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10.08.2019 Feature Article

Weep Not chiefs, you are the main cause of Ghana’s woes

Weep Not chiefs, you are the main cause of Ghana’s woes
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Wonders they say shall never end, and isn’t it indeed very strange that the national house of chiefs should bemoan our inability to make progress in development after 62 years of freedom? This is likened to the proverbial fire asking the pot why she is so black? When she knows that, it is the smoke from her that has turned the once beautiful silver outlook of the pot into the ugly black outlook that she now turns around to query.

Before the politics that we see today chiefs were, and their reign and control of the people even predates the advent of colonization. What lessons and character traits did the chieftaincy institution bequeath on us as a people? Autocratic rule, nepotism, lordship, greed, property grabbing, maltreatment of the innocents and vulnerable in society, and a host of other bad things that you the reader is aware of.including the force appropriation of beautiful women in their domain as wives.

All these bad behaviors of chiefs gradually sunk into theit subjects psyche and made them falsely believe that when you have power, nobody has the audacity to question you on anything you do. This is the genesis of the popular phrases common among politicians today such as “Do you know who I am”, “who are you to question me”, “are you my coequal?” and many others you can think of.

The same way chiefs think they are not accountable to anyone and can grab family lands, sell them and use the proceeds anyhow, the same way politicians think they too are voted into positions of power and, therefore, are not accountable to anyone and could use the nation’s resources anyhow without any consequence whatsoever. I hope you remember the infamous Rawlings statement of “handing over power to whom” and “they should chop off my head before I will disclose how I fund my children’s education in England”. These are but a few examples of politicians thinking that they are not accountable to anybody for their stewardship.

Don’t forget that politicians were once ordinary people in their respective communities and rose to power. They were not from Mars or any other planet so their attitudes and behaviors were shaped by the societies that churned them out. So now you see where political corruption is coming from?

If chiefs want to see an end to corruption in politics, let it start with them. Let them institute chieftaincy accountability day where every year, chiefs would meet their subjects in a durbar ground and account to them of their stewardship. How much money came to the palace during the year, how the money was spent and the balance left. Trust me, when this is done across Ghana for ten continuous years, it would become part of our culture to account for stewardship and new breed of politicians would carry that into politics and Ghana would begin to change. If we need change, it must start from the bedrock of our societies, from family heads to chiefs, to paramount chiefs and to tribal overlords otherwise the corruption free Ghana we all want to see would continue to be a dream.

Benjamin Opoku Agyepong
Benjamin Opoku Agyepong, © 2019

The author has 56 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: BenjaminOpokuAgyepong

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