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Opinions of Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Columnist: Apostle Mawuetornam Dugbazah

Assessing the stewardship of Chiefs in Ghana: Instituting Togbe's Index (TI)

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We call them economic indicators. Sure you’ve heard of them before: Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross National Product (GNP), Consumer Price Index (CPI) and even the famed “Balance of Trade”. These are all measurable indicators of how modern capitalist economies perform. They are largely European constructs intended to give the impression that an economy is either in low or high gear. Love them or leave them, they exist.

So what about the local chiefdoms of modern Ghana? What indicators should be used to measure the success or failures of modern chieftaincy institutions in the Ghanaian Republic? This article advocates the mainstreaming of a scientific approach to assessing Ghana’s chieftaincy institutions, politically and economically…the Chief’s Political Performance Index (i.e. Togbe’s Index or TI).

“Measuring” the Chiefs

The framework of chieftaincy is common to Ghana’s numerous ethnic groups. Though differences exist regarding the role of chiefs in Ghanaian society, it is fair to say that a chief in Ghana is typically an elder entrusted with the institutions of culture, family and land. In reality, chieftaincy is intricately interwoven with the basic units of economic production: land, labour and capital (resources).

Despite the fact that chieftaincy and the units of economic production are linked, there is very little indication that the stewardship of chiefs is being scientifically measured for local enlightenment, except in the informal sense (i.e. subjects either like you or they don’t). As well, a chief may have to occasionally deal with a ruling council’s informal performance ratings.

In the sixth millennium (or 21st century of the Gregorian calendar), it is becoming very apparent to some thinkers that Ghana needs a scientific approach to measuring the stewardship of chiefs. After all, we all know that some Ghanaian chiefs more than deserve to be de-stooled for the violation of their people’s trust and the breach of long held family traditions and norms.

What is Togbe’s Index (TI) all about?

Before you get all angry and up in arms about whether Ghana’s chiefs deserve a formal measurement designation, just consider that the Republic’s constitution vests a considerable level of authority in chiefs and their related stool or skin elders. For this reason, and considering that Ghana’s resources are still heavily vested in the jurisdiction of chiefs, it is highly important to scientifically measure the stewardship of chiefs.

The Togbe’s Index as it Relates to Culture, Family and Land

In each Ghanaian ethnic group, say, Akan, Ga-Adangbe, Dagomba or even Evhe, culture mainly features as a manifestation of linguistic heritage, legal custom and economic value systems. Measuring how well chiefs perform their given roles should therefore reflect in a scientific approach to analyzing language preservation and use, the adherence to legal custom and of course, economic production and distribution of resources.

For example, how well do chiefs distribute land to their subjects in Ghana? One must only wonder considering that foreigners find it very easy to get a piece of Ghana’s land action. And of course, we all know the story of galamsey where Ghana’s gold resources are being mined using dangerous methods and without the formal acknowledgment of legal protocols.

Togbe’s Index is really about putting together a scientific indication that a chief either over-performed or under-performed during his or her time in traditional political office. Togbe’s Index will enable successive generations to understand, scientifically-speaking, the weaknesses inherent in their family’s traditional institutions. Also, it can serve as a scientific basis upon which elders may engage in de-stoolment hearings and the like (i.e. to enstool or to de-stool?).

Conclusion: How well did your chief do in the Sixth Millennium?

So then, how would you rate your local chief? Did he or she really meet the needs of the people? Did they preserve law and order? Or were they like some Ghanaian chiefs: lawless to the core? It is time for Ghana to scientifically assess its chieftaincy institutions and to include Togbe’s Index among its media reported socio-economic indicators. Togbe’s Index is a performance indicator of relevance for today’s generation.