Regional News of 2014-01-28

Amendment of Chieftaincy Act to meet challenges

The Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Dr Henry Seidu Danaa, has stated that attempts to amend the Chieftaincy Act are aimed at refining the law to meet all challenges confronting the chieftaincy institution in modern times.

He said when power was delegated to chiefs, they were expected to use it to assist the government in bringing law and order in their jurisdictions, adding that issues such as galamsey mining and Indian hemp cultivation could be controlled under the ambit of effective chieftaincy authority.

According to him, the new version of the law states that those who refused to respond to the summons of chiefs would be liable for prosecution.

Dr Danaa was addressing the first meeting of the year of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs at Ho last weekend.

He said the government was committed to fashioning out proposals to transform the chieftaincy institution, which has existed for more than 200 years, to make it more relevant to the Ghanaian society and the international community.

He, therefore, urged all to work together to bring modernisation into the chieftaincy practice, such as the proposal to admit queens into the regional and national house of chiefs.

Dr Danaa said all elevations of traditional councils would be conducted in a manner devoid of rancour and added that some traditional areas had paramount chiefs without traditional councils and once the name of a paramount chief appeared in the regional house of chiefs, they were recognised.

In an address, the President of the Volta Region House of Chiefs and Agbogbomefia of Asogli, Togbe Afede XIV, said the house so far had 59 permanent members, from the original 15. He added that all the 118 paramount chiefs would become permanent by the end of the year.

He, however, gave the condition that all traditional areas must have well-furnished secretariats with furniture and equipment and that all chiefs should attend their traditional council meetings.

Togbe Afede disclosed that there were 28 chieftaincy conflicts pending and expressed the hope that there would be enough understanding and collaboration with the standing committee to ensure their resolution by the end of the year.

On development projects, he announced that a contractor had been identified for the new airport project in Ho and work was expected to begin soon, while work was also progressing steadily on the construction of facilities for the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS).

He advised chiefs to provide the requisite leadership to inspire their people to enable them to partake in the development process in their communities. The Volta Regional Minister, Mr Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, called on chiefs and queens to be patient because the government had so many good things in mind for the region. He acknowledged their support for him and his deputy and also commended them for remaining calm even in the face of agitating issues.

For his part, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, who was on a two-day duty tour of the region, expressed regret on the state of Kpando Stadium and said there was a proposal to rehabilitate the stadium in view of its use as the grounds for premier league encounters.

He asked all stakeholders to make inputs into proposals for a new stadium for the region—whether the new one proposed for UHAS should serve that purpose or that the old sports stadium should rehabilitated in addition to the new one proposed for UHAS.

He later inspected a 53.36 acres of land earmarked for a sports complex in Ho, which is already saddled with encroachment by estate developers.

Mr Afriyie-Ankrah appealed to chiefs to pray for the Black Stars as the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup got nearer, because the Stars were in a tough group.