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05.04.2004 General News

Ga Chiefs urged not to meddle in politics

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Accra, April 5, GNA - Nana Stephen Owusu-Nsiah, Inspector General of Police (IGP), on Monday asked chiefs in the Greater Accra Region not to meddle in partisan politics but to uphold their unique position in society. "We need peace this year, being an election year, and, therefore, cannot afford not to keep the peace in any circumstance", he said.

Nana Owusu-Nsiah was speaking at a meeting with 35 chiefs in the Greater Accra Region to seek their cooperation to maintain law and order during the ban on drumming and noisemaking prior to the celebration of the Homowo Festival and the general election.

He said chieftaincy was a sacred institution that must be respected, adding "respect is earned but not through the use of force". The IGP noted that apart from their role as supervisors, chiefs also played an important role as opinion leaders, who organised their communities to refrain from acts that might endanger peace.

The Police Chief urged traditional rulers to explain to politicians, who come to them that they accepted all political parties but did not favour any particular political party.

Nana Owusu-Nsiah said the Police would not shirk their constitutional responsibility, therefore, the chiefs and the citizenry should lead exemplary lives and advice the youth to refrain from acts that might derail the peace.

He advised the chiefs not to associate themselves with programmes organised by any political party that might create tension and conflicts. The IGP said it did not augur well for the Police to arrest chiefs, who were custodians of law, order and respect and appealed to them to endeavour to avoid agitations that might lead to conflicts. " Refrain from acts that might lead to your being invited to Police stations for questioning and investigations", he said.

He advised the chiefs to be circumspect in some of the decisions that they took with their subjects, who might remain adamant to some issues, adding: "If we do not take care we will run into trouble."

Nana Owusu-Nsiah, who is also the Mawerehene of the Berekum Traditional Area in the Brong Ahafo Region, said the security was very firm on the ground but needed the support of the chiefs to make it foolproof. The IGP expressed concern over the numerous chieftaincy disputes in the Region and asked the chiefs to endeavour to settle some of these issues amicably instead of resorting to the law courts, and the huge legal fees involved.

"I am a lawyer but monies used in chieftaincy disputes could best be used to support our children."

He appealed to queen mothers in the Region, to confer and make the right decisions during the nomination, installation and estoolement of chiefs to occupy vacant stools to avoid disputes.

"Don't allow money to influence your selection to continue with the command, authority and respect you have among your people", he said. On the media, Nana Owusu-Nsiah advised them especially radio presenters on the Frequency Modulation (FM) stations to refrain from inflaming passions in the name of press freedom.

On land guards, the IGP warned that henceforth any chief or individual who employed land guards would be arrested and tried together with the land guards.

Nana Owusu-Nsiah, made a fervent appeal to the chiefs and their subjects to be tolerant during the period of the ban on drumming and noisemaking to prove to the world that Ghanaians were law-abiding people under the leadership of their chiefs.

Nii Adote Obuor, Sempe Mantse and Acting President of the Ga Traditional Council, advised Ga youths to desist from using the phone-in segments on the FM stations to insult chiefs but exhibit respect for their elders.

He urged politicians to be circumspect in their utterances, saying " this is just the beginning but some politicians have started casting insinuations and insults on others without any provocation". Nii Amoo, Otoblohum Gyasetse, called for the establishment of a Police Investigating Unit at the Lands Commission to investigate alleged fraudulent land cases. 05 April 04

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