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13.08.2005 Feature Article

Chieftaincy Disputes - Who Should Settle Them?

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The news item published on July 20, 2005 captioned “Supreme court dismisses Chieftaincy dispute” has once again aroused my interest in this topic. I have written in a previous article about the lengthy cases in our courts.

The Supreme court has dismissed a court case involving the Central Regional House of Chiefs, Nana Kwasi Attah II, Omanhene of Ogua and Ekow Garbrah and co. It is interesting to note that the case has been sent back to the Central Regional House of Chiefs for amicable settlement. What I did not read is a specific time frame or deadline for them to achieve their final settlement. From the information provided, this case has been dragging on since 1998 and this could go on for ten more years as has been happening at the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs. This case involves the Akwamu Traditional Area. Since the installation of the Paramount Chief, Nana Ansah Sasraku VI and the Queen mother, Nana Afrakumah, the Eastern Regional House of chiefs that is supposed to settle this case amicably has failed to do so dragging this case for thirteen years. The Chiefs have not been registered thus restricting them from official representation of their subjects. The Queen mother who was physically involved in the installation of the Paramount chief to the Akwamu throne, turned around to litigate. A lot of deliberations and consultations go on before the final choice is made between two contestants. She filed a motion with the National House of Chiefs challenging the status of the Chief. She is quoted as saying that she would do all in her power to let the case drag on till the chief dies and has even threatened his life.

Since the Supreme Court was involved in the Cape Coast case, they could have issued an ultimatum to the parties to work with that could set a precedent for other chieftaincy cases. Because this involves developments in their areas. Developments can no longer wait for litigating chiefs. Investors have turned away from disputed areas. One of the reasons Chiefs are delaying cases or not showing up for deliberations is their sitting allowance, which they haven't received in a couple of years. The government sees the importance of this institution, and must as well give the power to settle disputes to the courts or else the Houses should be adequately resourced to carry out their duties and move the whole country forward. Let these two cases be a test. Since it's resting with the Houses, the Ministry of Local Government should give them the ultimatum to settle. The Chiefs should be confirmed and registered, as a matter of urgency with the same importance attached to the appointment of DCEs and Regional Ministers. We are witnesses to how other chiefs are soliciting and establishing projects in their areas. The Supreme Court has stated as quoted in the July 20th article, that once a chief is installed, he has the right to be registered or gazette and any grounds for appeal were wrong in law. And this should be implemented in both cases immediately to end long disputes. All the areas involved have potential for investments. Cape Coast, with its beaches and castles has the potential for more resorts to boost tourism, provide employment and improve the lives of the inhabitants. This goes for the Akosombo, Senchi areas of the Akwamu Traditional area. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Isaac Kusi
Isaac Kusi, © 2005

The author has 15 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: IsaacKusi

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