The Chieftaincy Minister and former Member of Parliament for the Mfantsiman West Constituency, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, has called for an amendment to the Chieftaincy Act to permit traditional leaders to deal with lawbreakers within their jurisdiction.
He made this call at a lecture by the Millennium Excellence Foundation in Accra.
According to Honorable Stephen Asamoah Boateng, this must begin with re-empowering traditional leaders to summon and try cases involving their subjects at their palaces so that the court is relieved of minor cases.
“And the first thing is to review the chieftaincy act by getting the power of the Nananom (Traditional Rulers) to call citizens to the Ahenfie (Palace) and sometimes to settle simple matters. It doesn’t have to end in the law courts”Stephen Asamoah Boateng
He argues that the amendment will help to restore the reverence of traditional leaders and enhance their participation social development.
The Minister of State further indicated that the judiciary has already begun the process to institute an alternative dispute resolution process mandated by the courts to improve justice delivery in the country.
“The Chief Justice has set up a committee. The committee has started. It has brought the first report, and they are looking at alternative dispute resolution, sometimes mandated by the court”Stephen Asamoah Boateng
Honorable Stephen Asamoah Boateng joins many traditional rulers such as Naa Bohagu Abdulai Mahami and The Paramount Queen mother of Ningo Traditional Council, Naana Dugbakwa Dugba II who have appealed to the government to fast-track the amendment of the Chieftaincy, requesting for more roles in the national development process in Ghana.
The Chieftaincy Minister, Stephen Asamoah Boateng believes a review of the Chieftaincy Act will aid in addressing most challenges in delivering justice to the populace.
In addition, the convener of the lecture series, Anis Haffar, entreated traditional rulers to take up the supportive roles they held in colonial times as supporters of societal developments.
“The role of the traditional leader is to be supportive. You know before colonization, this country was led by our elders, our traditional chiefs, the kings, and the queens.”Anis Haffar, Educationist /Convener – Millennium Excellence Foundation
The convener of the Millennium Excellence Foundation encouraged traditional rulers to take a keen interest in the promotion of education in their communities to drive national development.
Calls for 1992 Constitution Amendments
Mr. Stephen Asamoah Boateng also added his voice to the call for significant amendments to the 1992 constitution. He called the country’s current constitution a confused constitution and rigid.
“The 1992 constitution is a confused constitution. We need to do a lot of work on the 1992 constitution. Until four years there is not much you can do.”Stephen Asamoah Boateng
He critiqued the overwhelming powers the Constitution bestows on the executives. According to him, the executives upon assuming power, cling to the powers they discover.
“So we have given the power to the executive president. You give them power. They see the power you have given them and you think they will let you have some? They won’t. So we need to go back to the constitution and do some reviews of it.”Stephen Asamoah Boateng
Over the years, the 1992 constitution has been critiqued by many well-meaning Ghanaians who have called for its amendments subsequently. In 2010, the Constitution Review Commission, a presidential Commission of Inquiry, was set up in January 2010 to consult with the people of Ghana on the operation of the 1992 Constitution and on any changes that need to be made to the Constitution. The Commission was also tasked to present a draft bill for the amendment of the Constitution in the event that any changes are warranted. The Commission made a report that captured the establishment, mandate, methodology, and processes of the Commission. It also summarised all the submissions received from Ghanaians on the review of the 1992 Constitution; provided the current state of the law on each distinct set of submissions; stated the findings and observations of the Commission on the submissions; and put forward the recommendations of the Commission on each set of submissions.