The Lepowura and Director of the Otumfuo Centre for Traditional Leadership at the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), Alhaji M. N. D. Jawula, is proposing that the government pays chiefs to help discourage them from giving lands out for illegal activities, in return for pittance.
While urging chiefs to make sacrifices, the Lepowura said the government had to ensure that chiefs were well paid to help cushion their financial challenges that possibly compelled them to grant lands for all sorts of illegal activities.
“If chiefs are well paid, they will not be compelled to go chasing peanuts and giving out what is our birthright,” the Lepowura said in an interview after the opening ceremony of a five-day training workshop for chiefs and staff of traditional councils, Regional and the National House of Chiefs in Accra yesterday.
The workshop organised by the Otumfuo Centre for Traditional Leadership was to help expose and empower the chiefs and staff of the traditional councils to matters pertaining to land administration, conflict management, security issues and book keeping.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Jawula has cautioned chiefs and traditional leaders not to allow themselves to be used as conduits for promoting illegal mining popularly known as ‘galamsey.’
Instead of aiding illegal miners to destroy the environment, Alhaji Jawula said chiefs should rather commit to leaving lands as a legacy for the next generation.
His caution followed allegations that some chiefs and traditional rulers were involved in galamsey.
“People think if the chiefs do not say yes, those who are degrading our environment cannot get there,” he said.
He reminded the chiefs that the foreigners involved in galamsey were using the country’s lands to get the gold and “we are getting pittance”.
New face of chieftaincy
The Vice Chancellor of the UPSA, Prof. Abednego Okoe Amartey, who also addressed participants in the workshop, mentioned that society expected chiefs to be accountable when it came to the expenditure of public funds.
“Good traditional leadership is also about transparency. Without accountability and transparency, there cannot be trust between our traditional leaders and the people they lead. In our contemporary times, therefore, the importance of modern traditional leadership techniques is vital,” he stressed.
Prof. Amartey noted that the changing face of the roles of traditional leaders and chiefs had made it necessary for them to be given training in good governance.
“The provision of training in traditional leadership issues such as leadership skills, land administration, conflict management, negotiation skills, records and documentation management is, therefore, imperative and will prepare our traditional leaders to handle the myriad of challenges facing their communities,” he said.
He expressed the hope that by the close of the workshop, the traditional leaders would be equipped to network and collaborate to promote community development.
The Omanhene of the Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, said the education provided at the workshop should make the traditional leaders feel empowered, explaining that the acronym – PEACE – meant proper education always creates elevation, hence the need for traditional leaders to let this reflect after the training.