Sun, 14 Apr 2024 Feature Article

Are stool lands in Ghana the personal property of traditional chiefs?

Are stool lands in Ghana the personal property of traditional chiefs?
14 APR 2024 LISTEN

By the attitudes of the modern day Ghanaian traditional chiefs, most people are tempted to believe that stool lands do belong unquestionably to the paramount chiefs or those sub-chiefs under whose jurisdictions the lands are, for their personal use.

Before delving into my motive for putting out this publication, let me first address the ownership of the Ghanaian land as per cadastre demarcation into regions, districts and traditional divisions.

Lands in regions, districts and traditional enclaves are owned by three entities namely, the government, paramount/sub-chiefs, and families (“abusua”).

In every region, district, or traditional division throughout Ghana, any level-headed person will have noticed the existence of lands belonging to the government, traditional chiefs, and families. No one can dispute this fact.

The lands said to belong to the chiefs are called stool lands and come under customary lands. “Customary lands are collectively owned on ethno-tribal lines. An allodial title vests ownership in the collective entity – a tribe, family, or ethnic group – and is designated by a stool or a skin. The holder of the stool or skin is most often a chief, who is at the top of the hierarchy of the land-owning group. Chiefs and other traditional authorities who hold land are trustees and are expected to ensure that all members of the group benefit from the collectively-owned resources”.

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Why then is it that the avaricious chiefs as are abound in Ghana today have come to believe that the lands of which they are trustees are rather their own with their subjects so concurring?

They sell portions of the land as and when they like and pocket chunks of the proceeds, if not all, in disregard of the laws in place about the sale and ownership of such lands.

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Some of these traditional chiefs are on record to have criminally or illegally sold same portions of land to more than two persons at a time and squandered the accruing money with impunity, culminating in unnecessary litigations between the duped buyers.

Stool lands are not the personal property of any one chief but the entire subjects of the stool. Therefore, we should not sit by as cowards and people without any knowledge to allow the chiefs to abuse their positions to our detriment.

We have every right to point out the rules and regulations to them when they are taking us for a rough ride or when they err.

When Rockson Adofo, the audacious son of Kumawu/Asiampa soil comes out with the facts, he stands accused by the overly sycophantic traditionalists who believe in the absolute authority of the chiefs as was prevalent in the earlier centuries before the arrest and deportation of Ashanti King Nana Agyemang Prempeh 1 in 1896 by the British colonialists.

You can believe in whatever you want and how you want it, nonetheless, such beliefs should not be allowed to negate the facts.

Any chief that believes in the absolute possession and ownership of the totality of any regional, district or divisional land is fake and hallucinating, if not living in cloud cuckoo land.

Let us stop the chiefs from taking us for fools by compelling us to believe that the lands under their jurisdiction are their personal property that they can do whatever they want and like with.

Knowledge makes one confident!
May I sadly announce the passing of one of the current great and most respected sons of Kumawu whose death occurred on Friday, 12 April 2024, after a brief within-hours illness? He was the person of Mr Boateng, who no student at both Opoku Ware Secondary School and Prempeh College could compete with or surpass in academic excellence during his time there as student.

“Any challenger, no challenger”, that was how he was seen and known by his peers and the schools’ authorities.

May his gentle soul rest in peace in the bosom of patriarch Abraham.

May the bereaved Boateng family accept my heartfelt expression of condolence to them.