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11.09.2004 Regional News

Absence of well-defined succession list is due to chieftaincy disputes

By GNA

Accra, Sept. 11, GNA- Mr Yaw Opoku, a Legal Practitioner in Accra, has attributed the rising incidence of chieftaincy disputes in the country to lack of well-defined succession lists within the chieftaincy institution.

He compared the system of kingship succession in Ghana to that of the United Kingdom, where it was readily known who succeeded the Queen in case of death, and said impostors took advantage of the death of such well-defined succession schedule in Ghana and had infiltrated the chieftaincy ranks with money.

Addressing the September edition of the monthly discussions of the Socialist Forum, a civil society group committed to the ideals of Socialism, in Accra on Friday, Mr Opoku noted the negative repercussions of chieftaincy disputes on national development, stating that the haphazard sale of lands without proper development planning was the reason "why most of Accra is in a mess."

The discussion, on "Chieftaincy, Ethnicity and National Development", centred on negative occurrences in the Ghanaian chieftaincy institution, and how they affected good political governance for effective and accelerated national development.

Mr Opoku painted a gloomy picture of literacy rates and education levels projection since 1984, which demanded a national response. He stated that data from the Ghana Statistical Service showed that 32 per cent of Ghanaians had not been to school at all, 25 per cent were dropouts, and 33 per cent completing basic education. Only 10 per cent had gone beyond the second cycle level.

"Either the figures have worsened or there have been only a minimal improvement", Mr Opoku said.

"Illiteracy is a big problem affecting governance," Mr Opoku said, adding, "It is a national problem that government needs to address. Mr Kwesi Pratt Junior, a Member of the Forum, said the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), was not offering any other alternative than the same policies of its predecessor, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He said both played on the emotions of the people and resorted to ways of ethnicity.

Mr Kyeretwie Opoku, General Secretary of the National Reform Party (NRP), who chaired the discussion, said the domination of one party was a short cut to mobilise the traditional elite to access its patronage. He said there was a recognition that chieftaincy was comparatively powerful to be involved in the judicial system.

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