Resolving the Ga Mantse Dispute
At the heart of man’s evolution, development and progress is conflict.
Indeed, conflict is central to the social development and progress of mankind and in many cases it has helped catapult man to a higher and more progressive social and economic mode.
This notwithstanding, the nature of a conflict, the social setting within which it occurs, the mechanisms or means for resolving it, among others, are decisive for its progressive resolution and anchoring it on a strong pedestal to meet the interests and aspirations of society.
The chieftaincy institution is, without argument, one which evokes significant controversy. While some hail it as a heritage that serves as symbol of the unity and identity of a people and also a rallying point that should be maintained, others regard it as a moribund institution, a relic of feudalism that divides people and ignites conflicts that stall the orderly development and progress of society and should, therefore, be dismantled.
In our part of the world where chieftaincy still plays an important role in the social order, we have had little choice but to live with all these attributes, both positive and negative.
In recent times, however, the institution has received much more publicity and, accordingly, evoked a lot of concern from the populace, all for the wrong reasons.
From Bawku in the Upper East Region through to Accra, the national capital, chieftaincy disputes have rocked cities, towns and villages, igniting a series of fights and resulting in the loss of significant lives, the wounding and maiming of thousands of others and the destruction of property worth millions of cedis.
Within the last six years, Accra, and in specific terms the Ga Mashei opened the flood gates to the dispute over the Ga Mashie Stool.
It is worth pointing out that when a legal challenge was started against the installation of King Tackie Tawiah, others went ahead and installed another Ga Mantse in the name of King Boni Nii Tackie Adama Latse II.
A third claimant to the stool, Ayittey Canada, also added to the confusion.
It is from such a standpoint of confusion in the Ga State that we welcome the intervention of the National House of Chiefs in the matter.
The meeting scheduled for Kumasi today is expected to deliberate on the matter with a view to charting the way forward for this intractable dispute (see front page).
While we are in a law and order society and would wish that all interested parties allow the law to take its course, we also wish to acknowledge that the courts hardly ever find amicable solutions to such protracted chieftaincy disputes.
The solutions to such disputes can only truly emanate from the people concerned themselves.
Ga Mashie, like any traditional area, has its customs, traditional practices and usage which, among others, spell out the eligibility criteria for those who can become Ga Mantse, the ruling House from which the Ga Mashie can home, according to the principle of rotation, and who is mandated to nominate, install and outdoor the Ga Mantse.
The Ga Mashie people are patrilineal and, therefore, it should not be too difficult to sit down together to invoke their customs and traditions and agree on which claimant is qualifies and suitable for the Ga Mashie Stool.
It should be remembered that Ga Mashie is in Accra, where peace and order needs to prevail to protect the millions of people fiving here, enhance its accelerated development and promote its accelerated development and promote its image as the gateway to a peaceful orderly, democratic and economically emergent Ghana.
No one but the Ga Mashie people themselves can do it and now is the time.
Daily Graphic Page: 7 Tuesday, June 28, 2011