Wednesday, August 22, 2007
ESTABLISH DISTRICT HOUSES OF CHIEFS
KOSI Kedem, former Member of Parliament for Hohoe South, has advocated a proper repositioning and integration of the powers of the traditional authority into the local government system for effective administration and deepening of grassroots democracy and decentralization.
He called for the establishment of District Houses of Chiefs to serve as a potential nursery for decentralization, social cohesion and development.
He described its non-existence as a serious aberration and a missing link in the local government administration.
Mr. Kedem was speaking at a seminar for some chiefs and queens in the Hohoe District as part of the Golden jubilee celebration on the theme, “The Traditional Leader in Ghana’s Modern Development – Drawing Inspiration from the Past”.
The seminar was organized by Togbe Dzidoah I and Mama Dzidoasi I, sub-chiefs of Gbi-Abansi, Centre for Community Development and Traditional Excellence, a Hohoe-based NGO and supported by the Togo Embassy and the Volta Foundation, a development oriented non-profit making organization.
Mr. Kedem said since many more chiefs and queens resided in the districts, it was improper to establish only Regional and National Houses of Chiefs, which could best be described as a building without a foundation.
By and large, the Former MP said, the Traditional authority remained indispensable and a major factor of social stability, agents of hope and development, power brokers but were considerably restricted constitutionally and legally in the local government system.
Mr. Kedem said chieftaincy was fast becoming a factor for conflict and destabilization with many becoming collaborators and quislings to political authorities to the detriment of the welfare of their subjects.
He called for revival and adjustment of the institution to face the challenges and tenets of modern constitutional governance; if they were to be entrusted with greater political roles and said “good governance has no place for intolerance and tribal bigotry”.
Mr. Albert Agra, a retired Educationist and former Presiding Member of the Hohoe Assembly, suggested that chiefs should delegate powers by establishing working committees in planning, development and finance.
He appealed to chiefs to lobby the district assemblies and other NGOs for self-help development projects.
Mr. Jean-Pierre Gbikpi-Benissan, Togo’s Ambassador, said despite the artificial division brought by colonialism, the two countries still shared the same geographical and historical ties, with needed to be harnessed for accelerated development.
He called on chiefs and queens to rise up with one accord and voice to fight poverty, unemployment, hunger and indiscipline and not forget traditions and customs as the rallying point for unity and peace. – GNA
The Ghanaian Times - Wednesday, August 22, 2007 Page: 25