As the government of Nana Akufo-Addo touts its GHc1,000 pegging of allowances to chiefs as a masterstroke that is aimed at curbing chieftaincy disputes, the insult to Ghanaian chiefs is only one fallout from the slapstick comedy on display.
Also at the heart of the drama, is a hypocrisy that reaffirms the public view that President Akufo-Addo and his vice, Mahamudu Bawumia, indeed, lied their way to power.
The very NPP people who are patting themselves on the back for increasing allowances to chiefs to GHc1,000 and queen mothers, GHc500, were the same people who condemned the predecessor government for furnishing chiefs with utility cars.
When Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia was only a running mate to Akufo-Addo in 2014, he claimed that then President Mahama had wasted money for buying four wheel drives for chiefs.
According to him, the cars which had been given the chiefs by the government to facilitate their work in contribution to statecraft were bribes that had been received by those chiefs with price tags on their conscience.
“The government abandoned all fiscal discipline in an attempt to win the 2012 elections, gifts of cars, 4×4 vehicles to chiefs and opinion leaders…. to buy votes, ” Dr. Bawumia had told Ghanaians in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, where he had been meeting the NPP’s branch there to canvass support for the 2016 elections.
Dr. Bawumia had made it clear that the Mahama regime’s move to cushion chiefs was bribery that can only be said to be misplaced priority at best.
According to him, the Mahama regime’s allocation to chiefs was one of the indicators of what he said was the regime’s mismanagement of a sound economy that it had inherited from the erstwhile Kufuor government.
“For workers whose wages are in arrears and are being threatened with freeze, we know now that it was their wages that this NDC government was chopping nyafu, nyafu,” Dr. Bawumia had said.
And yet this same government is proudly touting the increment in allowances of chiefs as a great achievement.
Minister for Chieftaincy, Kofi Dzamesi, recently announced at a meeting with the Northern Regional House of Chiefs in Tamale that government has increased allowances for chiefs to GHc1000, while queens are to receive GHc500 every month.
According to the minister, the increment is in the government’s bid to curb chieftaincy disputes around the country.
The reason given by the minister has served as window into the estimation of the Akufo-Addo government for chiefs – that they are so hungry and desperate that a GHc1000 a month is good enough to dissuade them from disputing.
As the insult to the chieftaincy institution hangs, the grandstanding has left the Akufo-Addo government looking clownish.
Especially so when the same ruling party had, in opposition, condemned the predecessor government for furnishing chiefs with durable cars for their work as misspending and even corrupt.
The NPP had criticized from the rooftops only for them to come to power and increase chieftaincy allowances to GHc1000 and call it a masterstroke for curbing chieftaincy disputes.