Brong Ahafo Region
Background of the Region
The Brong Ahafo Region was created on 4th April 1959 (by the Brong Ahafo Region Act No. 18 of 1959). The Act defined the area of the Brong Ahafo Region to consist of the northern and the western part of the then Ashanti Region and included the Prang and Yeji areas that before the enactment of the Act formed part of the Northern Region. Before the Ashanti Empire was conquered by the British in 1900, the Brong and Ahafo states to the north and northwest of Kumasi (the capital of Ashanti empire and the present Ashanti Region) were within the empire. Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III traces his ancestry to King Akumfi Ameyaw I (1328-63), under whose reign the Brong Kingdom with its capital at Bono Manso grew to become the most powerful kingdom of its time. Indeed oral tradition has it that nearly all the different groups of the Akans, including the Asante, trace their origins to Bono after migrating from the “north”.
The first remembered King of the Bono Kingdom is King Asaman, who is credit with leading his Akan people from what may be present day Burkina Faso or even further north, to Bonoland (Buah, 1998). Later migrations led to the Asantes, Fantes, Denkyira and other Akans settling in their present locations. Nana Akumfi Ameyaw is credited with the creation of gold dust as a currency and gold weights as a measure, later developed and adopted by all the other Akan groups, particularly the Asante. Legend has it that he even supported his yam shoots with sticks made of pure gold. It was when King Opoku Ware of Asante defeated Bono in 1723 and destroyed Bono Manso that the capital moved to Techiman (Takyiman). Techiman and other Bono states therefore came under the Asante Empire until 1948 when Akumfi Ameyaw III led the secession of Bono from Asante, supported by other Bono states such as Dormaa.
The most significant change the British administration in Ashanti brought to the people of the Brong and Ahafo states until 1935 was that it made them independent of Kumasi clan chiefs (Busia, 1951, pp. 165-166). The British administration worked out a strategy that severed the interference of the Kumasi clan chiefs with the internal affairs of the Brong and Ahafo states. When the Ashanti Confederacy was restored in 1935 by the British administration, however, most of the Brong and Ahafo states saw that their independence from Ashanti was being threatened, because by restoring the Ashanti Confederacy, they were to revert to their former overlords in Kumasi. Though the Brong states joined the Ashanti Confederacy, most of them were not happy with the re-union because they felt their long historical association with Ashanti had brought them nothing.
The opportune time came when in 1948 Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III, the Omanhene (paramount chief) of Techiman led Techiman to secede from the Ashanti confederacy (Austin, 1964, p. 294). The secession of Techiman was supported by some of the Brong states and this led to the formation of the dynamic Brong political movement, Brong Kyempem Federation. The movement was formed in April 1951 at Dormaa Ahenkro under the auspices of the Dormaa State.3 The main objective of the movement was to struggle for a separate traditional council and a separate region for the Brong Ahafo states.
The name of the movement was later changed to the Brong Kyempem Council. In March 1955, the Prime Minister informed the National Assembly that the government was considering “the possibility of setting up a Brong Kyempem Council” to fulfil the desire of the Brongs for the establishment of a development committee for their area and that the government would “examine the case for the establishment of two administrative regions for Ashanti”. In March 1959, the Brong Ahafo Bill was passed under a certificate of urgency by Parliament. The Brong Ahafo Region Act was enacted after receiving the Governor General’s assent. Sunyani was made the capital of the new region.Political and administrative structure
Brong Ahafo has 19 administrative districts, with District Chief Executives (DCEs) as the political heads. The DCEs are assisted by District Co-ordinating Directors (DCDs) who are responsible for the day to day running of the districts. The DCEs work under the Regional Minister (the political head of the region), while the DCDs are under the Regional Coordinating Director. Sunyani is the administrative headquarters of the region, where the Regional Minister resides.The legislative wing of the is the District Assembly. One third of its membership is appointed by Government in consultation with local leaders, while the remaining are elected on non-party lines. The District Assembly elects its own Presiding Member.The District Assemblies are divided into Town and Area Councils, depending on the population and land area of the district. A compact settlement or town with a population of 5,000 or more qualifies to have a Town Council status. An Area Council is made up of 2 or more towns which when pulled together has a population of 5,000 or more. The region has 37 Town Councils and 106 Area Councils. Eight of the districts bear the name of the district capital, with the remaining five (Asunafo, Asutifi, Tano, Jaman and Sene) named after geographical land marks or historical events.
Another aspect of the relates to constituencies and areas for electoral purposes. The region is divided into 21 constituencies, which are further subdivided into 582 electoral areas or electoral units. These electoral areas consist of 2,292 basic units called polling stations.Each of eight districts has two constituencies with the remaining five having one constituency each. Wenchi, one of the districts with two constituencies has the highest number of electoral areas (54), electoral units (214) and polling stations (223). Seven districts have 48 electoral areas each. The Sene district has the least number of electoral areas (30) and polling stations (98). There has been the need for the creation of six new districts.Physical features
The Brong Ahafo Region, formerly a part of the Ashanti Region, was created in April 1959. It covers an area of 39,557 square kilometres and the second largest region in the country (16.6%) and shares boundaries with the Northern Region to the north, the Ashanti and Western Regions to the south, the Volta Region to the east, the Eastern Region to the southeast and La Cote d’Ivoire to the west. The central point of the landmass of Ghana is in the region, at Kintampo.It has 19 administrative districts, with Sunyani as the regional capital. The region lies in the forest zone and is a major cocoa and timber producing area. The northern part of the region lies in the savannah zone and is a major grain- and tuber-producing region. The region has a population of 1,815,408, indicating an intercensal growth rate of 2.5 per cent over the 1984 population figure. Enumeration covered all the 17,546 localities in the region.