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General News of Friday, 26 November 1999

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Rawlings asks Council of state to declare position

Accra (Greater Accra) 25 Nov. '99 - President Rawlings has called on Ghana?s Council of State, the advisory body of elder statesmen, to let its voice be heard on the need to ensure national peace and stability. He said it is imperative for the Council to take a hard look at the nation's past, present and the future with the view to building on the positive strides in terms of socio-political development. He said the manner and style in which democracy is being practised in Ghana by some people is beginning to pose a problem adding that he expects the Council to make its position known on the situation.

He also urged the Council to extend its role to cover senior government members and Chief Executives when necessary, saying that some of the setbacks to effective governance could be traced to lack of adequate information. "We have a serious situation. We should have laid a seed of an indestructible tree by now?, he said.

President Rawlings expressed the hope that Odeefuo Boa Ampomsem, the latest member of the Council to be sworn in, who has had nearly 45 years in the paramountcy, would make his wealth of experience available to the Council.

Odeefuo Boa Amponsem, 66, who is also the Dekyirahene, swore the oaths of Allegiance, Secrecy and Office in the presence of Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia, Chairman of the Council, Togbi Gabusu II, a member of the council and Nana Akuoko Sarpong, Chairman of the National Commission on Culture.

The President pledged his commitment to always ensure a healthy relationship between the Council and the government, as well as national peace.

Congratulating Odeefuo Boa Amponsem, Alhaji Bawumia restated the role of the Council as an advisory board saying, "we must provide the President with a quality advice."

Mr Nathan Quao, a presidential aide, expressed the hope that he would co- operate with his colleagues in discussing matters constructively.

He described as erroneous the impression that the Council of State has not been effective.

"This is a misconception," he said, adding that the Council is not supposed to take a confrontational stand against the Presidency.

Odeefuo Boa Ampomsem assured the President that the National House of Chiefs would ensure that no negative event occurs to disturb the current peaceful and stable environment.

He said efforts are underway to reduce the spate of chieftaincy disputes before the various Houses of Chiefs with justice, fairness and equity.