GOVT AGENCIES, NOT CHIEFS, SHOULD SELL LANDS
By: Dzifa Emma Tetteh
A Senior Fellow of at the Legon Centre for National Affairs, Dr. Vladmir Antwi–Danso, has said that Ghana needs to modernize its chieftaincy system to make room for changing trends and not abolish it in totality, as being proposed by some individuals and organizations.
He described the Ghanaian chieftaincy institution as a relic of history that should be modernized to be in tune with modernity and democracy and globalization.
Dr. Antwi-Danso said this in an interview with the Times in Accra.
He proposed a complete overhaul of the land tenure system so that no chief has the executive right to sell lands. Rather, he said, government institutions should rather sell the lands and keep the money in chieftaincy coffers so that each chief would have an account where the money would be kept for the purposes of their various communities.
“In addition, the Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs could draw a successive plan, as is done in England so that everyone gets to know who is the next successor of the stool far ahead of time to prevent disputes,” he said.
Dr. Antwi-Danso also mentioned that “there is a need to have tutelage of apprenticeship into chieftaincy so that by the time one becomes a chief; he would have had a wealth of experience that would inject quality into the chieftaincy system”. Citing an example, he said, “King Osei-Tutu I of Ashanti went under tutorials under the then Denkyirahene and so became a good chief”, he explained.
He said by now the National House of Chiefs should have had also their own code of ethics, measures and demands and become custodians of a certain system of rule. “This would have helped in making conflict a thing of the past”.
He said it was also important that government was advised to completely stay out of chieftaincy affairs and secondly for the chiefs themselves to change the way they rule.
“Chieftaincy should not be used for politics as many of the chieftaincy disputes going on now are because of the government’s involvement. Government should not meddle but modernise it in a way to be part of modern trends, democracy and the future,” he added.
Dr. Antwi Danso said it was unfortunate that some chiefs had become “stagnant, dogmatic and unimpressive” and even in some cases the originators of conflicts by their own actions and inactions.
Ghanaian times page: 7 Wednesday, June 23, 2010.