The chairman of Council of Zongo Chiefs in Kumasi says he is not bothered to be a registered member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Naba Musah Akanbonga II, who also doubles as Frafra chief in Kumasi, says there is no law barring community leaders from taking part in partisan politics.
He stirred a controversy by revealing in what was supposed to be a welcome address during President Nana Akufo-Addo’s visit to the Central Mosque that he is a registered member of the governing party.
That revelation which was met with a roaring applause from residents is contrary to provisions in 1992 Constitution barring chiefs from active partisan politics.
But he has been defending his stance later in an interview.
“I sleep with the Constitution, the Criminal Code, the Court Procedure, the Chieftaincy Act — they are by my bedside. I have researched; I have gone through. There’s no law saying that heads of communities should not do politics,” he said.
Article 276 of the 1992 Constitution states: “A chief shall not take part in active party politics, and any chief wishing to do so and seeking election to Parliament shall abdicate his stool or skin.
But when confronted with provisions in Article 276, Naba Akanbonga who is a retired police officer argued no law ban community leaders who he says are in the class of sub-chiefs or ‘adikro’.
“The traditional leaders, they are doing politics but have you seen anyone being bold to send any chief to court as a trial case? Have you seen that? You do that and you become a hero. Take one chief like those who gave percentages- 80% to that man, 80 % to this man.
“If you look at the Chieftaincy Act, the definition of a chief is somebody who has been appointed and placed on a stool with ba stool name. Now in Akan, we have the sub-chiefs-the Odikros. That law doesn’t ban ‘Adikro’. So sub-chiefs are in the class of ‘Dikros’. Me if you take me to court, I will argue and go free without taken a lawyer,” he argued.
He and other Muslim clerics with the support of Zongo chiefs formed an association ahead of the 2016 elections to campaign for the New Patriotic Party and offered prayers for then candidate Akufo-Addo.
Naba Akanbonga says the group which now has majority of Zongo chiefs will soon roll out a campaign to organize more clerics and chiefs to register for the New Patriotic Party.
“What we are going to do next is that, God willing, we shall form an association of registered members of NPP. We would want to know our strength before 2020 so that we can make a projection.”