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09.06.2008 General News

Chiefs Given More Powers

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman & Samuel Nuamah -
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CHIEFS now have legal powers to arbitrate on disputes under the new Chieftaincy Act passed by Parliament yesterday.

With the passage of the Chieftaincy Bill, which is now awaiting Presidential assent, Chieftaincy and Culture Minister, Sampson Boafo, said 'a new impetus has been given to the institution of chieftaincy which will help in resolving the numerous disputes which have plagued it'.

Mr Boafo moved the motion for the passage of the bill which was seconded by Isaac Asiamah, chairman of the Committee of Youth and Culture. The House unanimously approved the motion after Second Deputy Speaker, Alhaji Malik Yakubu, who was in the chair put the question.

Its passage comes 38 years after the bill was first introduced in Parliament in 1970 during the Second Republic.

It is believed that frequent coup d’etats that cut short the life spans of the Second and Third Republics, were largely responsible for the delay.

The new law consolidates with amendments, the Chieftaincy Act, 1971 (Act 370) to bring it in line with the provisions of the Constitution and to include new proposals.

It also consolidates eight pieces of enactments which are amendments to the Act.

Speaking to newsmen after the passage of the Act, an elated Mr Boafo said the institution of chieftaincy would now be brought to modern standards.

He said laws may be passed but it depends on the people to make it work, adding, 'I believe Nananom, being custodians of our culture will comply with the law.'

Mr Boafo said that there was now the need for capacity building for chiefs on boundary issues and issues such as the oil find and its implications for the country.

The new Act has clauses on the National House of Chiefs and the Regional House of Chiefs as well as election of their respective members.

It also has clauses on traditional and divisional councils and their jurisdiction, customary arbitration and general provisions relating to judicial proceedings before the Houses of chiefs, among their issues.

The exercise to consolidate with amendments, the chieftaincy Act, was initiated by the Law Reform Commission in consultation with the various Houses of chiefs.

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