EDITORIAL: Our Queens Deserve Better
8/17/2012 6:15:56 PM -
For well over a decade governments across the world have been pursuing affirmative programmes with the view to placing women in decision-making positions.
Each time political appointments are made in Ghana, many people, especially, women’s groups, seek the inclusion of more women. Even at the conduct of parliamentary primaries, the political parties are encouraged to field female candidates in constituencies considered ‘safe-seats’.
But while the struggle for affirmative action has so far centred on the modern political administrative landscape, the traditional sector has, either consciously or unconsciously, often been overlooked. That has been so because of the perception that our traditional systems recognises only the chief and not the queen.
And yet, the queens continue to play crucial role with regard to the installation of new chiefs and administration of the traditional areas.
When some queens recently raised concerns about their exclusion from the Regional and National Houses of Chiefs and requested that they be included, nobody gave them a hearing.
But we believe that if we are to succeed in our endeavours, we must implement inclusionist policies instead of excluding any segment of the society. And we believe the admonition by renowned educationist, Kwegyir Aggrey that “if you educate a man, you educate an individual and if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation” should guide and influence our thoughts and actions.
That is why the Daily Graphic is gratified by the proposal by the National House of Chiefs (NHC) for an amendment to the constitution to enable queens to become members of the House and those at the regional levels. However commendable the proposals of the NHC may be, we believe it should take the NHC to do more by pushing hard for the amendment.
It may be true that the NHC does not have the powers to amend the constitution but it can make a case for an urgent amendment to the law.
The Daily Graphic thinks that there should not be any deliberate policy to exclude queens from the NHC and the Regional Houses of Chiefs (RHC). The argument by the President of the NHC, Naa Professor John S. Nabila, that the only challenge facing the NHC was the availability of space and how to cater for the additions to the NHC and the RHC does not fly.
We believe the NHC will be creating fertile grounds for further conflicts if some queens are excluded from the NHC and RHC in so far as they qualify to be part. We believe the criteria used in selecting the chiefs to be part of the NHC or RHC can equally apply to the queens.
Moreover, the queens are not as many as the chiefs in the country. In fact, some regions do not have queens at all.
We hasten to ask the NHC what criteria it will use to select queens to contest for inclusion in both houses of chiefs.
The role of our queens in the governance process at the traditional level cannot be downplayed as the way forward for progress is a true partnership between our chiefs and queens.
It is about time the government backed its intentions with action to get the queens to serve in the houses of chiefs.