SAMUEL KWAKU Boafo, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture has blamed the protracted chieftaincy conflict in Anloga on some city dwellers who have arrogated the power to make kings.
Hon. Boafo was answering questions from journalists as to what measures were being taken to address the Anlo and other chieftaincy cases in the country when he took his turn at the Meet-The-Press series organised by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation in Accra.
The Minister contended that when he visited Anloga, he realized that the situation in respect to who residents wanted as chief was different from what the few rich and influential people in Accra were putting in the public domain.
He however noted that as the case was before the law court, it would not be right to make further comments on it.
On the role the various Houses of Chiefs were playing to resolve chieftaincy conflicts in the country, the Minister said “the Regional Houses have made modest achievements in the hearing and determination of some chieftaincy disputes”.
Hon. Boafo, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Subin in the Ashanti Region, lamented that despite the modest successes the Regional Houses of Chiefs had chalked, lack of adequate funds was thwarting the progress so far made.
He advised feuding parties to adopt Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to settle their differences.
“Although the Ministry is confronted with a number of chieftaincy disputes, the Ministry has been able to resolve some of them. One that stands out prominently is the 15-year-old Kpando chieftaincy dispute which was recently amicably resolved,” he said.
Interestingly, the Ministry of Culture and Chieftaincy Affairs, the last to be created by President Kufuor, was also the last to participate in the Meet-The-Press series for the year 2007.
Elaborating on other achievements of his relatively young ministry, Hon Boafo observed that “the ministry has developed excellent international relations with all the foreign missions in Ghana and the United Nations Offices in Ghana, especially UNESCO, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, South Africa and the British Museum, Great Britain and the African Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP)”.
He mentioned also that his outfit had been able to sensitise communities affected by chieftaincy disputes on the need to desist from high level violent crimes, saying the move had yielded positive results.
The Minister hinted that in order to minimize customary law and land disputes, the National House of Chiefs, in collaboration with the Law Reform Commission and the German Development Cooperation (GTZ), had launched a project to ascertain and codify customary laws relating to family and land issues.
He stated that apart from seminars being organised for selected traditional rulers in the northern and southern zones, the ministry had set aside the month of November every year as Cultural Awareness Month.
He explained that the Cultural Awareness Month would be used to revive “our rich Ghanaian culture that is fast being eroded by the influx of foreign cultures”.
The issue of a Royal College came up for discussion again and as a way of consolidating that idea, Hon. Boafo stated that his ministry would liaise with the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment to pursue the establishment of such an institution.
The Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture was created by President Kufuor to preserve, sustain and integrate the regal, traditional and cultural values and practices to accelerate wealth creation and harmony for total national development.
Its function is to initiate, formulate and ensure the efficient and effective implementation of policies, plans, programmes and projects to preserve, conserve, develop, promote and present Ghanaian heritage institutions, arts and architecture, cultural sites and values.
For her part, Madam Oboshie Sai Cofie, Minister of Information and National Orientation, ably supported by Frank Agyekum, her deputy, urged Ghanaians to desist from showering exotic foreign gifts in the name of Christmas hampers, and use locally made items for such occasions.
She commended the press for supporting her ministry and government to reach out to Ghanaians, and called on them to keep up the good work.
Present at the function were Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, President of the National House of Chiefs; Torgbuigah Gabasu, Chief of Hohoe and President of the Volta Regional House of Chief, and other traditional rulers and Chief Directors.
By Wisdom Peter Awuku