Madam Josephine Nkrumah, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has expressed concern over the seeming partisanship of some chiefs and traditional leaders in the country.
She said the Commission was disturbed about recent utterances and partisanship actions by some chiefs and traditional leaders ahead of the December 7 general election.
“We cannot be silent about this development. We are aware of the growing phenomenon with some chiefs banning some political actors from campaigning in their traditional jurisdiction,” Madam Nkrumah stated at a press conference in Accra.
“This is unconstitutional and must be condemned by all well-meaning Ghanaians, because Article 3 clause 2 of the 1992 Constitution, states “Any activity of a person or group of persons, which suppresses or seeks to suppress the lawful political activity of any other person or class of persons, or persons generally is unlawful,” she said.
Madam Nkrumah said though the NCCE acknowledged that by virtue of their office, chiefs were custodians of traditions, the Commission was mindful of the wisdom that guided the framers of the 1992 Constitution in cautioning the nation’s respected and revered traditional leaders in Article 76 of the 1992 Constitution, which provided that
‘’A chief shall not take part in active party politics, and any chief wishing to do so and seeking election to Parliament shall abdicate his stool or skin.’’
She said with the caveat being participation in “active party politics”, the NCCE prayed chiefs to act with tact and maturity in order not to sacrifice the sanctity of their office, eroding their respect, role as agents of unity and as credible mediators in political impasses and conflicts.
“As a country, one of the key institutions we can fall on in times of political crisis is the chieftaincy institution. If our chiefs are perceived as partisan, then, we must be worried as a country,” she stated.
“The Commission also takes the opportunity to caution religious leaders and self-styled prophets to pray for a peaceful election and desist from making prophetic pronouncements that favour some individuals politically and has the potential to fan rancor,” the NCCE Boss added.
She said it was important for the country to champion the promotion of national cohesion and unity and frown on activities that could divide them.
Madam Nkrumah said the NCCE remained committed to continually reorienting the mindset of citizens in nation-building efforts and emphasized that elections were about ideas and policies and must not lead to violent conflicts.