CHIEFTAINCY DISPUTES TEARING NATION APART
STORY: NANA KONADU AGYEMAN, AKROPONG AKUAPEM – President Mills
he President Professor John Evans Atta Mills, has observed that chieftaincy disputes are tearing the country apart and appealed to traditional leaders in the country to work towards a better image for the institution.
President Mills said efforts at improving the quality of life of the people and making the country a better place to live in were being undermined by the numerous disputes, “often with disastrous consequences”.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, at a durbar of chiefs and people of Akuapem, on the occasion of Odwira, the President said, “unless chiefs resolve to take concrete measures to stem this trend of affairs, it will be very difficult for us to achieve our development largets”
The colourful event, which was marked on the theme; “The maintenance of peace and unity within the chieftaincy institution for economic, social and moral development”. Drew a large gathering of people from all walks of life.
They included the presidential candidate of the new patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Member of Parliament for Akropong, Mr. William Ofori Boafo, and the Eastern Regional Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Mr. Anthony Gyampo.
The festivity coincided with the 30th anniversary of the enstoolment of the Okuapehene, Oseadeeyo Nana Addo Dankwa III.
“I am convinced that efforts at accelerating our development will be given a bigger boost if our traditional leaders will play their strategic roles as leaders in the development of our communities,” Prof. Mills stated.
The President said as the oldest governance institution in the country, chieftaincy must necessarily regain its rightful and enviable position in society.
That, he said, would only be possible if chiefs cultivated the will power to discard individual or personal interests and placed the interest of their communities and the nation over and above everything else, adding that. “It is may prayer that the various houses of chiefs will take up this challenge.
“For example, as custodians of culture and tradition, chiefs could exploit the values and traditions that we cherish to protect our environment against degradation and ensure sound environmental practices,” he said.
Prof. Mills added that cultural tourism was an emerging area of the tourism sector, which was very promising in the country and, therefore, urged chiefs to be at the forefront in promoting the sector.
He also urged traditional leaders to exercise the influence they wielded and lead in the crusade against the current moral decadence and instill discipline and sound moral values, particularly in the youth, as well as the promotion of education and the training of the youth.
In his welcoming address read on his behalf, Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa called for government support for the chieftaincy institution to enable chiefs and other traditional leaders to play the leadership role expected of them by society.
Accordingly to him, the protracted chieftaincy disputes arising out of postponement of judicial committee sittings were due to the absence of legal counsel who was intended to help the judicial committees in their deliberations.
He was of the opinion that to save the chieftaincy institution, its economic and political base should be strengthened, adding that, “some of the former sources of genuine income should be restored to the chiefs”.
Daily Graphic Page: 16 Monday, October 4, 2010