When Whirlwinds Unnerve the Structures of a Brittle State
The chieftaincy dispute over the enstoolment of Mr. Francis Nyonyo, and the needless deaths of innocent citizens is an affirmation of what many of us have feared for a very long time; the retraditionalization of the presidency. In the twenty-first century, no nation can preserve its cosmopolitan culture by engaging the services of indigenous-hirelings whose understanding of institutional democratic governance is sourced from the Stone Age? I am disconcerted by the renaissance of chieftaincy in present day politics, and the increasing rapprochement between the central government and some of the nation’s chiefs whose character would make Al Capone look like a Vicar. The politics of wanting to win elections at any cost by chumming up with the nation’s neocolonial “warrant-chiefs” is a threat to national peace, and our collective security, and must be addressed without favours. The ghastly clashes over Francis Nyonyo’s enstoolment rest squarely on the government. Why would a responsible government, in its wisdom, give Francis Nyonyo police protection knowing that there were widespread mutterings over his legitimacy as the Awoamefia of the Anlonyigba? The psycho-cultural programming of Ghanaians to wait until tragedy engulfs their nation, despite evidence of an imminent brutish conflict, requires serious discussion. What is the role of the state in reproducing horizontal social order? Or, is the state waiting to see another Dagbon crisis before it intervenes? Are we not tired of the government’s shameless defence of incompetence; thus, the constitution prohibits it from interfering in chieftaincy matters? Well, I thought despite its congenial values, democracy is also a system of government predicated on human rationality, and the supremacy of the state to preempt actions that threaten its capability, and survival. Now is the time for the government to take a serious stance against chieftaincy and assess its usefulness to national development. Rather than courting the nation’s chiefs, and honour their “nsanom” invitations as a way to buy their affection, a national referendum on whether we preserve, or abolish, chieftaincy must be discussed with the seriousness it deserves. In my judgement, the nation will reject primitive traditions, and embrace a system of democracy that touts the centrality of the state, and its supremacy over peripheral bodies whose interests lie in wringing undeserving respect from their subjects. While my interpretation of the government’ chieftaincy policies are not rosy, and will remain so for a long time, I am still of the opinion that, the current administration is partially responsible for the schism among some of the nation’s chiefs. Under President Kufuor’s administration, certain indigenous leaders, with partisan leanings, enjoy the status, and the undeserving privileges, of international diplomats, while others are treated with less favorably. The government’s backdoor dealings with certain chieftains set a dangerous precedent. The thought, by some chiefs, that state protection automatically confers legitimacy on them will lead to the proliferation of many violent conflicts at the micro-level; a teed-off state that could potentially threaten regional and national security. I am not apocalyptic as some would contend, but a commoner with poignant insights on basic, yet pressing national issues. Should we leave our nation’s fate to politicians who profess to care, yet care less about the wellbeing of their citizens? Should we waive our rights to be heard at the centres of power, and allow gleeful policymakers with dyed goatee, and veneered-teeth, to think for us? Some of these politicians who were plucked from obscurity are not real thinkers by definition of the word? Doesn’t it make perfect sense to decommission the National and Regional House(s) of Chiefs, and let the nation’s courts take over the interpretation of the laws on chieftaincy? Those who submit to irrelevant traditions, do not stand for the values of 21st century democracy, and must be lectured on utilitarian governance. The preceding sentence justifies Kwame Nkrumah’s suspicion of chieftaincy, and his prophetic warning that we (should) be mindful of politicians who publicize traditions to appease the Otumfuos, the Togbes, the Oseadeayos, the Oyeadieyie, the Nabas, the Nas, and the Odikros. Our nation’s troubles with chieftaincy are not yet over, and the Anloga incident is a precursor of many horrendous things to come. As always, and as a mark of governmental ineffectuality, another useless commission will be constituted to create job for the boys; a window-dressing body that comes at the expense of the taxpayer. We are not a serious nation. Are we? Let’s hear from the other school of thought on this issue. I cry for my nation. Hope all is well. Good day and cheers.
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