U/E: Queenmothers appeal to Parliament for legislation to give them representation in House of Chiefs

By Samuel Akapule, Navrongo II Contributor
Regional News Queen Mothers  who received the Women of Excellence Awards in UER during International Women's day
MAR 13, 2023 LISTEN
Queen Mothers who received the Women of Excellence Awards in UER during International Women's day

The Upper East Regional Queen Mothers Association has called on Parliament to as a matter of urgency, enact legislation that would give Queen Mothers the legal backing to represent at the Regional and National House of Chiefs.

As it stands, the Queen mothers are not represented in the Regional and National House of Chiefs making male traditional rulers solely taking important decisions relating to customary and development.

The Upper East Regional President of the Queen Mothers Association, Pognaba Alice Ayamga made these observations on behalf of her colleagues at the commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day held at Navrongo in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality.

It was held on the theme, “Digital Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”, organised by the Our Lady of Mercy Community Services (OLAM) with funding from the Open Society Initiatives for West Africa (OSIWA-Senegal).

The President stressed that although the 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana recognised a queenmother as chief in its definition, only few traditional settings in the country recognized female traditional rulers.

This, she indicated, did not only defeat the provision in the Constitution and denied them the right to be represented at the various levels of the Houses of Chiefs, it also denied women the opportunity to participate in critical decision making processes which affected the growth of women, thereby deepening the gender inequality and discrimination.

Pognaba Ayamga who is also the Paramount Queenmother of Naaga Traditional Area noted that although some few traditional areas in the South had taken the initiative to include queenmothers in their traditional councils, same could not be said about Northern Ghana.

“Comparatively to the Southern part of the country where queenmothers are recognised and assigned roles and made to take part in decision making processes effectively, the situation is not so in the five regions of the north of Ghana.

“For instance, most of the traditional political areas in the Upper East Region have not initiated the move to enskin queenmothers to be part of the decision making process at the traditional councils, the regional and national house chiefs,” she lamented.

Aside that, she stressed that even those who have been enskinned would have to pay an amount of GH₵500.00 and follow cumbersome processes in order to be gazette which has disempowered them to take part in decision making processes.

“Society is dynamic and research has shown that countries that have yielded for change are advancing in development. Classic example of these countries includes South Arica and Liberia and the queenmothers are actively participating at the decision-making process,” she added.

The Paramount Queenmother noted that the fight for gender parity and the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals would not be realised if urgent action was not taken to address the challenge, adding “it is therefore unjustifiable for female chiefs to be denied the opportunity at the houses of chiefs where critical decision making regarding women takes place”.

Pognaba Ayamga also called for the integration of women into the digital world to help breach the gender gap and assist them to engage in modern transactions including banking services among others.

The Executive Director, OLAM Mr Emmanuel Atiiga reiterated the commitment of OLAM to continue to collaborate with other partners to champion the welfare of women and children. He noted that a new training center would soon be established at Doba and Kandiga following the return of peace in the areas.

“This center will add to the existing Paga and Navrongo Centers bring the total number of training centers to three. Conflicts affect women and children the most and we are always willing to support initiatives to enhance peaceful coexistence and community development,” he said.

A total of four paramount queenmothers from the region were awarded for their contribution to development especially women's issues in their traditional areas and were each given a citation, woven smock cloth and an undisclosed amount of money.