Ghana: Our Chiefs Must Seize Fire

19 November 2019

In the last few days, the National House of Chiefs (NHC) has been in turmoil following a joint statement by House' President and his Vice, Togbe Afede XIV and Daseebre Kwebu Ewesi VII, on behalf of the NHC.

In that statement, the NHC asked Ghanaians to Vote "No" in the upcoming referendum to reject a proposal to amend Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution in order to pave the way for the election of the Chief Executives of the Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assembly (MMDCEs).

The statement signed by the two chiefs called on the citizenry to reject the proposal saying "all partisanship resulting from presidential appointment of chief executives will be worsened with amendment of Article 55(3).

"The House, based on recommendation of the Legal Committee, strongly object to the proposal that membership of the local assemblies should exclusively comprise representatives of political parties as in the case of Parliament, we are advocating outright rejection of proposal to amend Article 55(3) of 1992 constitution" the statement said.

However, two of the members in a swift response, rejected the statement arguing that it did not reflect the true position of the House.

According to the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, "the standing Committee of the NHC has no record of deliberations of the matter.

He said "The committee of the whole House has not been informed or met on the matter in question" and asked the public to expect a communiqué on the critical national issue in line with established consultative processes.

Similarly, the chairman of the Governance Committee of the House, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II, Paramount Chief of Sefwi Anhwiaso in the Western Region, also said the statement did not represent the collective view of Nananom in the House.

"I am not aware of any consultation or meeting" he added.

But Togbe Afede countered his two colleagues insisting that members of the House were consulted.

Other members have also spoken and that has deepened the confusion amongst members of the House.

The Ghanaian Times is concerned about the open and public confrontation that the respected chiefs are engaged in.

We urge all of them to exercise restraint and avoid using inflammatory language in responding to each other.

It is uncomplimentary for the members of the NHC to engage in public spar over issues that they can resolve in private.

We call for a truce and urge the House to go into caucus and deliberate over the issue and iron out their difference amicably behind closed doors.

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