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24.04.2019 Article

Our Traditional Leaders Are Not Above Accountability

By Dawda Eric
Our Traditional Leaders Are Not Above Accountability
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I am fortified with the definite pronouncement of the supreme court in Owusu v Agyei[1991] 2 GLR 493 to call for chiefs to render account to the people they serve in their various communities since some have now become "Administrator" of stool lands in breach of the law.

The court in Owusu v Agyei refused to uphold the traditional immunity law accorded to chiefs from accountability of stool property under customary law.

Yesterday i had a challenging rant which forced me to widen my search engine to cover Act 481 of the Administrator of stool lands Act 1994 vis a vis my substantive argument which sought to charge people to demand accountability from their chiefs on the sale of lands within their jurisdiction.

I openly made it clear indirect reference to the chieftaincy Act,2008(Act 759) particularly section 40 of same Act which talks about deposition of chiefs where I inferred that, when a chief sells a parcel of land, he is not to pocket the money as his personal benefit but if he does, it becomes a fertile ground for his disposition.

I also argued that, if an individual is able to establish that, his chief has been pocketing the money he gets from the sale of lands, he or she can set in motion a "deposition "process pursuant to section 40 of Act 759 to get his chief out when found liable.

After the article was published on , a lot of people including some chiefs argued that the accountability Of the sale of lands within their area which are connected to the stool can only be rendered to those who are part of the royal family. I realized that they have been indoctrinated with the mistaken assumption that, since the lands they are holding in trust for the stool belongs to the " ROYAL FAMILY", only members of the royal family can hold them to account in respect of the lands they sell.

Upon a cursory perusal of the Act of parliament that created the office of the Administrator of stool lands, I realized that, since that office is a public office and established by clause (2) of article 267 of the Constitution, any land in trust for the stool is a public" ASSET" and not a restricted bona fide of any royal family.

Let me quote in extension, functions Of the office of the Administrator of stool lands pursuant to section 1 of Act 481,1994 for the purpose of clarity.

" (a) the establishment of a stool land account for each stool into which shall be paid rents, dues, royalties, revenue and any other payments whether in the nature of income or capital from the stool lands, (b) the collection of those rents, dues, royalties, revenues or the other payments whether in the nature of income or capital and to account for them to the beneficiaries specified in section 8, and (c) the disbursement of the revenues determined in accordance with section 7. "

From the above, every revenue generated in respect of stool lands which includes the selling of same must be kept in the account specified above and not the pocket of chiefs. Some of our chiefs have been breaching this particular section of the Act for a very long time with impunity because administrators of stool lands are somehow afraid to speak out for the general public to know.

Our chiefs get a lot of money concerning the lands they sell and if we decide to shift our attention on them and demand that, they account, some of them will abdicate their throne and run away because some of them sell lands and keep the monies. Chieftaincy has become an avenue for people to amass ungoldly wealth for themselves to the detriment of the people they serve.

It has always not been in doubt that, a chief is a custodian of lands within his domain and by that logic, they hold the lands in trust for the stool. It is therefore wrong for our chiefs to think that the lands are their bonafide.

#Let's all come together and demand utmost accountability from our chiefs for they have benefited a lot from the rot some of them have created to the detriment of You and I.#

Dawda Eric(Equity®)
Citizen Vigilance for Justice
24th April,2019
[email protected]

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