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13.04.2007 General News

Gas Need Peace

Chieftaincy, as an institution, is so overwhelmingly accepted and endorsed throughout the country that a chapter in our Constitution is devoted to it. Indeed, chieftaincy defines and shapes customary law.

However, the degree of reverence and the attendant servitude varies across ethnic groups.

In many ways, chieftaincy represents the customs and traditions of a people more meaningfully than other social factors. Chiefs serve as the unifying forces in maintaining the unique identity of the people.

Unfortunately, because we have not as yet determined with certainty the principles of succession, anytime a stool becomes vacant it becomes the basis for fomenting trouble and divisiveness, including fratricidal conflicts.

Presently, the Ga Traditional Council will organise the coronation of a new Ga Mantse to succeed the late Bone Nii Amugi II. But the announcement of the date for the coronation has triggered a chain of events.

Yesterday, one of the royal ruling houses announced the installation of a rival Ga Mantse. From all accounts, the process of installing this chief commenced in 2005 when the death of Nii Amugi was still a secret.

There is still a third candidate, even if after the nomination no further action was taken towards his installation.

All these elements of confusion are coming about concerning the most important position of chieftaincy within the Ga State. That is very distressing, for if it is happening even with the highest traditional office within the Ga State, then what would be the situation with divisional and lower level chiefs?

That is why we are calling on all those with goodwill towards the Ga State to stand up and stall the danger ahead.

There must be peace in Ga, otherwise there will be no peace in Ghana.

Indeed, these sad and unfortunate developments have attracted the attention of the GaDangme Council which, for now, has to play a mediating role. The council met last Wednesday to look at the issues confronting the Ga State with the rival claims to the stool.

At the end of deliberations, the council called for restraint from all the feuding parties. It reasoned that since a number of cases were pending over the process, the parties should allow proceedings to take their normal course and that nothing should be done to interfere with the administration of justice.

All that we can say is that there is the need for Gas to make peace. The fact that each of the contending parties is using culture and custom to stake its claim means that they are ready to use reason, rather than violence, to push through their cause.

What this means, therefore, is the readiness to sit down to resolve the differences and give meaning to culture and tradition.

It is thus our hope and prayer that the structures of chieftaincy, both traditional and political, would be deployed to resolve the matter peacefully so that the unity of the Ga State will be preserved.

In that wise, we would equally appeal to the Superior Courts of Judicature to respect the Supreme Court decision that “any cause or matter affecting chieftaincy” would be allowed to be handled by the respective Houses of Chiefs, with the final appellate jurisdiction going to the Supreme Court.

The interventions of the High Court in strictly matters or causes relating to chieftaincy do not help the cause of sustaining peace. 7