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27.10.2004 General News

Kufuor asked chiefs to participate in governance

By GNA

Kumasi, Oct 27, GNA- President John Agyekum Kufuor, has asked the traditional authorities to strengthen their capacity to participate in the country's fledgling democratic process.

He said the traditional councils, Regional and National Houses of Chiefs were designed to assist traditional rulers to participate actively in governance.

President Kufuor said these in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Defence, Dr. Kwame Addo Kufour at the Seventh National Governance workshop in Kumasi on Wednesday.

He said sadly, many chiefs have allowed the chieftaincy institution to fall into decay, through the numerous disputes over the rights of succession and control of land.

The three days workshop, which is on the theme: "Traditional Authority and Good Governance: Implications for Democratic Consolidation", is being hosted by the National House of Chiefs and sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme, through the National Governance Programme.

President Kufuor said the nation had spent vast sums of money and valuable time to find solutions to these problems. President Kufuor noted that, a new group of traditional rulers was emerging on the continent, representing a fresh generation of Africans. "Unlike many of their forebears, this group is highly educated and ambitious to take a more active part in national life. They are imbued with the passions and concerns of our times and are determined to do something about them".

The President said some chiefs were also playing more active roles in seeking the welfare of their people. They are creating educational trusts and seeking investors for the development of our natural resources. They have also made contacts both at home and abroad for funding. "We applaud this noble effort to help the central government to achieve its goals of development. We believe that this effort has huge implications for the growth of our democracy." President Kufuor pointed out, however, that this was bringing our traditional rulers into a financial market place that was full of pitfalls and hidden dangers. President Kufuor asked the chiefs to be transparent and accountable in handling these funds to enable them maintain their dignity and respect.

He tasked the traditional rulers to collaborate with the district assemblies to design development projects in order to eliminate duplication of functions.

Mrs. Leonora Kyerematen, Coordinator of the National Governance Programme, said the workshop would help integrate the chiefs into the modern governance values.

Odeneho Gyapong Ababio II, President of the National House of Chiefs, who chaired the function, asked the chiefs to come out with constructive ideas that would raise the standards of living of the people.

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