CHIEFTAINCY IN GHANA is rife with disputes and factionalism. Unfortunately, Accra is most afflicted and affected, when it comes to chieftaincy and the headaches they engender.Of course, the records still show that Ga is among the lowest in terms of number of chieftaincy disputes, but that is perhaps because the Ga State is smaller than Brong Ahafo and Ashanti which ranks among the highest – but which incidentally are not exploding because they appear to have learnt better how to manage their chieftaincy problems.
The fact, however, remains that Government is doing too little in helping manage the challenge of chieftaincy disputes rocking the nation, leading to internecine strife and carnage in some places like Konkonba-Nanumba, Gushiegu, Bawku and the Volta Region.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system of adjudication introduced by the Government in the last decade needs to be appreciated in that it has helped tremendously to reduce costs of litigation as well as traffic in the courts.
Unfortunately, that success has not benefited the traditional institutions because the ADRs have not been tailored specifically for that social headache. Whilst our National House of Chiefs have recorded quite a number of successes in handling chieftaincy cases, we all know that delays have been unduly long – just as in the case of our conventional courts system. It took too long, for instance, for the courts to establish the Nungua case; and is taking too long again, for the same system to establish the Ga Central case in which people believe politics is muddying the waters every passing minute.
Not quite long ago – and this we know for a fact – a prominent German non-governmental organization released monies to the State’s agency for chieftaincy and culture to research and document lineages that have historical privileges as royals. Not much have been heard about the reports on the study since 2005 or thereabout. The objective of the study was to assist adjudicating bodies and institutions to have a checklist on ‘who and who’ qualifies to be chiefs or royals in Ghana.
The political will to publish the study and provide that checklist has been lacking since.
WOJAKU believes this is the time not only for Government to come out with the research findings but also empower particular ADRs to assist in reducing costs of fighting cases related to disputes over traditional privileges, power and authority as well as build the capacities of such ADRs to handle expeditiously cases involving chieftaincy disputes.
Politics itself has done too much to incapacitate our traditional institutions. It is time some Government mustered the political will to initiate such an arrangement to save our chieftaincy institutions from charlatans with political connections.