CAN CHIEFS ENDORSE CANDIDATES

There is an alarming trend among our traditional authorities which, if allowed to develop any further, may spell the doom of this nation.

They are trying to outdo each other in declaring support for political parties, a practice which may tarnish the image of the institution.

Chieftaincy is a revered institution and all those who occupy the position of chiefs are accorded due respect as leaders of the society.

Chiefs are so important in our traditional setting, that the framers of the national constitution deemed it fit not only to guarantee the continuous existence of the institution, but also preserve its sanctity.

The entire Chapter Twenty, Two of the constitution is devoted to chieftancy, and Article 270 clause 1 states explicitly that: “The institution of chieftancy, together with its traditional councils as established by customary law and usage, is hereby guaranteed”.

Clause Two of the same Article goes further to insulate them from control; stating thus: “Parliament shall have no power to enact any law which (a) confers on any person or authority the right to accord or withdraw recognition to or from a chief for any purpose whatsoever; or (b) in any way detracts or derogates from the honour and dignity of the institution of chieftaincy”.

That is why The Ghanaian Times is worried that the chiefs are engaging in acts that might bring the institution into disrepute, especially as the constitution also precludes them from dabbling in politics.

Article 276 (1) states: “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”.

Although it does not touch on endorsement of candidates, the inference is apparent, as any chief who endorses a candidate openly, is being partisan in his outlook

As the president of the National House of Chiefs, Professor John S. Nabila, cautioned, “chiefs are the fathers and mothers of the people who belong to different political parties.” Therefore, when a chief declares support for one candidate or party, and not the candidate the subjects support, he would no more be seen as father or mother, but rather as an opponent.

We appreciate this caution, and appeal to nananom to see the wisdom contained therein, and put an end to the practice.

For, it does not augur well for the nation, and the institution of chieftaincy.

 

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