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26.04.2007 General News

Royal college for chiefs next year

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A Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, Mr Abraham Odoom, has announced that a royal college would be established in the country next year to build the capacities of chiefs' in conflict prevention and resolution.

He said feasibility studies are ongoing and funds for the project is being sought from the Swiss government and other donors to ensure its early start.

Mr Odoom made the announcement during a two-day regional stake-holders seminar on the interface between traditional authorities and management of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MMDAS) in the central region at Cape Coast.

The seminar, which was attended by chiefs, District Chief Executives and heads of departments would among others deliberate on the consultative process on the interface of the traditional authority system and local government structures.

Mr Odoom said the college, which would start at the Institute of Local Government in 2008, would have satellite campuses in the Northern, Volta, Central, Western, Ashanti and Greater Accra regions.

The venture would also help forge a national unity among chiefs, since the beneficiaries would be free to select any of the satellite campuses for their studies.

This would enable such "students" to learn and have the practical experience on the culture and traditions of the selected area.

He expressed his regret that some cultures were dying and that in some cases chiefs did not even know about their traditions, values and virtues of the areas that they lord over.

Some, he said did not know their dress code or how to speak in public and stressed that the college would also seek to address some of these issues, adding "there are a lot of skeletons in the cupboard of the chieftaincy institution which needs to be cleansed".

Mr Odoom said a survey conducted, revealed that most investors were shying away from investing in Ghana due to the numerous chieftaincy and land disputes in the country and that the college would benefit the chiefs in addressing these issues as well as academically.

Nana Ato Arthur, Central Regional Minister, underscored the important role chiefs' play in the development of their various traditional areas.

He said they were not only custodians of the lands, but also rallying points for the mobilisation of people for development as well as addressing societal problems and needs.

Nana Arthur said chiefs were also recognised as the "embodiment of our cultural heritage" and are expected to guard and sustain traditional norms, values and principles.

He said it was imperative that every effort be made by all to help strengthen the chieftaincy institution to stand up to its task.

He however expressed his regret that for sometime now, the noble institution had had its fair share of problems over ownership of land, which in most cases lead to violence.

He said there should also be an open door relationship between the local government structures and institutions of traditional authorities as well as regular exchange between associations of local government and traditional authorities.

Nana Kwamina Ansah IV, Eguafohene and President of the Central Regional House of Chiefs, underscored the complementary role chiefs play in the development of their traditional areas.

He said traditional authorities and assemblies were mostly grassroots based and continue to collaborate at various levels to bring good governance to the communities.

Nana Ansah however said success in this area has not been fully achieved because the role of chiefs' was not clearly defined in the decentralised system in the country.

He suggested the amendment of the 1992 constitution and the local government Act 1992 (Act 462) to ensure that chiefs continue to contribute meaningfully to national development.

Source: GNA