Monday, August 20, 2007
OSU KINKAWE GYAASE
(KINGMAKERS OF OSU TRADITIONAL AREA)
Telephone No.: 027-4350721 Mobile: 020-8147157 Date: 16th August, 2007
State of Affairs in the Osu Traditional Area
The attention of the Kingmakers and elders of Osu has been drawn to a letter alleged to have emanated from the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture. The said letter seeks to instruct the National house of Chiefs to insert the name of a destooled Chief of Osu in the register of chiefs in the National House of Chiefs. The Kingmakers and elders of Osu are surprised at this development since the ex-chief in question has been destoooled some years back and his name expunged from the register of chiefs of the National House of Chiefs.
The Ex-chief was destooled on the grounds that he is not a royal of Osu, his mother hails from Tafo Gbese and his father is from La. At this stage, it will be necessary to give a brief historical account of the activities of the ex-chief was destooled in August 1986 and as demanded by the chieftaincy Act, Section 50 and 51. Any changes within any Traditional Area should be communicated to the National House of Chiefs to enable the House amend its records accordingly. However the Ga Traditional Council unduly delayed the forwarding of the information to the National House of chiefs. During the time that the Ga Traditional Council had delayed the sending of the information to the National House of chiefs for action, the Council mandated Nii Ashong Omaboa the then Acting Asiahene form 1987 – 1992 to act as Osu Mantse and also Mr. E.Q. Nortey who was issued with an Executive Instrument to act as Osiahene and Mantse from 1992 – 19999 and lastly the Osu Mankralo from 2001. The then Acting Osu Mantse namely, the Osu Mankralo engaged in a civil suit concerning Osu Lands against Unilever Limited. During the pendency of this suit, the ex-chief who has been duly destooled according to custom, upon realizing that the information about his destoolment to the National House has been delayed joined the above suit claiming that he has been the substantive Osu Chief since 1984 and he should represent the Osu Stool and not the Osu Mankralo, he backed his claim as the substantive Osu Chief by producing an extract from the National House of Chiefs indicating that his name was on the register. On the basis of this, the court decided that he was the Osu Chief to lead the case in question.
When the kingmakers and elders of the Osu Stool were informed of the decision of the court they realized that the Ga Traditional Council which should have informed the National house of the destoolment of the ex-chief of Osu had let them down. The elders therefore applied pressure on the national House of Chiefs and the name of the ex-chief was expunged from the register some years after his destoolment.
Since the ex-chiefs name is no more in the register of the National House of Chiefs, he has been waiving the judgment referred to above as the basis of his claim that he is still the Osu Mantse. But since the court took the view that he is Osu Mantse because his name is in the register of the National House of Chiefs, it stands to reason that with the removal of his name from the register, the ex-chief ceases to be the Osu Mantse. Despite this, his insistence that he is the chief of Osu cannot hold.
This situation is unfortunate because before independence the gazette became a fetish which was used by unpopular chiefs to maintain their position even if they had been rejected by their people.
The late Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah described this position in the following words “The unfortunate position we find ourselves in this country is that some chiefs appear to be sitting on gazettes instead of their sacred stools”.
Even if a chief has been totally rejected by his people he can take refuge behind a gazette and cling precariously to his position as a chief thereby bringing confusion and instability within the community.
The anomalous position was rectified in 1969 when a new constitution was being drafted. The constitution stated that from that time onwards there should be no government recognition of chiefs rather the chiefs themselves should be allowed to regulate their own procedures and that a chief who hailing from the appropriate lineage or family has been duly nominated, elected and installed is to all intents and purposes, a chief capable of performing all his customary and traditional functions.
The registration of a chief in the National House of Chief’s register only enable a chief to perform his statutory functions such as attendance at the Traditional Council meeting and to be a member of a chieftaincy tribunal.
The present situation whereby the ex-chief who has been rejected by his own family members including his subjects but is clinging to office by taking refuge behind a court judgment gives the wrong impression that in certain cases, a court judgment can make a person a chief and not the wishes of the kingmakers and the majority of the people.
If is true that a letter from the Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture has gone to the National House urging the Honourable House to insert the name of the ex-chief, then we are urging the National House particularly the respected Chairman of the Research Committee, Naa Prof. Nabila to take the sword of justice and cut asunder the Gordian knot of judicial technicalities in order to free the people of Osu from being denied of the choice of a chief through legal technicalities. It is hoped that in this period of democratic dispensation every effort will be made for the will of the majority of the people of Osu to prevail.
The situation on the ground is such that for once after a long time, the opinion leaders of Osu have been able to convince the Kingmakers, the Heads of the two Ruling Royal Houses to allow peace a chance for the development of the area. The result is that for the first time in 21 years the kingmakers have unanimously installed a chief by name Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona VI who was duly nominated, selected and installed and has been accepted by all those who matter in the chieftaincy affairs in the area.
This laudable example which is worthy of emulation by other traditional areas should not be stifled through sheer legal technicalities.
It is hoped that all men and women of goodwill towards Osu will take this opportunity to have the good people of Osu who have for a long time been deprived the opportunity of having a traditional leaders and enjoying the benefits of the resources of their area to hold on this golden opportunity which has brought peace and stability into the Osu Traditional Area.
Daily Graphic - Monday, August 20, 2007 Page: 56