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Opinions of Thursday, 25 July 2013

Columnist: Asimenu-Forson, Kwaku

All Hail the King of Ghana

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A potential King is born in the United Kingdom and the Realm has gone berserk. All of a sudden , some us are reminded of how ordinary we are. That lowly feeling is bound to arouse jealousy and in the UK itself, the debate about adopting a full-blown republican status has resurfaced, not without the promptings of Envy. Or Equality and Fairplay; depending on where you stand. Let’s just take a look at, at least, one advantage of a constitutional monarchy and see what lessons the Republic of Ghana can learn from it. The 1975 Australian experience comes in handy.

Australia, like Ghana was a member of the British Empire and its successor political organization, the Commonwealth. Unlike Ghana, Australia, like Canada and Jamaica decided to maintain whoever occupies the British Throne as head of state. They refused to go republican and maintained governor- generals as representatives of the Queen, as it were.

In 1975, an opposition- controlled Australian parliament refused to pass the budget. The possibility of the entire economy crashing became clear to all and sundry. After numerous attempts to secure a compromise between the government and the opposition failed, the governor-general re-emerged from the largely ceremonial duties to an active political position. Sir, John Ker, the governor-general fired the Prime Minister paving the way for new elections which became the ultimate solution to the stalemate. The Crown came to the rescue.

The Belgian crisis is even more recent. In Belgium, ethnicity in politics is very high. Diplomats call it cultural differences giving credence to the fact that Brussels is the global diplomatic capital in a sense. The country is clearly split between a French speaking south and a Dutch speaking north with a Germanic minority as an oft-ignored observers of the political chessboard. In 2007, a political struggle between the language (ethnic) groups led to a record 194 days without a Belgian government. It took the binding position of the recently abdicated King Albert II to negotiate and forestall a long predicated break-up of Belgium. The crown unites.

Ghana is in a political stalemate and there is no institution higher than the one in dispute (the presidency) , even if in a ceremonial capacity, to run to for cover. The Judiciary is just as distrusted as the political parties. The corruption perception index says so. In both cases glanced at , the crown served as sort of power reservoir to be relied on a political harmattan; in a stalemate. All of the power of the 25million Ghanaians is saved in Flagstaff/jubilee/flagstaff-Jubilee House. Even the name of our seat of government yields to no consensus. Are we different from Belgium?

I think we need to pull out our Chieftaincy institution from the museum of culture and give them some more direct role at or above the level of the Presidency, in a ceremonial capacity with the possibility of being called upon in times of crisis. Chieftaincy, in even its most battered state commands more respect than any other institution in this country. Everybody revere his or her hometown chief just because of the position. It takes more effort for a chief to lose respect compared to a politician. What a socio-political capital that we can invest into and convert into a modern day institution for more stability for our country. This is the time for social re-engineering. Let’s take a proper constitutional look at the national house of Chiefs.



Kwaku Forson Asimenu(Wofa Gyan)

Awutu Breku.C/R