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Our Chiefs Also Need State Protection

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The rate at which traditional leaders in Ghana are being attacked, and often murdered in cold blood, getting worrying; not only because they form the core of our national political fabric, but largely because their absence could derail the smooth functioning of any political administration in the country.

In fact, it was as a result of the indispensability of chiefs in our body-polity that the British colonialists had not alternative than to introduce ‘Indirect Rule’ as bait to successfully take over the Gold Coast.

THE NEW PUBLISHER, is therefore sad at the current trend, where traditional leaders have glaringly become easy targets in any little conflict situation, and wish something was done to halt the trend.

One would have expected that, after the unfortunate murder of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, and 40 of his subjects in 2002, the state would have done something very pragmatic to protect our traditional leaders. Unfortunately, however, that is not the case.

We all saw the gruesome murder of the Mankralo and Acting President of the Prampram Traditional Area, Nene Atsure Benta III, by some unknown assailants, shortly after a meeting at the Regional House of Chiefs in Dodowa.

Two years before this incident, the Chief of Sota in the Shai Osudoku District, Nene Teiko Kpetutu, his son, and two family members, were shot and killed near Dodowa, again by unknown assailants.

We also cannot forget the shooting to death of the chief of Atwima Koforidua in the Ashanti Region, Nana Edusa Gyapong II, in 2015, while he was changing a punctured tyre on his car, and the shooting of the Gyaasehene of Seikwa Traditional Area in the Tain District, Nana Kwadwo Taano Naansi, in 2018, right in his living room.

One can also talk of the recent burning to ashes of the corpse of Nene Mensah Zotorvi V, chief of Terhe, near Ada, over his burial site.

Last month, the nation was greeted with the murder of Otumfuo’s Asamponghene, Oheneba Kwadwo Aforduor, whose body set ablaze in a car; and just this week, the Chief of Gomoa Akraman in the Central Region, Nana Ahor Agyei, was pounded with a pestle, stoned and shot to death by unidentified persons in his house.

While the list may be endless, our worry once again has to do with the seeming absence of a mechanism to give some protection to chiefs in the country.

THE NEW PUBLISHER hereby repeats it earlier call for a pragmatic effort to give physical protection to our traditional leaders, just as is done to politicians.

We wish to emphasize that, the chieftaincy institution has come too far to be overlooked or scrapped. These are people whose main functions, even before the advent of colonialism, included dispute settlement, codification of customary law, arrangement of ceremonies and festivals, and promotion of socio-economic development, among others.

Without them, the local governance structure of our political hierarchy could crumble.

For this reason, we wish to call on the Ministries of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Interior, and for that matter government, to do all it can to make our chiefs safer.

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