The high court in Accra has ruled in the 25-year—old Nungua Chieftaincy dispute and ordered the National House of Chiefs to re-insert the name of Nii Odai Ayiku IV in the national register as chief of Nungua.
The order, which, according to the court, should be complied within two weeks, followed the granting of an application for certiorari brought by Nii Odai Ayiku to quash the decision by the National House of Chiefs on July 21, 2009 to expunge his name from the register.
In his application, Nii Ayiku had invoked the supervisory jurisdiction of the court for a judicial review of the court in the nature of a certiorari to quash the decision of the National House of Chiefs to expunge his name from the national register.
He also sought an order of mandamus compelling the respondent to restore his name in the national register. An affidavit in support of the application, Nii Ayiku said the National House of Chiefs have no justification by itself to expunge his name from the register of chiefs.
The affidavit said the decision by the respondent to expunge the applicant’s name from the register without giving him hearing was in breach of the ruled natural justice. It further stated that having regard to all circumstances of the case, the decision was not only illegal but also unreasonable and irrational.
In its ruling, the court, presided over by Mr. Justice P. Bright Mensah drew attention to the fact that the mandate of the National House of Chiefs to either insert a name in the register of chiefs or remove it was governed by substantive law, as well as rules of procedure.
According to the court, it was not difficult to find from the evidence that the House violated its own rules and procedures when it took the decision to expunge the name of the applicant from the national register.
“What is so worrisome is the fact that the National House of Chiefs did not even deem it fit and proper to communicate its decision direct to the applicant.
“Instead, the letter was addressed to the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs. One would have expected that Nii Odai Ayiku IV, who was directly affected by the decision, would, in the ordinary scheme of things, be the first person to be communicated to but not to be given a copy of that communication delivered to the Greater Accra House of Chiefs”, it added.
The court further held that house embroiled in procedural impropriety, having violated its own regulations and standing orders when it proceeded to remove the name of the applicant from the register.
“The National House of Chiefs, by not following the statutory procedure, was foiling the intention of the legislator and defeating the provisions of the very law by which it was and is to conduct its business”, it contented.
The court maintained that chiefs were enstooled and destooled by the people themselves represented by their respective king makers and elders acting in conjunction with queens in consonance with their traditional norms and values.
“The spirit the letter behind article 270 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution and its overall objective, in my considered opinion is to insulate the chieftaincy institution from political interference in any form, any institution of state and or from any quarters or whatsoever.
“Undoubtedly, given our past socio-cultural and political antecedent the people of Ghana through their representatives in the constituent assembly, decided to give to ourselves this law to guarantee our chieftaincy. It is in the public interest, therefore, that the sanctity of the chieftaincy institution be preserved,” the judge remarked in the ruling.
Costs of GH¢2000 were awarded against the National House of Chiefs.
Daily Graphic Page: 3 Saturday, October 24, 2009