What was expected to be the launch of the 2018 edition of the Ngmayem Festival of the chiefs and the people of the Shai Traditional Area in the Greater Accra Region turned into a public altercation.
It happened when the acting President of the Shai Traditional Council, Okukrubuor Teye Agyemang V, who was facilitating the launch, failed to take a back seat for the Paramount Chief of the Traditional Area, Odeopeor Martey Kojo Ahwah IV, who attended the event without prior notice.
The verbal brawl, which was witnessed by the Shai Osudoku District Coordinating Director, Mr Nicholas Mai Adjei, led to some ranting among members of the traditional council by way of registering their grievance, with some walking away from the venue.
The launch, which was expected to be a brief, did not start early due to the late arrival of members of the traditional council.
In the course of the programme, the Senior Asafoatse of Mla, Lekpeje, Asafoatse Martey Odumanye, who was among the gathering, wanted to know why the acting president of the traditional council had failed to accord due respect to Odeopeor Ahwah.
The Paramount Mankralo of the Shai Traditional Area, Nene Narteh Wayo III, in an interview, explained that they had not originally gone to the venue to launch the festival, as they were supposed to hold a meeting to discuss pertinent issues and also finalise preparations for the festival.
However, when they got there, he said, to their amazement, the festival was being launched.
He said they decided not to protest against the launch in public, as that would portray a negative image of the council to the guests present.
"We were not supposed to wash our dirty linen in public. We decided that after the launch, we would go into a caucus meeting," he stated.
On the unannounced appearance of Odeopeor Ahwah at the launch, Nene Wayo said it was appropriate that the occasion be used to present him to other council members and also allow him to assume his position as President of the traditional council.
"Per the Chieftaincy Act, any chief who has been registered in the National Register of Chiefs is automatically a member of the traditional council.
The status of Odeopeor Ahwah is unquestionable and so he needs not inform any one that he is coming here.
"Ever since he got his gazette, we have not had the opportunity to meet. So if he popped up in our meeting unannounced, it was ideal for us to have done the proper thing," Nene Wayo said.
For his part, Okukrubuor Agyemang, who was apologetic for the unfortunate incident, refuted the claim that some members of the council had not been aware of the launch, since notices and messages had been sent to all members.
He also noted that the introduction of the paramount chief of the traditional council had to go through a process which had not been done yet.
He indicated that the impasse at the launch would not in any way change the planned activities for the festival.
The activities of the festival, which will start from October 1 to 29, 2018, will include a float, a clean-up exercise, a marathon, a visit to the Dodowa Forest and the Shai Hills, a beauty contest and a grand durbar of the chiefs and the people.
Other activities are mini durbars, non-denominational church services, a football competition and a cooking contest.