had approved it to take place during the festival.

The statement said as enshrined in the Chieftaincy Act , 2008 (Act756) the council reserved the right as the custodian of the customs  and traditions of the  traditional area, to observe the  festival  as it deemed fit without any interference.

It said any organisation or any individual interested in undertaking any activity during the festival period, including the radio station, must seek clearance and prior approval from the traditional council through the planning committee.

“It is when and only when, the planning committee had given you a written permission on an applicant’s proposal that you can use to solicit for sponsors for your activity. Anything short of this is an affront to established norms and traditions”, it stated.

Explaining the history behind the  Friday on which the carnival is held, it said it was  a  sacred day for the town, during which traditional  rites were performed  for  the  ancestors  and the gods of the land and that nothing was done apart from the slaughtering  of a bull.

However, the council had now agreed to allow other events to be held subject to approval from council.

Asked what action the council would take if the station also organised the carnival, the Paramount Chief of the Oguaa Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, who was unhappy about the whole hullabaloo declined to comment except “we would not condone that”.

However, The Ghanaian Times’ checks  indicated that both the Orange Friday and the Cape Coast Carnival are being promoted vigorously on social media, sparking heated debate between residents both on social media and in the metropolis.

The festival which starts from Saturday, August 27, 2016  with a grand durbar on Saturday, September 3, is on the theme “Falling standards of education in the Cape Coast Metropolis; the stakeholders’ responsibilities”.

From Jonathan Donkor, Cape Coast

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