31.05.2005 General News

Minister urges cooperation between Govt and chiefs

31.05.2005 LISTEN

Elmina, GNA - Nii Ayikwei Otoo, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, on Tuesday stressed the need for the government to cooperate with traditional rulers to ensure that chiefs continue to use their institution to contribute to national development. He, however, appealed to chiefs to stay away from "active partisan politics" and strive to initiate development programmes instead of relying on the government to do so.

The minister said this when he opened a two-day seminar on "Deepening the Democratic Process, the Role of the Chief" for members of the National House of Chiefs and Registrars at the Regional Houses of Chiefs at Elmina.

Some ministers of state and Parliamentarians are attending the seminar that the National House of Chiefs organised. Nii Otoo said the new Chieftaincy Bill, which is before the Parliamentary Sub-committee on Chieftaincy, would soon be forwarded to cabinet.

When approved, he said, the bill that seeks to consolidate the Chieftaincy Act, would help enhance chieftaincy. In an address read for him Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, the Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, also reiterated the appeal to chiefs not to meddle in partisan politics.

He appealed to them to compromise to avoid conflicts and to release land to the government for development projects.

Odeneho Gyapong Ababio II, the President of the National House of Chiefs, said chiefs would not meddle in partisan politics but when there is an issue of national concern "they will not hesitate to join in the discussion and make invaluable contributions for national growth". He said the seminar is to afford the participants a forum to discuss how chiefs, parliamentarians and ministers of state could collectively tackle issues about the governance of the country with the aim of deepening democracy.

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