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Opinions of Saturday, 25 July 2009

Columnist: Asamoa, Kofi Adu

Meeting by West African Traditional Leaders

I have just read a GNA news item captioned “West African Traditional Leaders Meeting Cancelled” which was posted on Ghanaweb on 20/07/09 and wish to comment briefly as follows.

Let us get our priorities right. What the National House of Chiefs and the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture should have at the top of their priorities, in my opinion, is to address the ridiculous situation in which our system of chieftaincy finds itself today. According to our constitutional settlement (see the 1992 Constitution of Ghana) the most senior traditional chief in Ghana is the "paramount chief". The title of "king" is not mentioned in the constitution and no reference is made in the constitution to any other legal document outside the constitution which authorises the use by any chief of the title of "king". And yet the asantehene continues to claim he is a "king" superior in status to all paramount chiefs of Ghana as such he could not be expected to attend the National House of Chiefs and sit with his subordinates. We must either amend the constitution to say he is indeed a "king" and superior to all other traditional chiefs or we should bring him down to earth and tell him in no uncertain terms that he is just another paramount chief and must attend the National House of Chiefs.

Second on the list of priorities is to look for best practice as we try to bring our traditional and cultural practices into the 21st century. The traditional experience of Libya under the schizophrenic Qaddafi cannot be described as best practice. On 1 September 1969, while the Libyan King Idris was in Kamena Vourla, Greece for medical treatment, he was deposed by the Libyan army under the leadership of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi in a coup.

After the coup of 1969, Idris was placed on trial in absentia in the "Libyan People's Court" and sentenced to death in November 1971.

In short, I am glad common sense prevailed and the ill-conceived meeting was cancelled.

Kofi Adu Asamoa.

kaduasamoa@yahoo.com