Who Qualifies as Chief?
Who is fit to rule? Was the banner head line of our lead story of Tuesday, December 7.
The story read in part: “Parliament yesterday approved customary laws on the line of succession of 11 traditional areas.
‘The codification of the customary laws on succession provides the needed guiding principles to deal with chieftaincy disputes’.
The instruments are in respect of areas such as Nkoranza, Sunyani, Atebubu, Yeji, Prang and Drobo traditional areas, in the Brong-Ahafo Region, Lower Axim in the Western Region, Gonja in the Northern Region, Kaleo in the Upper West Region, and Kpone in the Greater Accra Region.
The instruments, according to the report, are intended to serve as a good source of information for the promotion of the country’s cultural heritage as well as academic material for the study of customary law in the country’s educational institutions.
They are also for research into subjects to enhance customary laws relating to lines of succession in traditional areas.
The Times lauds the efforts of Parliament in approving such a document which would serve as a guide for kingmakers to eliminate the numerous disputes that have characterized the chieftaincy institution, of late.
However, we have our concerns, because the document deals with mostly areas which do not have chieftaincy disputers. One would have thought that the august House would have been more concerned with tackling the issue in traditional areas where such disputes are rife.
It may be of interest to note that almost all the stools in the Ga traditional area of the Greater Accra Region are being disputed. This can be verified at the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs where most of the cases are pending. Yet the instruments only dealt with Kpone where the dispute had long been resolved with the people living in peace and unity.
The chieftaincy disputes are creating a lot of problems for the country’s socio economic development, since human and material resources which other wise could be used for development, are being expended unnecessarily on them.
Chieftaincy is a sacred institution which is intended to foster unity and promote development. However, many chiefs have turned themselves into oppressors rather than moving their people forward. There is the need for chiefs to evolve policies and programmes that would help improve the quality of life of their people, instead of being the instruments of strife and disunity.
Hence, while the Times lauds Parliament for taking steps to clean the chieftaincy institution, it is also our hope that the instrument of succession will be widened to cover such areas were chieftaincy disputes are widespread and endemic.
The Ghanaian Times Page: 4 Wednesday, December 15, 2010