The Omanhene of Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Prof. Emeritus Oti Boateng, is crying foul of what he says is an attempt by the President of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs and Paramount Chief of the Akyem Traditional Area, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin to exclude his area from the re-structured Eastern Regional House of Chiefs.
In a letter addressed to the President of the National House of Chiefs by the Omanhene of Juaben, he said it has become necessary for him to speak on the new proposal initiated by the President of ERHC without due consultation to preserve the hierarchical structure of the Chieftaincy institution.
According to the Omanhene, a proposal to allow the admission of Divisional Chiefs into a Regional House of Chiefs should be discussed by the whole House with agreement on the modalities of such admissions, before any memorandum on the agreed issues is submitted to the National House of Chiefs for further action.
However, Daasebre Oti Boateng, said the leadership of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs failed to observe protocol by bypassing the full House in the submission of the said memorandum to the National House of Chiefs.
Quoting minutes of the Standing Committee of the House meeting on May 25, 2020, which decided on the matter, Daasebre Oti Boateng said the president failed to solicit for viable alternative solutions and also failed in his proposal to indicate any basis for the allocation of the Divisional Chiefs to the House from the various paramountcies in the Region.
“Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin welcomed all members and thanked them for making time to attend despite the short notice given. Nana President informed Nananom that owing to the limited Membership of the House which almost invariably impairs the effective functioning of the House, it had become imperative to add some Divisional Chiefs to the membership of the House” and second, “After a lengthy discussion, Nananom unanimously agreed to provide a list of Divisional Chiefs from their respective Traditional Councils from which a slot due to each Traditional Council shall be selected by the respective President in consultation with the Traditional Council concerned,” the minutes read.
He adds that, notwithstanding the points raised above, the Standing Committee of the ERHC hurriedly presented a decision to the National House of Chiefs in the same week on May 29, 2020, without following the normal practice of referring the matter to the full House for debate.
According to Daasebre Oti Boateng, the act reveals a total lack of transparency and calls into question the real motive behind the move.
Outlining three major reasons, the Paramount Chief of Juaben Traditional Area says the proposal by the ERHC presented to the National House of Chiefs lacked merit.
“First, by proposing a solution without delineating the precise problem to be solved; second, by failing to justify the asymmetrical allocation system adopted, and third, by bypassing the full ERHC in the submission of the memorandum to the National House,” portions of the letter read.
Touching on how the new proposal arrived at the national level without his input, the President of the Juaben Traditional Council alleged that the ERHC reported to the National House of Chiefs that he, the Omanhene of New Juaben Traditional Area has stated that he did not want any of his Divisional Chiefs to be in the Regional House of Chiefs.
Describing the development as news to him, Daasebre Oti Boateng stated that he was in London during the period under reference writing a book on the Root-based Development survey conducted in New Juaben in February 2020.
He added that he only heard about the issue through the President of the National House of Chiefs who brought it to his attention for the first time when the National House was about to decide on the matter.
“Had it not been this prudent last-minute intervention by the National House leadership aided by our ancestral spirits, which revealed the fabricated lie from the ERHC leadership, New Juaben Divisional Chiefs would have been perpetually disenfranchised from the proposed composition of ERHC.”
Comparing the situation to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, the Omanhene indicated that the incident could spread to all paramountcies in the country whose leadership is considered formidable enough to control, which will, in the end, create a path that will destroy the chieftaincy institution in the country.
“The adoption of unequal allocation principle introduces serious bias and asymmetry into the composition of the ERHC without a justifiable rationale. Indeed, the introduction of asymmetrical allocation which gives some paramountcies undue numerical advantage over others is repugnant to the spirit and letter of the Chieftaincy Act.”
Raising another issue which he characterized as critical, the Omanhene said the role to be played by Divisional Chiefs in the ERHC needs to be debated and accepted by all constituents before an inclusion clause with an appropriate cap is inserted into the working structure and statutes of the house.
Referencing Section 58 of the Chieftaincy Act, Dasaabre Oti Boateng said any act that ends up altering the hierarchical structure of chiefs, such that Divisional Chiefs get to sit on cases affecting Paramount Chiefs, will defeat the spirit of the Act and the hierarchical structure of the Chieftaincy institution.
The letter as sighted by GhanaWeb has been copied to the Chief Justice, the Chief of Staff to the President, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs as well as the Attorney General and other stakeholders.
Read the Daasebre Oti Boateng’s letter below