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Opinions of Thursday, 7 February 2008

Columnist: Appiah-Danquah, Kufuor

Odai Ayiku Do Ghana a and Nunguans a Favour

Go or Be Thrown Out

There are times when one shudders and wonders whether our traditional, , political and opinion leaders do genuinely believe in the rule of law or whether power at all costs have turned all of us in to law-breakers. The blatant and arrogant decision of Nii Odai Ayiku not to adhere to any ruling by the Judicial Committee of the Ga Traditional Council, National House of Chiefs or even the basic concepts and tenets of the Ghana Constitution must be challenged and faced head on

The people of Nungua, Accra and Ghana deserve better. Our country is euphoric over the African Cup and we are at peace with ourselves. However, the extensive and protracted chieftaincy disputes all over the country are costing us dear and may tear us apart. It is costing the country dear in terms of development finance and literally taking bread from the mouths of sick children and deprived the country of much needed.

The Government is spending huge sums of monies intervening in chieftaincy disputes which are seriously endangering the body politic of the country. At any given time there are at least 6 or 7 big chieftaincy issues/disputes on the go. These disputes have led to the deaths of some of our young people and seriously disrupted the lives of ordinary folks going about their daily business. Even when the disputes have been resolved by mediation, or the court the losing side acts with impunity.

Some Chiefs disregard all norms of civil society and the rule of law. The Nungua Stool issue is a classic example

It has led to many young people losing their, deterred potential investors and created an anarchic situation in the sale of prime land in Nungua. In a nutshell the good folks of Nungua deserve better. Many of the young people that I have interacted with in Nungua during the past year just cry out for jobs, clean drinking water, affordable houses and excellent community facilities.

ALL GHANAIANS AND I MEAN ALL – JUST DREAM OF WHAT SOME OF US BY THE GRACE OF ALMIGHT Y GOD TAKE FOR GRANTED- “a peaceful and simple life” .

What is my Beef? Why my Concern? Simple- Accra is the capital city of Ghana. When Accra sneezes Kumasi and the other environs catches a cold. Like it or not the fortunes of Ghana is inextricably linked with the prosperity and peace of our capital city. It is therefore imperative that Accra remains peaceful, prosperous and stable.

And by the way, I am a full-bloodied Ghanaian and I have the right to speak, protest and act on any issues that affect the unity, stability and prosperity of our country.

Odai Ayiku has caused enough trouble and it is high time he abides by the ruling of the Judicial Committee of the Ga Traditional Council. For the benefit of our readers I will re-produce the full judgement of the Judicial Committee of the Ga traditional Council sitting at the Ga Traditional Council sitting at the GA Mantse Palace, Kaneshie on Wednesday 12th December 2007.

For the benefit of the readers the suit was brought by Nii Odai Ayiku 1V he was the plaintiff and was present at the hearing with all the parties.

Nii Odai Ayiku 1V sued King Odaifio Welentsi 111 and Nii Bortelabi Borketey- Larweh X1V before the Judicial Council for the following relief:-

1. A declaration that he was enstooled in 1958 as Nungua Mantse

2. A declaration that since his enstoolment as Nungua Mantse he has never been destooled as Nungua Mantse in accordance with Nungua custom, tradition and usage and therefore is still the Nungua Mantse

3. A declaration that being the Nungua Mantse he is entitled to all rights, privileges and powers of the occupant of the Nungua stool to the exclusion of defendants.

4. A further declaration that being the Nungua Mantse he is entitled as of right to sit as a member of the Ga traditional Council to the exclusion of the defendants

5. A declaration that any alleged or purported enstoolment of either 1st or 2nd defendant or both of them as Chief(s), of Nungua was done in violation of law, custom, tradition and usage of Nungua, was /is null and void same having allegedly and/or purported taken place whilst there was a living occupant (Plaintiff) of the stool of Nungua who has neither abdicated nor being destooled.

6. A declaration that accordingly neither the 1st or 2nd defendant nor both of them is entitled to hold himself out either in public or private as Chief(s) of Nungua

7. An order of perpetual injunction restraining 1st and 2nd defendants from styling or holding themselves out either individually or jointly as Chief{s} of Nungua.

Legal Objection and Counter claim of Defendants

I will not waste the time of Ghanaians and the readers in reproducing in full the 1st and 2nd Defendant’s statement of defence just to suffice that both 1st and 2nd defendant filed a Notice of Preliminary Legal Objection and counter claim to the Judicial Committee of the Ga Traditional Council

FULL RULING/JUDGEMENT OF THE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE GA TRADITIONAL COUNCIL ON 12TH DECEMBER 2007 GA MAN TSE PALACE, KANESHIE- ACCRA- GHANA.

