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Ghanaian Youth Leader Urges Elders to End Chieftaincy Disputes

Published on Tuesday 14th June 2011

The national organizer of a Ghanaian youth association is calling on elders and traditional rulers to help resolve a brewing conflict over a chieftaincy dispute.
The Ga-Dangme people make up about 30% of the people living in Ghana’s capital, Accra, which is located in the Ga State.
The head of the Ga-Dangme Youth Association, Nii Yemo Yemofio, said he wants to avert a problem that could lead to bloodshed and the destruction of property in Accra.
He called on the leaders to create “mechanisms and structures” to prevent future chieftaincy conflicts.
“We should not look at this as a problem; it’s a challenge,” he said. “So this is a challenge for Ga State.”
On Sunday, Nii Tackie Adama Latse II,  was installed as the new king of the Ga Mashie traditional area in Accra. However,  the area already has a king, Nii Tackie Tawiah II, who was installed a few years ago. His supporters say he cannot be removed from the throne unless a traditional court rules against him and deposes him.
Analysts say the dispute has heightened tensions among the rival camps among the Ga people living in Accra.
Supporters of both men accuse each other of undermining traditions, norms and practices and of impeding much-needed development.
A group of prominent Ga-Dangme traditional elders have begun negotiations with the feuding parties to resolve the conflict.
Such chieftaincy disputes are frequent in the Greater Accra region and in other parts of the country. Some analysts attribute them to greed and political interference.
Yemofio cautioned against the influence of money in selecting kings, saying it often undercuts traditional institutions and norms.
“You cannot put away the customs and culture of the people; it is there and it is written in black and white. But these days, people are buying the chieftaincy institutions with their money,” he said.
Yemofio added that the Ga ethnic group needs unity and a quick resolution to the dispute.
He called on the traditional rulers and elders to ensure that customs and practices are protected.
“We have a chieftaincy constitution in our country. And the only thing we are trying to do is to follow [its] due process,” said Yemofio. “What we are saying is that our elders should use our customs to install the chiefs.”
He also warned that if the disputes continue, they will lead to confusion, disunity, and instability in the Ga Mashie traditional area.

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