Recently, Nii Okaidja III, Gbese Mantse and Adonteng of the Ga State condemned the wave of chieftaincy disputes in the country as unfortunate and waste of time and money ? time and money which could be better spent on education, health and welfare of the people.
In a recent follow-up interview about how the chieftaincy institution can help to rid of these undesirable disputes, Nii Okaidja III had this to say.
“We in Ghana should be proud that we have the Institution of Chieftaincy together with its Traditional Councils well-endowed and incorporated in our 1992 Constitution – Art. 270 (1). We should also pride ourselves with the comprehensive Chieftaincy Act 759 (2008) as well as the established Customary and Traditional Laws which have existed with time.
If we all abide by these guidelines and facilities offered by these collective authorities, we would rid ourselves of disputes before they fester.
To start with, customary law permits that a Chief MUST hail from a Royal lineage; on the contrary, it does not permit two chiefs to lord over the same subjects; just as two Presidents cannot run a country.
Where there is a grievance against the incumbent chief, for example, that he does not hail from a Royal lineage then a remedy exists ? DESTOOL FIRST BEFORE YOU ENSTOOL. Article 40 (1)(2)(3) provide for the Judicial Committee of a Traditional Council to hear deposition charges and a Chief is destooled when the charges against him have been proved and he is declared liable to be destooled. So you see, even at this early stage there CANNOT be two Chiefs at the same time if the simple rule is adhered to.
The next stage (which is split into three parts) is administrative but with strong, specific legal support or backing. It is the registration of the new Chief by (i)the Traditional Council; (ii) the Regional House of Chiefs and (iii) the National House of Chiefs.
At the Traditional Council level the newly enstooled Chief completes a Chieftaincy Declaration Forms 1A and 1B (CD Forms 1A,1B). There are some specific questions which must be answered eg. the nature of Change or how the vacancy was created – did the previous Chief die or was he destooled?
Is there any case pending against the newly installed Chief?
These CD Forms 1A & 1B are then vetted by a statutory Research Committee consisting of a panel of three registered Chiefs. If any of these questions fail the test, the process is stayed or put on hold and that ends the process.
If however the forms pass that stage they are fully discussed at a full council meeting. Minutes of the meeting together with the CD Forms are then forwarded to the Regional House of Chiefs where the process is repeated all over again.
When approved, another CD form; this time CD Form 2is attached and forwarded, with a supporting minutes of a general meeting, to the National House of Chiefs.
It must be stressed that the process of vetting is again repeated even at the National House of Chiefs before the Chief?s name is finally entered into the National Register. All this is very simple and straight forward and anything short of this should raise the alarm bells! Any deviation from this procedure, for example where CD Forms are NOT researched or scrutinised or where the council had not met to approve the application should raise suspicion and must be condemned.
So why then do we have these disputes?
Why do we have two chiefs at the same time?
The questions seem rhetorical but the answers point to dishonesty and corruption.
Those who give money, favour or whatever and those who receive; those who threaten or put pressure or duress on staff by whatever means, even mandamus orders and those staff who are not able to stand firm against such intimidation are all part of the fraud squad. Anyone who is destined to be a Chief must be honest, trustworthy and behave in an exemplary manner.
It appears as if corruption is sinking our beloved country.
Let us therefore work together to rid of all the dishonesty and illegal behaviour.
Let us strive to keep the Chieftaincy Institution sterile?.