BY; ALFRED NUAMAH
With reference to a report written by Daniel Kenu (Daily Graphic, July 13, 2016, p.6) in which he claimed that, Asanteman Council is the highest decision making of Asanteland was manifestly ill-founded and deliberately orchestrated to undermine the authority of Regional coordinating Council which is the highest decision making body in every Region as far as our Local Government administration is concern.
If we allow tribal sentiments or political affiliation to cloud our mind and allow any other body to usurp the powers and authority of local government bodies (Regional Co-ordinating Councils, Metropolitan Assemblies, Municipal Assemblies, District Assemblies, etc.) the whole government structure will collapse and pave way to national disintegration.
Since Ghana is a Unitary State, every local body within any area represents the President who is the Supreme Head of the Land. In view of this, any institution of any type be it political, social, traditional or religious which claims to be higher than any local government body within any area of jurisdiction wants to claim that is higher than the office of the Presidency in our dear Nation. Even cabinet does not determine policy. The constitution requires cabinet to ASSIST the President in the determination of general policy of the government.
As Kofi Badu wrote, “According to Osei Kwadwo (An Outline of Asante History, 2004, p111),
‘The admistration of Asante Nation remained under the Occupants of the golden stool until 1896 when Nana Prempeh I was deposed by the British. The administration of Asanteman from that time shifted from the King or Occupant of the golden stool to political appointees. The first political head appointed to administer Asanteman was Major Piggot. He was appointed Chief Commissioner of Asante. He was responsible to the Governor of Gold Coast.
The Governor was responsible to the Secretary of State of the Colonies. The secretary of State for the Colonies was also responsible to the British Crown.” (THE TRUTH STANDS, 9TH -10TH December, 2015. p.12)
Today political administration of every Region is in the hands of a Regional Minister. Regional Ministers are responsible to the Minister of Local government. Minister of Local government is also responsible to the President, the highest position and authority of the land. Ironically the President is also responsible to the electorates (people). That is democracy; government of the people, by the people, for the people. If we allow any other body, whether traditional or religious to arrogate to themselves to usurp the powers of government representatives at District, Municipal, Metropolitan or Regional levels it, our democracy would be jeopardized.
On the other hand, Ghana is a Republican State, but not a Monarchical State In view of this, the President, whether executive President or ceremonial President is the supreme head of the country. It is very sad that, currently some traditional leaders are rubbing-shoulders with the President as if their position or authority is equal or higher than that of the Presidency. If we behave like ostrich and bury our heads to the ground and allow this happen, our sovereignty as a State-Nation can be undermined. This can cause the Nation to disintegrate like what happened to former Yugoslavia.
I want to use this opportunity to remind our traditional leaders that, the fact that our Ministers of state, MP,s, DCE,s, MCE,s and even Presidents bow down to them does not mean that they have powers, authority, and control over the government officials. Politicians are not accountable any traditional authority in the country. They are accountable to the people. For that matter no group of people can use their own power to remove any government official from office. If they have any grievances they can pass it through appropriate channel for redress. This action taken by Kumasi Traditional council against Kwajo Bonsu is Tantamount to coup.
What development taking place in our society? Traditionally, it is a Chief that people slaughter a ram to signify his destoolment. But today, a group of people with their own accord canslaughter ram to remove a government official from office, simply because he wants to use proper administrative procedure to perform his functions effectively and efficiently.
If such a thing can happen in our society then we are retrogressing back to Dark Ages. It is ridiculous for the chiefs to complain that Kwajo Bonsu has sidelined them. The irony of the whole situationis the fact that almost all these chiefs are educated. However they have allowed outmoded tradition to cloud their minds and resorted this strange action against the MCE of Kumasi.
It is very and pathetic that the chiefs further accused Mr. Bonsu of Preventing the Akyempin- hene Adusei Poku from boarding the same vehicle with the Earl of Wesse, Prince Edward from the the Manyia Palace when the British royal visited the Asantehene recently. Bishop James Saah of Action chapel Int. once said, “Leadership is not where you but the role you play makes you a leader. If the chiefs want to come to public for people to know them, then they should go theaters to make show to the public so that they can be seen by the public. If chiefs do not want the government to interfere in the chieftaincy affairs, why do want to interfere in the government affairs. These chiefs should realize that society is dynamic and culture is dynamic. Their time has passed. It is respect that we show to them then sometimes we seek their opinion on certain matters. The fact that our Ministers, MPs, MCEs, DCEs and even Presidents bow down to them does not mean they have power, authority and control over any government official. If they claim that Kwajo Bonsou,s Action has slighted the Asantehene, they should also realized that, their action has slighted the President. Their action is an indictment on the position of the Presidency. This is by virtue of the fact that, Mr. Bonsu represents the President.
So if they severed their relationship with Mr. Bonsu, it means they have severed their relationship with the President, the supreme of our dear Nation.
I am surprise that a high-powered government delegation led by the chief of staff, Mr. Julius Debrah, met wth the Asantehene at his private residence to plead on behalf of Mr. Bonsu did not yield any good result. President Mahama has cheapened the Position of the Presidency. It is inescapable striking fact that President Mahama has stooped so low to our traditional leaders because of the votes that he seeking for. This has made some of the traditional leaders to have a wrong impression that that their position is equal or even higher than the Presidency. In view of this, some of them are rubbing shoulders with the President. I am not surprise by this action taken by Kumasi chiefs. It is President Mahama who has allowed all these things to happen.
Nkrumah and Rawlings are the leaders I admire in Ghana politics. Nkrumah started as democrat and ended as dictator. On the other hand, Rawlings started as dictator and ended as democrat. Even though both of them have their shortcoming, during their tenure of office no authority of any type be it political, social, religious or traditional had the audacity to rub shoulders with them in terms of position. Rawlings knows how to submit to elders and traditional leaders. But at the same he was strict in the area of exercising his power as President.
Today the chiefs have taken all the attributes of God; Osagyefo, Otumfuo, Osabama, Osanene, Katakyie, Kantamanto etc. as their titles. For this reason some people think that the chiefs or the kings are infallible and for that matter they are untouchable. No wonder people find it difficult to criticize chiefs despite all their shortcomings. This is mental slavery. In this case, Nkrumah was right when he banned all chiefs from taking on any title mentioned above. No media practitioner was bold enough to condemn this ‘parochial and disgusting action taken by Kumasi Traditional
Council against Kwajo Bonsu.
Daniel Kenu also made a mistake by describing Kumasi Traditional Council as Asanteman Council. It is not Asanteman Council that took action against Mr. Bonsu. Rather is Kumasi traditional council that took that action. Some people out of ignorance think that Kumasi traditional council and Asanteman Council are synonymous. Kumasi Traditional Council is different from Asanteman Council despite the fact that the Asantehene the head of both Kumasi Traditional Council and Asanteman Council. Kumasi Traditional Council is a subset of Asanteman Council It is imperative for every media practitioner to have basic knowledge in politics, history, law and governance. It is very sad and pathetic that, a lot of mush-rooming private media schools have sprung up in the country. For instance, an unqualified Senior High School leaver will go for a three-month course and come as a journalist. What kind of society are we building?