Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has criticised the neglect of chiefs in the ongoing reforms at the local government level, siding with the National House of Chiefs led by Togbe Afede XIV, and the Vice President, Daasebre Nana Kwebu Ewusi VII.
The Asantehene’s position, is in sharp contrast to that of the Okyenhene and President of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori-Panin, who has already decided on the matter in support of government’s call for the amendment of article 55(3) of the Constitution which will provide the choice for Ghanaians to contest for local government office on either partisan platforms.
A public statement issued by D.M. Ofori-Atta, the Okyeman State Secretary, called on the public to reject “calls from certain quarters, urging the good people of Ghana, to vote against the amendment of the Constitution”, saying “It is not founded on a well-considered understanding of the greater national interest.”
It was unclear, if Okyenhene, had consulted Eastern Regional House of Chiefs before issuing the statements on their behalf.
But speaking at the Annual Leadership Lecture Series organised by the University for Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) last Friday, the respected traditional ruler, said had chiefs been consulted, some chiefs would not have declared that the proposal to elect Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and political party participation in the same process was incompatible.
“Local government in the modern era is only traditional government in Western attire. How is it possible then that the central government representing the modern state and nananom [chiefs] representing the traditional state, could find no space for engagement for the consideration of a major reform on local government and to agree a common position before such crucial reforms were rolled out.
Deep cracks within the National House of Chiefs over the national referendum on whether or not to allow political parties to sponsor candidates for local level elections emerged following a press statement that sought to suggest that chiefs backed political participation of MMDCEs.
The press statement released a fortnight ago, on the letterhead of the House of Chiefs and under the signatures of the President, Togbe Afede XIV and the Vice President, Daasebre Nana Kwebu Ewusi VII, said the House was against the government’s ‘Yes’ position on the December 17 referendum to amend the Constitution to allow elections at local assemblies to be partisan.