The fifth president of the Fourth Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo – Addo has decried the state at which antagonism and conflict has characterised Chieftaincy Institutions in the country.
The president, who intimated that by chieftaincy’s very nature, only people from the same family can, and do lay claim to the same stool or skin, described as “sad” how chieftaincy has generated more disputes and disharmony than any other institution.
According to president Akufo Addo, the things that are now the source of friction amongst us are not the familiar and ancient differences of tribe and language, but chieftaincy.
Delivering his speech at the 62nd Independence Day celebration, which for the first time since 1957, was marked outside the Regional Capital, Accra, president Akofu Addo mentioned that, the pomp and pageantry, which are often all they (the young people) see, cannot make up for the amount of trouble chieftaincy generates”.
He has therefore called on all Ghanaians to examine and take a critical look at the chieftaincy institution in our nation, saying, when such institution works, it provides the cohesive link to our past, and what defines us as a people, through the chiefs.
“When chieftaincy works, it is an embodiment of our culture and the rock on which we lean for support, and to which we resort in times of trouble. In many parts of our country, our chiefs are the custodians of our lands, and their activities can be the spark for development or for disputes” – president Akufo Addo said this at the 62nd Independence at Tamale, on Wednesday.
“Where the chiefs have united their people, and offered forward looking leadership, modernization has been rapid. Where there has been disunity, the area has lagged behind, and the disputes have been a drain on the public purse” he added.
The president quickly turned his attention to politics, another institutions, he said, has been the source of friction in our society. On March 6, when we celebrate the independence of Ghana, we celebrate the strength that comes from speaking with a united voice. We celebrate the coming together of different peoples to make the united and strong nation of Ghana.
He said, “For years, a deliberate campaign was waged in this country to give competitive politics a bad name to justify military or authoritarian rule. Competitive politics was said to be divisive, antagonistic and corrupt. Well, we learnt from painful experience that military or authoritarian rule could be corrupt and divisive”.
President Akufo Addo explained that, “the people of Ghana do not deserve to be toyed with in such a reckless manner’ and stressed that, “Success should be counted by how many young people go to school and get skills and jobs, and not by how many young people can be marshalled to disrupt elections, or how many broken bones we can count.
He explained that, the diversity that went into weaving the fabric of Ghana is a source of strength, and not of weakness, it is a source of pride, and not of shame. Just watch the master kente and fugu weavers at work, and you will appreciate the strength that comes from the coming together of different and varied yarns to make a strong fabric with intricate and beautiful designs.
For president Akufo Addo, “our languages might be many, and, sometimes, there might be mutual frustration at having difficulty in speaking each other’s language, and no one feels that more than I do, when I stand here in Tamale, unable to speak Dagbani, but we have learnt to overcome such difficulties. We celebrate the variety of foods available under the theme of Ghanaian cuisine, and the variety of clothes that constitute Ghanaian fashion”.
On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, president Akufo Addo joined dignitaries at the Aliu Mahama Stadium, including, Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger, and a Member State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia, and former Presidents of the Republic, Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama, former 2nd Lady, Her Excellency Hajia Ramatu Mahama.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion were, the Speaker of Parliament, the representative of the Chief Justice, the Chairperson of the Council of State, the Chief Staff at the Office of the President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State, the Majority and Minority Leaders of Parliament, Members of Parliament, the Chief of Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, the Inspector General of Police, and Service Commanders, are all present here for this ceremony.