We the judicial Committee of the Ga Traditional Council have the opportunity of listening to the submission of both sides on the issue of the preliminary legal objection raised. This Committee is of the view that Executive Instrument No 18 of 1983 is definitely an Act of the PNDC and that being the case, the Committee’s hands are tied and cannot pronounce otherwise.

Indeed the import of the said executive Instrument implies that Nii Odai Ayiku can never hold himself as Nungua Mantse under any circumstances. The Judicial Committee is not concerned with the merit of the substantive suit, but once the axe fall on Nii Odai Ayiku 1V by virtue of the Transitional Provisions particularly section 34(3), Nii Odai Ayiku 1V must be thrown out as Nungua Mantse

Nii Odai Ayiku 1V has demonstrated in several instances the impropriety of the said executive Instrument 18 of 1983 to highlight that his position as Chief of Nungua has not ceased. Particularly in paragraph 9 of his statement case he states that it was falsely stated in the said Executive Instrument that a report has been made to the then Secretary for Chieftaincy Affairs by the Ga Traditional Council destooling him, for which reason no person should recognise him as Chief.

Notwithstanding, he goes on to claim that after the publication of PNDC Executive instrument No 18 several protest were sent to the PNDC Government including a protest letter from the National House of Chiefs. So many reasons have been given by Nii Odai Ayiku 1V as to why he still needs to be recognized as Nungua Mantse, but with all due respect, all these stated reasons are fruitless and cannot be supported in law.

Section 34(4) of the Transitional Provision Act states as follows:

“For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that no executive, legislative, or Judicial Action taken or purported to have been taken by the PNDC or AFRC or a member of the PNDC or AFRC or bay any person appointed by the PNDC or AFRC shall be questioned in any proceedings whatsoever and accordingly it shall not be lawful for any court or other tribunal to make any order or grant any remedy or relief in respect of such act”.

It goes on to say that “The provision of Subsection (3) of this section shall have effect notwithstanding that any such action referred to in that section was not taken in accordance with any procedure prescribed by law.

Consequently, Nii Odai Ayiku 1V cannot question the executive Instrument 18 of 1983 as to whether it was done rightly or wrongly. Nii Odai Ayiku 1V case becomes more compounded when one considers the fact that he is invoking the jurisdiction of this Judicial Committee, an inferior court or tribunal to entertain same. Once again our hands are tied and:

Section 34(5) of the Transitional Provision takes care of it read as follows:

It is not lawful for any court or tribunal to entertain an action instituted in respect of an act or omission against a person acting or omitting to act on the instructions or authority of the PNDC or the AFRC or a member of the PNDC or the AFRC and alleged to be in contravention of any law, whether substantive, or procedural in existence before or during the administration of the PNDC or the AFRC.

Since Parliament according to the Ghana Constitution shall have no power to amend Section 34 and 35 of the Constitution or the Transitional provisions of the Constitution, it can only be subject to referendum and until such time Executive Instrument 18 of 1983 shall continue to be in force.

Consequently, Nii Odai Ayiku cannot hold himself out as the Chief of Nungua. We will therefore dismiss this suit as unmeritorious as Nii Odai Ayiku 1V lacks the requisite capacity to institute himself as Nungua Mantse.

There shall be no order as to cost- I leave readers to be circumspect and judge for themselves.

My advice to Nii Odai Ayiku is simple: There can be only one Chief in Nungua and there will be one Chief. The gloves are now off – action will be taken to ensure some semblance of sanity in the warring areas. As a country we cannot afford to spend our meagre resources policing chieftaincy disputes. If Nii Odai Ayiku 1V will not go, despite the damning Judgement then the Government will cut of the oxygen that keeps him going:

First, his signature would not be accepted at the Lands Commission

Second, he will never be allowed to sit at any deliberations at the Ga Traditional Council

Third, the Security Agencies will never issue a permit for him to perform any role as Nungua Mantse

Finally, if he still persists and intends to destabilize Nungua and for that matter Accra our capital City I can assure him no ambiguity he will face the full might and power of the State.

Enough is enough, Ghana would not allow a few feuding Chiefs to destroy our reputation as a peace-loving, cohesive, harmonious all embracing society.

NB: I would be writing a piece on the more substantive issue of the Ga Mantse in my next piece. The only gazetted, crowned and legitimate King of Accra is King Tackie Tawiah 111 Ga Mantse. I will explain my thinking and reasoning in my next article.

On a lighter note we will win the Africa Cup.

God Bless



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