The art of two equals working to achieve a common goal has been with man from the beginning of time. An African proverb goes that, a fellow hunter’s bullets that help down a game will not destroy the meat. If collaboration has gradually taken over the lone rangers place, then the quest to improve on the social good would require focusing together, thinking at a wavelength and tipping the scales mutually. This is the current trend and the two Ministries stand to benefit as well as the people they serve.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has been working assiduously to identify certain cultural norms and old practices which tend to affect the everyday lives of citizens. This has led to the annulment of child marriages in recent times. The Ministry led by Nana Oye Lithur and her able Deputies are doing their very best to do away with obnoxious cultural practices. Most of these cultural practices are not carried out in the open, example worth citing are child marriages. The Minister and her Ministry would require tip offs to break into some of these inimical cultural practices to carry through the mandate of the ministry as specified.
Again, the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs led by Hon. Dr. Seidu Danaa works with the Chiefs and hence is aware of the cultural practices of the various areas. The Ministry will be in the best position to identify the obnoxious and inhumane practices. Furthermore, the Ministry stands at the threshold to find the reasons behind such practices, intends and purposes it still serves. To pass the comments that, a people of a particular community are against a singled out cultural practice will be under statement, because, the custodians of our cultures are these Chiefs and Queen mothers. They have the power to annul and declare a particular practice of their lands as outmoded.
The two Ministries can team up to effectively clean the Ghanaian society of odd practices. The Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs Ministry will help identify those cultural practices which are hurting sensibilities and making our society appear as if we are still wallowing in the dark days. Again, Dr. Danaa’s Ministry will supply information of some of these practices which are out of sight to the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry. Nana Oye will be armed with knowledge on the reasons a people live the way they do. This is for the reason that, it will be inappropriate for an action to be placed under the microscope of criticism if one is not wholly at home with the reasons. With ample forehand information against a particular inhumane practice, the Chiefs and the Queen Mothers can be prevailed upon to do away with such.
When Dr. Seidu Danaa was nominated for the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, the National House of Chiefs objected and stated that was a taboo. Many were of the opinion that our Traditional Leaders were well stacked in the past and primitive ways. But, they had their reasons. Culture is dynamic, but as well there are some aspects of the life of a people that cannot be transformed, while others have to change with time. Dr. Danaa’s situation could be from two schools of thought; first, Ghana has never had a visually impaired Minister and secondly, the belief of the African and for that matter the Ghanaian of the visually impaired. Most of the beliefs and world views are captured in our sayings, such as; “In the town of blind men and women the one eye is king”, “The blind does not give direction or lead the way”. Confidently, you are informed these and other value sayings culminated in the opposition of the Traditional Leaders. The visually impaired cannot be brought to a palace. Some of the Chiefs and the Queen Mothers cannot welcome Dr. Danaa to the inner parts of their palaces, because of the belief something will go wrong with the stools “Nkowan”. The question is asked, have you come across a visually impaired Traditional ruler before? The answer is no. The human right activist tried a frontal battle with the National House of Chiefs, but unfortunately their voices got drawn in the sea of the power of the Traditional Leaders. There had to be some education and advocacy to pave way for Dr. Danaa to assume office. One would be wrong to think that our Chiefs are illiterate and not in tune with time. The current crops of Traditional Leaders are the most educated. The President of the NHC is a full University Professor and others like himself. Hence, they knew what they were driving at.
In 1896 the colonial administration outlawed the Krobo puberty rites “Dipo”. Yet till date the people of Krobo land perform the rites. Why? For the reason that, to the people of Krobo land, it is of relevance for a growing lady to be admitted into womanhood, but, the young girl must pass through the “Dipo” rite. The colonial administration had a different interpretation of the traditional rite as compared to that of the people who carried out the rite. The two Ministries can work in tandem to come to terms with some of the reasons behind why a group of people in Ghana do what is imbedded in their cultures. According to Prof. Kwame Asare-Poku, most often, those who perform the rites have different interpretation, while the observers also have different understanding. Therefore, Prof. Asare-Poku recommend, if you or any one wants to understand the cultural practices of a group of people the fellow should get involved with the rite performance. Without full understanding of what is being done or practiced, it will be unfair to project it as outmoded. Hence, should the two Ministries team up they would be able to identify as well as understand such practices.
Again, a community in the Volta region recently abolished a cultural practice which allowed the exhuming the body of a dead person suspected to have committed a crime and burn the remains. The next of kin is paraded the street amiss gearing and booing. Recently, the Traditional authority reviewed the practice, realizing the negative image it has been giving the community decided to abolish it. Measures are made by people to guide their way of life. Therefore, same will stand to change, improved upon or completely abolished if it does not serve any relevance at a point in life of a people. There are many of such cultural practices which have been done away.
The two Ministries will improve upon the lives of the Ghanaian citizenry and their image if they opt to work together. The Gender, Children and Social Protection as well as Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs can simply not ignore each other and achieve their target and remain relevant. Surely, there are areas the two Ministries will go their ways, but work in tandem to abolish cultural practices which have outlived their importance.
I believe the two can work together.