Chieftaincy conflicts are exacerbated by lack of documented succession plans

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Stakeholders in conflict management and peacebuilding have identified the lack of well-documented plans of succession as the major cause of chieftaincy disputes in parts of northern Ghana.

The situation has created a culture and environment of greed and lust for power among some traditional governance systems, leading to protracted chieftaincy and related conflicts, they said.

The stakeholders, including the Catholic Church, traditional authorities, the Upper East Regional Security and Peace Councils, therefore, urged traditional leaders to take steps to document clear culture-specific succession plans to minimise such disputes.

This came up a Chieftaincy Act and Succession Planning training, organised for members of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs by the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocesan Development Organisation (NABOCADO), the development wing of the Catholic Diocese, held at Pusu-Namongo in the Talensi District.

It forms part of the implementation of the Integrated Peacebuilding for Improved Food and Nutrition Support (INPEACE) project by NABOCADO, sponsored by the MISEREOR, a German Catholic Organisation.

Very Reverend Father Lawrence Azure, the Vicar General of the Diocese, noted that sustainable peace was not only a sign of God’s presence in one’s life but a necessary ingredient to achieving sustainable socioeconomic development and national cohesion.

“You will all bear with me that Palestine and Israel or the Middle East for that matter has become a pale shadow of itself since October,” he said.

“Our own backyard, Bawku, has become a pale shadow of itself as the economic and normal social life of the people have all been disrupted by this age-old chieftaincy conflict. Many have lost their lives and livelihoods, with several others having been maimed…”.

“As result of greed and lust for power, there are some people who will always want to put aside laid down succession roadmaps in order to ascend to the throne when it is not yet their tenure.”

Mr Ali Anankpieng, the Executive Secretary of the Upper East Reginal Peace Council, explained that the judiciary and the chieftaincy institution were the most resilient institutions that had survived colonial, military and democratic rule.

However, it was open secret that chieftaincy had been a major cause of conflicts in Ghana, he said, and called for strategic efforts to minimise them.

Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, said seven traditional councils in the region had completed their succession plans awaiting approval at the national level and commended NABCADO for working to promote peace in the region.

Dr Joseph Bangu, the Director of the Good Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate, NABOCADO, said the project had contributed to peace building in the North East and Upper East regions by helping traditional areas to document their succession plans to improve governance.

Naba Baba Salifu Atamale Lemyaarum, the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, said the call for documentation was noted that call for documented succession plans for traditional areas was the right one and called for support to help traditional areas document their succession plans.

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