Is Ahoofe Calling for the Destoolment of Asantehene?

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 Source: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

Mr. Ahoofe’s call for the destoolment of all chiefs that engage in partisan politics got me working my eyebrow real good. How many chiefs will we end up destooling and how will this orgy unfold? I don’t mind the mess that it will create for the traditionalists. Mr Ahoofe is notorious for using parochial considerations to fuel his hawkish and inconsiderate stance. In his last write up posted on Ghanaweb, Ahoofe calls for the destoolment of all chiefs who engage in partisan politics. Mr Ahoofe’s tantrum has to do with his perspective on an effort by a gaggle of no good chiefs, who want to reconcile the thin skin Rawlings with his mentee, Atta Mills, for the benefit of the NDC political party. In Ahoofe’s book, these chiefs were or are guilty of partisan politics, a violation of our scared constitution, which cannot go unpunished. Ahoofe therefore calls for destoolment of all chiefs operating against the constitutional provision that I am about to quote. Mr. Ahoofe, be careful what you ask for, because, you might get it and it won’t be pretty. Ahoofe’s anger is raised a notch higher by the fact that, this intervention between Atta Mills and Rawlings was held in Kumasi and close to the announcement of Nana Addo’s running mate. Wow! It does not take much to get Ahoofe riled up in all directions.

The constitution of Ghana, Chapter 22, Article 276, Clause 1 and 2 stipulates as follows:

Clause 1: “A chief shall not take part in active party politics, and any chief wishing to do so and seeking election to parliament shall abdicate his stool or skin”

Clause 2: “Notwithstanding Clause (1) of the article and paragraph (c) of clause (3) of article 94 of this constitution, a chief may be appointed to any public office for which he is otherwise qualified”.

Let me first say that, though I am not a lawyer and do not play one on TV, these provisions of the constitution are poorly written. First, what is “active politics”? Perhaps the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to explain the difference between active and passive politics. Is this stipulation inferring that passive politics on the part of chiefs is ok? What activity qualifies for active or passive politics? Where is that imaginary line between active and passive politics? Secondly, what is the definition of “public office”? If a chief were to be appointed by a ruling party as a regional minister, will that pass as occupying a public office? Is such a political appointment active or passive politics? Any public office, as long as they are qualified? Haba! There are obviously serious questions about these constitutional provisions and it may take the action of a daring government to trigger the Supreme Court’s interpretation of these provisions. If the provisions only seek to ban chiefs from running for office, then it does not go far enough in my book. For now, I am not going to beat my head against the wall over the constitutional challenges surrounding this matter.

Now, Iet me comment on Ahoofe’s hypocrisy. There is absolutely no doubt that, currently, Ahoofe is a dye in the wool rabid NPP fanatic. As a result, he woefully failed to put the boot on the other leg. How can Mr. Ahoofe forget the brazen exploit of Asantehene during Kufour’s government? First, it was alleged that Asantehene travelled on diplomatic passport. Is that partisan politics? You tell me!! How did the NPP determine that he qualifies for a diplomatic passport and not all chiefs, if the allegation is true? If politics had nothing to do with it, why is Asantehene not playing the same role in the NDC government that he gleefully played when the NPP was in power? Secondly, it is a fact that Asantehene acted on behalf of the NPP government by freeing drug dealers in Libya and giving public speeches in the name of Ghana. Now let’s bring it closer! Thirdly, did the NPP not ask Asantehene to intervene in the Dagbon crisis? Was that partisan politics? After all, the chief was acting on behalf of the NPP government that stood to gain if the conflict was resolved right? Here now is the real enchilada!! Fourthly, did Asantehene not try to resolve the conflict between Rawlings, yes this same Rawlings, and Kufour? Was that partisan politics? Partisan politics need not just be intra-party right? It surely could be inter as well, right? Oh what myopia on Ahoofe’s part! How did Ahoofe miss all these activities by his beloved chief? Shame on you!

Furthermore, did Asantehene not try to resolve the conflict between Alan Cash Kyeremanten and our own “all die be die” Nana Addo? Was he being partisan? Can anyone deny that Asantehene’s political activity was at a crescendo when Kufour was in power? Did we not see foreign dignitaries trotted to Manhyia palace to shore up the manhood of the monarchy? Given all the evidence above, how can Ahoofe muster the crass nerve to make such testy assertions? Could it be hate or just raw mischief? Given the evidence, can Ahoofe stand by his call to destool all chiefs who engage in partisan politics? Here, we see numerous examples of what some could classify as political activity by a chief. How does it compare to the one act, conjured by these no good chiefs that have Ahoofe up in arms? What bothers me the most is when supporters of a party feign innocence and ignorance when their side misbehave but are quick to throw a hissy fit when others do same? Two wrongs do not make a right but my gawd, how can such blatant and brazen contempt for fairness be allowed to go unnoticed? Until we learn to call a spade a spade, regardless, our sincere concerns will look trivial and our credibility defaced.

Let me make a couple of things clear. I am not for chieftaincy and I pray every night for a chieftaincy free world. I am for a meritocracy where we all pull ourselves by our bootstraps. Chiefs in my book, multiply our suffering, divide us tribally, add a litany of conflicts and subtract from our development as a nation. I think the best thing that happened to these chiefs is the quasi or timid constitutional ban on politics. I would love for them to get involved so that we can drag them to the woodshed and give them a drubbing. Unfortunately, it is what it is, as the Americans say. This means that, we have to hold our nose and live with the stench. Where else would we tolerate a system that promotes leadership based on birthrights instead of competency and competition? Where else will we pot a non-performing chief in place for life? Where else can so called leaders operate without being held responsible and accountable yet cover every blade of grass? The chiefs love power and money and want us to zip our trap. We must not tolerate the lack of responsibility and accountability from these lazy chiefs. To whom much is given, much must be expected. We must question and challenge authority. No more free rides for chiefs!! Oh Ghana my beloved!

Some chiefs are partisan and don’t care about this ambivalent constitutional hemorrhage. They see themselves above the law and will operate as such. Others have been circumspect about it and continue to lie low. Whatever the situation is, we must be fair in assessing their involvement. What is good for the goose must be surely good for the gander. If Asantehene can do it, other chiefs must be allowed to do same. Maybe such intervention does not meet the active politics threshold. Maybe it does! I surely don’t know and in fact don’t care. However, if we are to destool other chiefs for the same guilt that adorns Asantehene, then, let it be known that, this is solely Ahoofe’s call. A call that is filled with rushed judgment, inconsideration, hate and surely misguided intentions. Come again Ahoofe!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Affectionately known as the Double Edge Sword)

I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell—Harry Truman

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka