Ga chieftaincy dispute and the wrong governmental response

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Nii Tackie Adama Latse, the current Ga Mantse, is leaving the Ga Mantse Palace in the same way as he entered; he has received the same rude overthrow in the same manner as he gave to Nii Tackie Tawiah, the late Ga Mantse.

Nii Tackie Tawiah was then the occupant of the Ga Stool, and was occupying the Mantse Palace.  In 2011, while Nii Tackie Tawiah was still the recognized Paramount Chief of Ga, Nii Tackie Adama Latse (the currently embattled Ga Mantse), with the support of heavily armed Police personnel, stormed the Palace, and took over, installing himself the King of the Ga people.

Nii Tackie Tawiah was never able to return to the Palace, until he died in 2013, and was buried privately, without the performance of the rites associated with the death of a Ga Mantse.

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Today a King Tackie Teiko Tsuru has been installed, while Nii Tackie Adama Latse (the person who overthrew King Tackie Tawiah) is still a recognized Ga Mantse, the same wrong behavior he put up, is the same he is getting from another wrong tactics, and the Police is still giving protection to those who are breaking the law, the same way as they gave protection to those who broke the law!

No civilized society will allow such lawlessness to prevail. The rule, as provided under the Chieftaincy law, is that if you feel aggrieved by the installation of a chief who has been recognised, you apply to the Judicial Committee of the Traditional Council, to have your case heard, and determined, and a ruling given.

I will not go into the merits and the demerits of who becomes a Ga Mantse, for I am not qualified to do so, as I do not belong to Ga Mashie, and I don’t know their inherited customs.

But in the context of the chaos within the once respected royal thrones, we cannot allow the survival of the fitness to prevail, we cannot ask any group of people to break the law, like open defecation, as our Police Service is made to provide protection for lawless men seeking to occupy what was supposed to be a noble office.

Mr President, your Police Service is helping a lawless person to break the law! What Mr. Kelvin Nii Tackie (seeking to be known as Nii Tackie Teiko Tsuru) has done is wrong! The Ghana Police Service is wrong, in providing protection for Mr. Kelvin Nii Tackie. The Police should, rather, be providing protection for Nii Tackie Adama Latse, the current occupant of the Ga Stool, against any intruder, unless and until a court order determines that Nii Tackie Adama Latse is not suppose to hold himself in the position of a Ga Mantse.

The fact that he, Nii Tackie Adama Latse, broke the law in the past, by installing himself while there was a substantive chief, does not make it right for you to allow the law to be broken again. The Judicial Committee of the Ga Traditional Council is available, the claimant, Mr. Kelvin Nii Tackie, must go there, and argue his case. If he wins his case, he can rightfully be installed as a Ga Mantse. At this point, our state resources, our Police Service, must not be used as an instrument of oppression of any citizen, regardless of our lineage, and I know, Mr. President, that, that is what you stood for, the rule of law!

Chieftaincy is not meant for little minds; it is meant for matured, composed, wise and traditionally grounded royals whose hard work and integrity must not be questionable. Chieftaincy titles are decided by elders, independently, and conferred on rightful individuals, to provide sacred leadership, not as spoils of war for the individual occupants.

Today, people of money, people of political influence, people of questionable corrupt characters are pushing themselves to the fore, making every available efforts to install themselves as chiefs, and aligning themselves with certain political parties, either NPP or NDC, and getting shielded, by state security, as they impose themselves on the people who do not need them.

Nii Tackie Adama Latse was clearly a politically backed chief; the manner in which his installation was done, armed police men and women preventing a sitting gazetted chief, Nii Tackie Tawiah, from entering his own palace, but allowing a counter questionably installed Nii Tackie Adama Latse, to have access to the Palace, in an instant police protection, was, all obviously, a political support for one against the other; for this was the doing of the NDC government.

That is exactly what has been played back this week; the installation of Nii Tackie Teiko Tsuru, under such heavily armed police presence, in a palace which is still occupied by Nii Tackie Adama Latse, is a clear machinations of the NPP government, looking exactly a payback time for what was done against Nii Tackie Tawiah.

Otherwise, how do we explain the police presence that prevents a sitting Mantse to enter his already occupied palace, while we allowed the claimant, who has no official locus, to rather have access to the palace, as it happened in the case of Nii Tackie Tawiah, and now in the case of Nii Tackie Adama Latse? What common sense explanation can we provide for such a partisan approach to policing, what kind of wrong governance is this?

Underlying all of these needless battles of noise is the selfish ambition for the wanton sale of stool and family lands, undeserved royalties, and political expediency.

Of course I will isolate a few, very few, chieftaincy title holders who have maintained the sacredness of their thrones, or who have demonstrated that their first priority of ascension was not the perks associated with their royalty. For instance, with all the recent departing views I have had with Nenyi Ghartey, the Paramount Chief of Effutu Council, he has never been part of the wanton sale of Effutu lands. No multiple land sales can ever be attributed to him, and for this I remain respectful.

A couple of months ago I overheard the Minister of Chieftaincy Affairs making a statement, to the effect, that, the government of Ghana is considering paying allowances for all gazetted sub-chiefs in the country. Remember, that, the government of Ghana is already paying monthly allowances for our recognized Paramount Chiefs.

While respecting the right of the government to make decisions on behalf of the citizenry, this one, giving monthly allowances to gazette sub-chiefs, would have been, not only the most irresponsible act of governance, but the dirtiest act of injustice perpetrated on the taxes of the population. It would look like, taflatse, paying thieves to steal our properties, or paying thugs to foment trouble.

These same chiefs who are supposed to be the custodians of our tradition, and who are supposed to be the ones who are keeping the peace, are themselves the subject of conflicts, dishonesty, stealing, thugery, and disgraceful vendetta. Some chiefs have perpetrated open fraud, others have found very questionable ways of having themselves gazetted, and still many others have taken advantage of the illiteracy of their elders to spew filth on their people.

Chiefs used to command large following, more followers than politicians used to attract. Those were the days when their legitimacy was largely unquestioned, and had natural aura of respect; they earned those respects, and so their citizens saw them as sacred leading extensions of their ancestors. With their self impositions, these chiefs have not only lost themselves, but have barely a handful of people respecting their presence.

So we have several hundreds of chiefs who are leading themselves; they buy support, paying thugs to follow them. These days individuals who have no affinity with their royal stools are paid to carry chiefs in palanquins, because no traditional citizens are willing to response to a selfless duty of carrying a chief, a duty that has long lost its sacred appeal, so now we have chiefs who sit in palanquins shrouded in fear, fear of being thrown into gutters, the very gutters from which they came.

I do not understand why politicians still believe that their political fortunes are tied to the support of some of these traditional leaders? Are we not in this country when many chiefs pledged 101% votes for political parties, yet those pledges turned back to whip them, what happened to their shame?

Occupiers of these rented royalties have faked themselves into who they are not, and have presented themselves a wrong inhabitants of thrones whose owners have no voice, and have gathered imaginary following to attract political hope for political activists who are failing to research into where their fortunes are brewed; the result is a state sponsored injustice that should not be allowed to flourish, and a never ending burden of gazette conflicts.

James Kofi Annan