Succession planning panacea for chieftaincy disputes
One of the forces sustaining Ghana’s democracy has been the use of traditional authorities, the chieftaincy institution, made up of chiefs and queenmothers.
Sadly, in spite of the key role that the chieftaincy institution plays in the sustenance of the country’s peaceful co-existence and democracy, the institution is fraught with many disputes and conflicts.
Many of the disputes and conflicts related to the institution in the country have to do with succession lines to stools and skins.
In fact, some land disputes are even linked to the same chieftaincy disputes, as in, which chief or stool or skin has the right to sell a parcel of land.
Many families (gates) are in court fighting the authorities of certain people as chiefs or queenmothers.
They are fighting the legitimacy of such people because they are either not royals or it is not yet their turn to become chiefs or queenmothers.
It is for this age-long challenge affecting the country’s chieftaincy institution that the National House of Chiefs, in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), initiated moves 20 years ago to have lines of succession to stools and skins codified to help address the various chieftaincy disputes across the country.
Indeed, Article 272 (b) of the 1992 Constitution mandates the House to undertake the progressive study, interpretation and codification of customary law with a view to evolving, in appropriate cases, a unified system and compiling the customary laws and lines of succession, applicable to each stool or skin.
In fact, the move to have the various traditional areas document their succession lines was highly welcomed by many Ghanaians and stakeholders, including the country’s development partners.
Fortunately, the project, which was aimed at building a good database to end enstoolment and enskinment disputes, received funding from the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Ghana Government.
Sadly, after 20 years of the project, only six out of 300 traditional areas in the country have validly completed the documentation of their lines of succession.
The six traditional areas are Offinso, Tepa, Awutu, Berekum, Hwidiem and Kwahu.
Many Ghanaians and stakeholders, particularly investors, are wondering why such a move has received less attention from the country’s chieftaincy custodians.
People are wondering whether or not funds are not forthcoming from the sponsors or that the traditional authorities are not interested due to vested interests and rivalry from the various gates to the stools or skins.
The Daily Graphic wishes to remind our traditional authorities that peace cannot be bought with money; hence, the need for them to co-operate and support the implementation of the succession codification project.
It is sad that we have lost many industrious sons and daughters of the country through the various chieftaincy disputes and conflicts across the country.
The violent chieftaincy conflicts, which we have witnessed across many parts of the country, could have been avoided entirely had the succession codification project been treated with the needed attention.
Today, our security personnel who could have been deployed to tackle criminal activities such as armed robbery on our roads are now being deployed to warring communities due to chieftaincy disputes.
The Daily Graphic would want to urge the National House of Chiefs, the NCCE, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the government to revisit this laudable project to ensure its successful implementation.
We believe that the successful implementation of the codification exercise will help address the numerous chieftaincy disputes across the country.
Preventing chieftaincy disputes is one of the key things that could promote our country’s democracy and peaceful co-existence in our various communities; hence, boosting investor confidence in our economy.
Additionally, preventing chieftaincy disputes across the country will also help to promote our rich culture and promote growth and development.