TRADITIONAL RULERS SET MEASURES TO ENSURE PEACEFUL ELECTION
4/28/2012 2:33:32 PM -
The time is up in Ghana to emphasize the richness as well as the absorptive-capacity of our cultures in relation to our democratic dispensation and the 2012 political elections in particular. Even though our democratic dispensation is fronted by organized political parties, our cultural qualities and absorptive capacity (which hold us together against extreme group behavior in our democratic dispensation) are held in our traditional chieftaincies. Readers may note that Ghana consists of villages which make towns, towns which make cities, cities which make regions, and regions which make the country. Every Ghanaian village or town is made up of several clans. Each town or village has a chief and a council of elders. These elders are the heads of clans. The traditional chief presides at the meetings of the council. The chieftaincy stays as a focal point of social unity and inter-cultural harmony. Ghana like many other African countries is endowed with very rich cultures and traditions which draw us to each other and also blend us together as a peaceful society. Even though each village or town constitutes a political unit, this God-given architecture (through our chieftaincies) pulls us together as a wonderful (wonder-full) nation.
Appreciating traditional chieftaincies
Traditional chiefs provide leadership and serve as rich embodiments of our culture, traditions and customs. The institution goes to the heart of what distinguishes us as a people of a particular human richness and also as a people of a purposeful design and historical connectedness in God. This institution offers Ghana in particular our uniqueness as a country and statehood.
Historically traditional chiefs ensure that peace and stability (which are essential conditions for development) prevail through adjudication of cases. Beyond this, traditional rulers initiate development projects and secure the support of both internal and external development agents for the execution of these projects.
In many places, one of the biggest values that people speak of traditional chieftaincies is that as custodians of the land, the traditional chiefs (in the best of practice) hold the land as trustees on behalf of the peasants, dispensing equitable distribution of land to the citizenry under their care. Beyond this, let us note that traditional chieftaincy could provide the bedrock upon which to construct new mixed governance structures, as chiefs serve as custodians of and advocates for the interests of local communities within the broader political structure.
Undoubtedly the role of traditional rulers in Ghana has been undergoing change as the democratic dispensation within the country develops. It has therefore been necessary that from time to time chieftaincies refine their role as heads of their polities within the framework of developmental challenges - and in positive alignments to efforts by the central government and its adjuncts as well as non-government organizations and donor bodies.
A ground action service in 2012 and beyond - the Apostolic College of Christian Chieftaincies
Of recent, we have heard of statements, cautions and pieces of advice from various houses of Chiefs in the country. These are very commendable. However a further observation is that the Ghanaian society is becoming increasingly dynamic and can only be impacted or transformed through comprehensive ground engagements. One of such ground-level engagement agencies in the chieftaincy sector is the Apostolic College of Christian Chieftaincies. It is registered in Ghana as a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization to educate the public on chieftaincy roles in a modern democracy and where this relates to a sustainable, thriving and modern market economy in Ghana and Africa.
This college of chieftaincies recognizes the urgency of the hour, and challenges all Ghanaian chieftaincies to warn those in their care that loose talk and other recalcitrant speeches are absolutely outside the face of the Ghanaian culture.
To contribute to peaceful, free and fair elections in December 2012, the Apostolic College of Christian Chieftaincies is visiting all the ten regions and advocating 'Operation Peace, Ghana', commencing from Ashanti Region with a mini-conference on 1st May 2012.
The College of Christian Chieftaincies appeals to all traditional rulers in Ghana to be at the forefront in creating peaceful environment for a peaceful 2012 election. As traditional rulers, it is our shared responsibility to do whatever it takes to ensure peace before, during, and after the elections. As responsible custodians of customary law, we must do whatever it takes to stop and resist violence and those irresponsible from interfering in our democratic dispensation.
This College of Chieftaincies is concerned about the level of allegations on the deployment of 'macho men' at biometric registration centres to intimidate or cause mayhem. Let all Ghanaians do whatever we can to eradicate this disturbing feature in our political life as a nation. We are by this article appealing to all the leaders of political parties and their followers to refrain from utterances meant to generate hullabaloo in the country. We are also calling on the youth in Ghana who will be the leaders of tomorrow to avoid acts that will build to violence.
In summary, this College of Chieftaincies is encouraging all Ghanaians to:
be committed to the fact that it is the responsibility of all Ghanaians in our various communities to ensure that conditions for violence are completely removed from our socio-political life;
be tolerant and have a fair, objective and respectful attitude towards those with different opinions and practices or those who belong to another religion, nationality, race, group or political inclination or affiliation;
co-operate with chiefs and queenmothers to perform their role as conflict mediators but it will be far better to prevent rather than manage violence.
Members' continuing commitment to local development
The Apostolic College of Christian Chieftaincies believes that a healthy socio-economic prosperity of an area provides a healthy environment for democratic dialogue of the area. In this light, the College seeks to access resources to support the development projects of chiefs. In principle, we have attached chieftaincy to developmental issues that foster local peace. In practice, we design strategies to support chieftaincies to initiate innovative, community-based and youth-support projects in enterprise areas such as agri-business , local tourism, ICT, health services, education and rural industry, waste management, small scale mineral extraction businesses, food processing, and general manufacturing. As a base of the challenge, this body presses home the fact that the core functions of every chieftaincy revolve around the effective mobilization of their communities for development purposes. Generally that would translate into building partnerships to provide adequate infrastructure for an enhanced standard of living within the community. Wherever the College of Chieftaincies works to build appropriate international links, we do so to enrich chieftaincy practice in the local context.
By Nana Adu Gyamfi II, Director of the Apostolic College of Christian Chieftaincies