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05.02.2010 Politics

Allow customs to determine selection of chiefs – Kpan-Naa

By Daily Graphic
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Traditional councils in the country have been challenged to allow customary practices and usages of their traditions to determine selection of chiefs in their respective communities.

A member of the Council of State, Kpan-Naa Mohommed Bawah, who threw the challenge, said the reason why the country was inundated with so many chieftaincy disputes was, partly, because some traditional councils had abandoned their time-tested customs in the selection of chiefs.

He said it was that either members of these councils had adopted inappropriate conventions or were allowing their personal choices to influence their decisions.

The Kpan-Naa made these remarks when he commented on the successful selection of a new chief to replace the late Yagbon-Wura Bawa Doshei II, whose death occurred earlier in the year.

Following the demise of the late Gonja king, the kingmakers of Gonjaland, selected the Kusawgu- Wura Tuntumba Sulemana Jakpa I to serve as the new Overlord of the Gonja Traditional Area in accordance with the customs and usages of Gonjaland.

As per the rotational customs of Gonjaland, the Tuluwe- Wura was to have succeeded the late king, but due to his ill health, the next person in line, being the Kusawgu-Wura, was selected and he had been accepted by the people of Gonjaland.

The Kpan-Naa observed that if all traditional councils were to emulate the example shown by the Gonja Traditional Council, there would be less chieftaincy disputes in the country.
"Our brothers, the Gonjas, have shown that they have respect for their customs, which is why their system is working effectively," he stated.

He also mentioned that the success story of the Gonjas should influence other ethnic groups in the north to wake up and apply their customs appropriately to resolve chieftaincy disputes that had been prolonged unnecessarily.

"The longer these disputes stay, the more we lose focus and tend to take decisions that fall short of customary demands," he cautioned.

The Kpan-Naa further stressed a need for codification of customs and traditions regarding chieftaincy succession among all ethnic groups.

"If we cannot document our customs, how then do we refer to them in times of want," he asked rhetorically.

The Council of State member reiterated the commitment of the Mills government to resolve nagging chieftaincy disputes, but said the ultimate responsibility of resolving these disputes was that of the traditional councils.

"It is they who are the custodians of our culture and, therefore, should be able to apply the customs with some wisdom to resolve such challenges," he added.






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