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13.04.2007 General News

Blame chiefs for communal violence - Sociologist


A sociologist, Mr Kwaku Mensah-Akowuah, has attributed the increasing spate of communal violence and riots to the insensitivity, bias judgement and arbitrary use of authority by some traditional rulers.

He said lack of transparency, accountability, injustices and dishonesty were also some of the contributory factors to communal instability.

Mr Mensah-Akowuah was reacting to the controversy that has been generated among the people of Kokote over a private developer's encroachment on junior secondary school land at Kokote-Aboasu.

He said the negative attitude of some traditional rulers usually resulted in conflicts, land and chieftaincy disputes that undermine the progress, security, stability and development of the nation.

Mr Mensah-Akowuah expressed regret that some traditional rulers give bias support to some sub-chiefs to trespass on the authority of others and cautioned that such injustices usually resulted in mob action, riots and violence.

Commenting on the disputed school land, he said the controversy would have been averted if some traditional rulers had been bold to be truthful, honest and transparent.

Mr Mensah-Akowuah said Kokote elders earmarked the disputed land for educational purposes about 42 years ago when he was a schoolboy and the Offinsohene knew this.

He therefore expressed surprise that Nana Osei Kofi Nti III, chief of Dome, could allegedly sell the school land to some private developers without being reprimanded by the Offinsohene.

Mr Mensah-Akowuah said recognition, reverence and respect for the chieftaincy institution could only be maintained if some traditional rulers exhibited a high sense of decorum, honesty, truthfulness, transparency and social justice.

"As a sociologist, I believe the image, reputation, dignity and respect of the chieftaincy institution greatly depends on the traditional rulers themselves," he said.

Mr Mensah-Akowuah commended the Offinso District Security Committee (DISEC) for its swift intervention to avert any serious violence on the disputed school land last Saturday and advised the parties concerned to exercise the maximum restraint.

Some concerned Kokote citizens have petitioned Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, against the encroachment on the school land.

Source: GNA