Dr Niagia Santuah, the Head of Department (HoD) of Culture and Development Studies at the Miller Institute for Transdisciplinary and Development Studies in Bolgatanga, has identified a looming danger in the selection of queen mothers in Northern Ghana.
“It is a very contentious issue and I am just unable to understand how people didn’t see that this is potentially dangerous. Not only does it smack of internal colonialism, but it is potentially dangerous.
“Right now, we do not even know in a traditional area in Northern Ghana, who qualifies to be a queen mother. Is it the chief’s sister or the chief’s wife,” he questioned.
Dr Santuah said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sideline of a book launch titled “The Royal History of Nandom: The untold story (1887-2022),” in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region.
Citing Navrongo as example, the HoD said “If the chief’s sister goes to marry in Nakpanduri and she is the queen mother, what happens? How can she stay in Nakpanduri and conduct traditional business in Navrongo?
“And if is the chief’s wife who becomes the queen mother, who is from South Africa for instance, and there is a divorce, and she returns to South Africa, what happens? Does that mean they have lost a queen mother?”
He said things were evolving, and expressed fear that in about 10 to 50years to come, the sons of queen mothers would come to traditional areas in Northern Ghana to make claims to chieftaincy skins by virtue of the positions of their mothers as queens.
“There have been instances where a queen mother was a wife of the chief, they divorced, and she left the husband’s home and was staying in her father’s house far away from where she exercised her queen mother role.
“She attends functions of queen mothers and doesn’t go back to her husband’s house to report because she doesn’t belong there anymore.
“These are just trivial issues. The real issue is about their children coming to claim chieftaincy titles in the future, when we all might have forgotten about who they are,” he said.
He said the concept of queen mothers should not be seen as promoting gender equality, noting that there were things that could be done to show gender sensitiveness rather than the role of queen mothers which he described as “Tokenism.”
Asked what should be done, Dr Santuah said “We need to come to grips in the first place that we have made a mistake, before we start thinking about how to resolve it.
“We should not blame anybody, we are all in this together, if it is a conversation we need to have, let’s keep the conversation rolling and let’s see how far we can go. If we come to terms that this is an issue that we overlooked, we will find a way to deal with it,” Dr Santuah said.