Presentation on theme: " Ghana is a country in West Africa, which has several ethnic groups. There are differences in language and certain customs but there are also many similarities."— Presentation transcript:
Ghana is a country in West Africa, which has several ethnic groups. There are differences in language and certain customs but there are also many similarities in acculturation and legal and political systems within the different ethnic communities.
Traditional political systems are based on family, age and the mandate assigned to particular areas of jurisdiction. Paramount chiefs manage the larger traditional area, and are assisted by sub chiefs who manage divisions within the same area. The sub chiefs are higher in command than village chiefs.
Each chief has elders who provide support in the day to day running of affairs. These are not elective positions. Eligibility for office depends on lineage, age, health, and in today’s world, proximity.
Respect and reverence for chiefs is expected and given, as they are deemed to be divinely appointed. People do not address the chief directly, even though they are standing right next to him. Communication is done through an interpreter, referred to as a linguist.
The linguist passes on to each participant what the other is saying. The position of linguist in the chief’s court is also not elective.
The chief has absolute power even though he consults with his council of elders on complex issues. In particular matters, the chief consults with the traditional priest, whose job is to seek divine direction on behalf of the chief and the community. The traditional system is based on absolute respect for the leader.
People would not go against the edict of the chief under any circumstances. This reverence continues to present day even though the western judicial system and democracy have been adopted since the 1950s.
Governments of the day recognize the traditional system as a powerful part of Ghanaian society and have included the Council of Chiefs in the discussion of key issues and the custody of traditional land. Of course, today’s chiefs are educated and professionals in their own right, but still follow the traditional processes.
Ghana as a country has gone through autocratic, military rule and democratic leadership. Each type of leadership has been of benefit to the country in one way or another. Democratic leadership, though, is the better of these and is what is prevalent, despite occurrence of corruption in many areas.
The President is supported in his work by such independent agencies as the Judiciary, the Council of State and an elected Parliament as well as Commissions whose existence and functions were entrenched in the Constitution.
The Ghanaian Constitution recognizes and protects the office of traditional rulers, thus creating a parallel system of governance. In fact, the Constitution forbids the Parliament from making laws that interfere with the institution.
The institution of chieftaincy provides a renewed sense of belonging as well as being a powerful agent of social cohesion and harmony. This is evident during social functions such as annual festivals, funerals etc.
The statutory functions among other things are: Collection, refinement, codification and the unification of customary laws. Adjudication in chieftaincy disputes. Compilation of lines of succession to offices in the various traditional areas.
Appointment of representations to various government statutory bodies including the Council of State, Prisons Council, National and Regional Lands Commissions and Regional Co-ordination Councils. Constitutionally too, traditional rulers are barred from active partisan politics.
The non-statutory functions of traditional rulers are derived from their positions as moral/natural leaders of their respective communities. As influential members of their communities, they undertake the under-listed functions: Settlement of disputes through arbitration. Mobilization of their peoples for development purposes. In this capacity, they act as linkages between their communities and development agencies including central government departments, local government organs, NGOS, diplomatic missions, religious bodies and welfare associations.
At the national level, the traditional rulers have their own representative body known as the National House of Chiefs made up of five representatives each from the ten regions. The coexistence of the modern and traditional political systems within the ambience of the constitution is the basis of Ghana’s parallel system of governance. Under the aegis of the constitution, the two systems operate in complementary ways that seek to guarantee the fundamental human rights of the citizenry
Chiefs now take active part in sensitization of their communities on health care, education, and community based development projects ( For example,the Asantehene declared HIV and AIDS a developmental issue) Although as an institution it seems to have lost aspects of its powerit has modified itself and adapted its functions in order to play a key role in providing the developmental needs of the communities where it operates. This is done through advocacy, collaboration with donor agencies, central government organs as well asidentifying innovative usage for revenue generated within the community.
Traditional leadership, when properly exercised, also provides extra security in guaranteeing the fundamental human rights, particularly of the marginalized members of the community.