Naa Proferssor John Nabila
Chiefs in the country have been compelled to come out to defend the recent 13 vehicles given to them by President John Dramani Mahama and his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
The President last week presented 13 pick-up vehicles to the National House of Chiefs to be distributed to members; an act that raised eyebrows.
Some, including political analysts and priests have questioned the rationale behind the decision to purchase vehicles for the chief in the face of agitations on the labour front and government’s inability to pay striking polytechnic teachers and student nurses their unpaid allowances among other pressing issues.
According to Dr. Richard Amoako Baah, head of Political Science Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, the President was attempting to bribe the chiefs with the donation of the four-wheel drive pick-ups.
Dr. Amoako Baah said the President’s gift ‘appears to be a bribe.’
According to him, since the nation was struggling to cope with myriad difficulties at the moment, the donation of the 13 pick-ups was a misplaced priority and an attempt to influence the chiefs.
Rt. Rev. Stephen Bosomtwe Ayensu
The Methodist Bishop of Obuasi Diocese, Rt. Rev. Stephen Richard Bosomtwe-Ayensu, also shared the view of the university don, saying the vehicles, coming at the time when there is untold hardship in the country, could not be anything but ‘corruptible gift.’
The National House of Chiefs therefore had cause to respond to the controversy on Friday by issuing a statement to that effect, describing the debate it has generated as unfortunate.
‘The National House of Chiefs want to state categorically that it is the responsibility of the Government (State) to resource the Houses as any other MDA and that is exactly what the President did during his recent meeting with Nananom,’ President of the National House of Chiefs, Naa Professor John Nabila, who signed the statement, noted.
Dr. Amoako Baah
He could not fathom why people were imputing negative intentions into the donation because to him ‘the Houses of Chiefs are creatures of statute and therefore need to be resourced by the Government (State) like any other Government Institution or Agency or Department’ and that ‘the Houses of Chiefs are Agencies under the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs.’
They quoted Article 270 (1) of the Chieftaincy Act, 2008 of the 1992 Constitution which states that ‘the institution of chieftaincy, together with its traditional councils as established by customary law and usage, is hereby guaranteed.’
In view of this, the President of the National House of Chiefs noted that ‘it is therefore unfortunate when without any basis it is taken for granted that it is only for political reasons that such assistance is given to the Houses of Chiefs’ wondering ‘why the same issue does not arise when other institutions of State are resourced by the government.’
‘What people do not know is that the National House of Chiefs is composed of fifty (50) members and the combined membership of the 10 Regional Houses of Chiefs is over 250?’ it noted, insisting that ‘it is therefore preposterous to conclude that one pick-up is given to over 300 chiefs.
This, they said was because ‘the cars are not for the individual chiefs.’
Instead, the statement said ‘they are for the Houses of Chiefs as Government (State) institutions. It is very unfortunate that people have twisted the position of the law to suit their own limited interest.’
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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