EARS ON WHEELS
ENSTOOLMENT OF CHIEFS (how do we make them peaceful)
(Director of Finance and Administration, National Commission on Culture)
The chieftaincy institution is a major icon of our culture. It has remained with us for a long time. The institution is enshrined in the traditional life of the people. A chief who is properly enstooled will, therefore, get the full support of the people in his traditional area.
Sometimes, it becomes very difficult to choose a chief within a family. When there is a dispute regarding the enstoolment of a chief, the celebration of a festival is interrupted. This affects the growth and development of the community.
Codification of the rights of succession by the National House of Chiefs is the surest way to tackle the problem. We must register all those who can ascend the throne to ensure the peaceful enstoolment of chiefs.
We should aim at protecting the institution and constantly review its rules to conform to modern standards.
Some people know very well that they are not the custodians of a stool but they will do everything possible for people to regard them as chiefs.
The Gas are patrilineal and thus, a situation where an individual is selected from his mothers side to occupy the stool can lead to agitations among the people.
Sometimes, getting a man from the royal family becomes a problem and the search for an alternative can lead to rancour.
When there is suspicion, the installation of a chief is likely to be disrupted.
The nomination, election and enstoolment of a chief who is not from the rightful lineage can affect the celebration of a festival and retard progress.
Some of our elders sell their conscience to greedy people, resulting in chieftaincy disputes.
What legacies are we leaving for the next generation? We have a little chance of protecting what had been bequeathed to us due to our divisive tendencies.
NANA ABENA AFRIYIE
(Wirempemhemaa of Bechem)
When there is a misconception about the legitimacy of a traditional ruler, there is bound to be problems associated with his installation. Most of the stools have properties attached to them. Unless you are a chief, you cannot have access to them. Sometimes, people clamour for the position to ensure that they get the property to themselves.
Some kingmakers will not choose the rightful occupant of a stool due to their greediness and the favours they get from others. Others are influenced by money to decide for an individual who is not the rightful occupant of a stool.
It is only when people turn a blind eye to the truth that the installation of chiefs become problematic.
We have witnessed the enstoolment of chiefs over the past decade without blemish. It is up to the kingmakers to stick to the truth.
NELSON KOFI AKATEY
(Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture)
The adherence to customary practices and rules regarding the chieftaincy institution are necessary for the enstoolment of chiefs.
We don’t have a chieftaincy dispute in my traditional area (Hohoe) because laid down procedures are strictly adhered to in choosing a successor to a chief.
There is total respect among the kingmakers and the people in the area. There seems to be chieftaincy disputes in a number of traditional areas due to the desire of some people to become chiefs at all cost.
These people do not come from the line of succession, but they will find every means possible to become chiefs. Another challenge is that chiefs have become agents of development, therefore, anyone who is considered illiterate, finds it difficult to become a chief though he is the legitimate person.
Some communities want people who can influence opinion leaders to bring development to their areas. Others think that they have the power to influence kingmakers to sell their conscience.
The National House of Chiefs must speed up with codification of the succession process to bring sanity in the chieftaincy institution.
NII TACKIE COMMEY
(Acting Stool Father, Ga Paramount Stool)
When a chief in my area passes away, the Dzaasetse becomes the acting Ga Mantse and sees to the burial of the chief.
Together with the four ruling houses-Amugi We, Tackie Commey We, Teiko Tsulu We and Abola Palm We, they see to it that the next royal house to nominate a chief is given a drink to bring its candidate for screening and acceptance.
It is time for politicians to stop poking their noses in chieftaincy affairs.
They must leave the kingmakers to choose the right successor to the throne.
The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture must also ensure that only gazetted chiefs are recognized at public functions.
People must not just bend the rules because of their parochial interests.
(Senior Records Supervisor,
National Commission on Culture)
Some people just use money to influence process of the selecting a chief.
Sometimes, the kingmakers are influenced in selecting a chief.
Lack of effective records also affects the process of choosing a chief.
It is important for the institution to ensure the proper documentation of those to become traditional rulers in future.
The elders must be very careful so that they are not influenced to make wrong choices.
Chiefs have special rites to perform and so they cannot be left out of the celebration of festivals, but when there are problems associated with the legitimacy of a chief, the celebration of a festival should be postponed.
There should be unity and harmony among kingmakers and the people to ensure the peaceful enstoolment of chiefs.
This will pave way for the development of their areas.
NII TACKIE AMOAH VI,
(Chief of Adjen Kotoku)
In my traditional area, when a chief abdicates, the Dzaasetse will organize the kingmakers, both men and women, from the three royal houses and inform them about the next house to choose his successor.
This is done to avoid confusion. The kingmakers look for the most suitable person in the chosen royal house to ascend the throne.
At Adjen Kotoku, a chief can be elected from either the maternal or paternal side of the royal house. There is so much discipline in the traditional setup and so it becomes difficult to influence the selection process.
In recent times, some kingmakers use their influence to take favours from individuals and then enstool them as chiefs.
We must search for chiefs who command respect and have good character. There is the need for total understanding among royal houses and king makers to ensure the peaceful enstoolment of chiefs.
The judicial committees of the House of Chiefs must be proactive in tackling issues affecting the chieftaincy institution. There is also the need to ensure the speedy codification of the succession law to allow only legitimate chiefs to govern their people.
The Spectator - Page: 23 Saturday, August 15, 2009.