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The Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr. Kofi Dzamesi has unveiled a master plan by the ruling government to bring to the barest minimum the number of chieftaincy disputes that have bedevilled the nation.
According to him, the Akufo-Addo led government was going to draw a thin line between real chieftaincy dispute and criminal offence to drastically deal with people who take the law into their own hands, kill innocent people and cause damage to valuable properties during chieftaincy disputes.
Speaking at a day’s workshop organized by the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development for members of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs in Tamale, Mr. Dzamesi lamented that the Chieftaincy Institution which was supposed to play a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of Ghana had rather plagued the nation into several needless conflicts.
He mentioned that the number of chieftaincy cases had increased from 352 to 356 cases in less than three months.
Mr. Dzamesi said that the government could not continue to allow the wanton destruction of properties and human lives by aggrieved parties in chieftaincy conflicts, after which large amount of money meant for the development of the nation was voted to resolving the conflicts, keeping security personnel and repairing damages caused.
The Northern Region in particular has witnessed several chieftaincy conflicts with almost all of them resulting in firing of guns and killing of people including women and children, burning of houses, farmlands and food crops among others. The region has had its own bad name due to frequent outbreak of conflicts and bloodsheds emanating from chieftaincy disputes across all the four kingdoms in the region; Dagbon, Nanum, Mamprugu and Gonjaland.
However, the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs called on traditional authorities to follow the established procedures to install chiefs or resolve their differences, saying, nobody should hide behind the chieftaincy institution to commit crimes.
“The Chieftaincy Institution has all the necessary structures to address its own problems. If you have chieftaincy dispute, we have the judicial committee of the traditional council; if you are not satisfied with their ruling you can send the matter to the Regional House of Chiefs; from there you can go the National House of Chiefs and even if you are still not satisfied, you can proceed to the Supreme Court for the final determination of the dispute. Nobody has the right to use chieftaincy to cause trouble or take the law into their own hands. No! We will not allow that to happen,” the Minister remarked.
Mr. Dzamesi noted that government had increased the monthly allowances paid to paramount chiefs and queen-mothers across the country by 100%, which had already taken effect.
Paramount chiefs according to the Minister would now receive GH¢1,000.00 while queen-mothers would also take home GH¢800.00 as against the previous GH¢500.00 and GH¢350.00 respectively.
The Minister for Regional Reorganisation and Development, Dan Botwe said that the creation of four new regions was based on series of petitions unanimously sent to government from chiefs in the respective regions.
The NPP in its 2016 manifesto promised to create new regions out of Western, Brong Ahafo, Volta and Northern Regions as part of efforts to bring governance closer to the people and speed up national development.
According to the Minister, government was strictly going to follow the 1992 Constitution to ensure that the due processes were followed. Mr. Dan Botwe said that commission of inquiry would be constituted to go round the regions to thoroughly discuss and solicit views of all stakeholders on the creation of the new region.
He therefore encouraged the traditional authorities to lead the process to ensure that there were no disputes or conflicts throughout the exercise especially when it comes to the demarcation of traditional boundaries.
Kpembewura Dari Bismark Haruna, Paramount Chief of Kpembe Traditional Area, who chaired the meeting on behalf of the President of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, Yagbonwura Tuntumba Bore Essa I reaffirmed the readiness of all the chiefs for the creation of one or two new regions out of the Northern Region.
The Chief assured the government of their commitment towards the maintenance of peace in the region.
The Kpembewura also reminded the government of the promises made to the people in the region and called their speedy implementation.
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