Chiefs, queenmothers deserve living allowances — Dr Bawumia
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Chiefs, queenmothers deserve living allowances — Dr Bawumia

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has proposed an amendment to the Chieftaincy Act to empower chiefs to help in the governance of the country.

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He said under the current Chieftaincy Act 2008 (Act 759), chiefs were powerless and could not even summon people to appear before them. He admitted that governments had not involved chiefs enough in the governance of the country, “and I want to change that because as it is right now, the chiefs are powerless in many areas.”

“They cannot even summon people who would appear before them, so we need to change it and amend section 63(d) of the Chieftaincy Act to empower chiefs to help government to govern this country,” he proposed.

Section 63 of the Chieftaincy Act, 2008 (Act 759) deals with offences in connection with chiefs and sub-section (d) states that a person who “deliberately refuses to honour a call from a chief to attend to an issue commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than two hundred penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than three months or  both and in the case of a continuing offence to a further fine of not more than twenty-five penalty units for each day on which the offence continues.”

House of Chiefs

Dr Bawumia made the call when he addressed members of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs during his three-day working visit to the region. The visit was to enable the Vice-President, who is also the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the upcoming presidential election, to share his vision with the traditional rulers and get their buy-in.

Dr Bawumia believed that there would be a need to empower chiefs to help the government and that the empowerment should not be just through the amendment of the law, “but to financially resource the chiefs.”

He said if the chiefs and their offices were not financially resourced, they would not be in the position to offer the type of assistance required of them. Currently, he said paramount chiefs were paid GH¢ 1,000 as allowance, which he thought was woefully inadequate and as such needed to be increased.

Consequently, Dr Bawumia said chiefs should be paid living allowances which should be extended to the divisional chiefs and queenmothers,“so that we can have a complete chieftaincy institution that is empowered to help government,” he said.

Succession lines

To forestall chieftaincy disputes as a result of succession, the Vice-President proposed that all chieftaincy lines of succession be codified in the country to prevent those not part of the throne from gettingclose to it.

He said all the chieftaincy disputes in the country were as a result of people not from the royal lineage trying to become chiefs and believed that if the succession lines were codified, it would stop all the ‘imposters’ from infiltrating the royal lineage. 

“We will empower the judicial councils of the Houses of Chiefs to codify all the lines of successions across all the chieftaincy institutions in Ghana and this will bring down the number of chieftaincy disputes,” he said.

Another issue that had been the source of disputes among chiefs in the country, he said, was land and, therefore, proposed the digitalisation of all land ownership in the country.

That, he said, would eliminate all land disputes as landowners would be known by all and no one would trespass on anyone’s land. He said that would also eliminate multiple sale of lands as the buyers could easily authenticate the real owners of the parcel of lands they are buying even from the comfort of their homes.

To facilitate the process, the Vice-President proposed a free registration of lands by chiefs as the process could be expensive. “I want the chiefs to register the land for free to start with so that we will get the registration and when you sell the land, we can take the registration fee from the sale. But for now, let’s allow you to register it for free so that we will get the registration,” he said.

He said land registration was also one of the things on his to-do list as president.

Galamsey

On the issue of illegal mining, Dr Bawumia reiterated the need to involve the chiefs in the management of the natural resources and allow them to have equity stake in the exploration of the resources.

He believed that if they had a stake in the minerals, they would not allow them to be misused but would be interested in their management. “So Nananom, we want to make sure that we can regulate the small-scale miners, make sure that the chiefs are part of the district mining committees that can give the licences to the small-scale miners,” he said.

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