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04.08.2004 General News

Pass LI reconstituting NR House of Chiefs - Yagbon-wura

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Damongo (N/R), Aug. 4, GNA - Yagbon-Wura Abudu Bawa Doshie, President of the Northern Region House of Chiefs, has appealed to the government to expedite action on the passing into law of the Legislative Instrument for the reconstitution of the House. He also called for the consideration of the proposals for the elevation of some traditional rulers into paramount chiefs to prevent chieftaincy disputes in the region.

The Yagbon-Wura, who is also the Paramount Chief of the Gonja Traditional Area, recalled that after the 1994 ethnic conflict in the area, the chiefs agreed to reconstitute the composition of the House and to elevate some chiefs to paramount status. He said, "If the legislative instrument is not passed, it can create room for discontent among some chiefs and worsen the conflict situation in the Northern Region".

Yagbon-Wura Doshie was addressing the first general meeting of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs at Damongo on Tuesday. The House, which was located in Tamale, had not met for the past two years due to the Dagbon conflict scheduled the meeting for Damongo this year. Yagbon-wura Doshie expressed the worry of chiefs in the region about the incidence of chieftaincy disputes and said the meeting would examine the conflicts to find lasting solutions to them. He appealed to the government to appoint a permanent Counsel for the House to dispose of cases pending before it and for the posting of adequate staff and the provision of funds and logistics. He said that the chiefs were collaborating with the Northern Network for Education Development (NNED), an NGO, to identify areas they could assist in the provision of accommodation for teachers posted to their areas and the supervision of schools to promote teaching and learning.

The President of the House called on the government to establish another Teacher Training College in the region to improve the teacher-child ratio in basic schools in the Region. He expressed concern about the poor living conditions of the people, especially women, who he said, "still go to long distances in search of water", and appealed to the government and NGOs to assist in the provision of potable water to reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases.

The Yagbon-Wura called on the members of the House to mobilise resources and to seek government and donor support to improve the living conditions of the people. He observed that the region was endowed with natural resources including large tracts of fertile land suitable for the cultivation of crops as well as for animal husbandry and appealed to the President to initiate a Special Initiative on one of the areas of agriculture the region had a comparative advantage.

The Chief advised members of the House to comply with the constitutional provision not to participate in active politics to safeguard the image and prestige of the chieftaincy institution. He urged them to open their doors to all political parties and cautioned politicians to refrain from using abusive and inflammatory language in their campaign.

Mr Ernest Debrah, Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf expressed regrets that the region had gained notoriety "as a place of intolerance, conflict and a market for weapons" because of the numerous chieftaincy disputes in the area. He asked traditional authorities to document the processes and procedures for succession "so that the law and not oral tradition" would guide such procedures.

The Regional Minister called on them to work towards finding peaceful solutions to the chieftaincy disputes. He stressed the importance of eradicating illiteracy, superstition and disease and said, "Our people are crying for help and their leaders should not lead them into conflict but deliver them from the pangs of poverty and disease".