The honour of a chief is in his words. His words might make sense, but it doesn’t matter if his words made no sense. They still must be carried out.
Whatever he says should be replete with wisdom. And what counts is the premium he places on his words especially when spoken. He might face trust and confidence deficits in his community if he wavers on his words
It is dishonourable for a chief to renege on his promises, however trivial they might be. Such is the position chiefs hold in the Ghanaian society. They symbolise everything authority.
The fact that the traditional system has not collapsed despite a Republican constitution goes to show that Ghanaians still value chiefs and place high respect on the chieftaincy institution.
Suffice to say that any chief who treats his words as mere pottage is himself treated same. This is now the fate of Chief of Gbese Traditional Area in Accra, Nii Ayi Bonte.
Gbese Mantse, Nii Ayi Bonte
Ghanaians need portable drinking water, reliable power supply, jobs and a formidable economy. They need more.
And one of the few influential groups apart from the citizens who can negotiate for these things are our chiefs. They can call the bluff of political actors without necessarily involving themselves in politics.
Worth telling is the behaviors exhibited by some of our chiefs in the lead up to the 2016 general election which blight the institution.
Chiefs dishonourably lined up to pledge allegiance to incumbent President John Mahama or New Patriotic Party (NPP) Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
President John Mahama
There is virtually no region in the country that some resident chiefs did not sound partisan and lowered their royal garment to the level of street chaps. With no regard for the position they are occupying, these chiefs praised politicians and entreated their people to vote for them.
One chief whose behavior has come under scrutiny after last week Wednesday’s election which saw NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo defeating President Mahama is the chief of the Gbese Traditional Area in Accra.
Nii Ayi Bonte at the groundbreaking ceremony for the redevelopment of the Salaga market said he would abdicate his stool if the NPP leader won the presidential poll. He was so infatuated by the supposed achievement of President Mahama that he felt Ghanaians felt same.
President-Elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo with wife at a Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs meeting after his victory
Showing gross disrespect to the institution that scores of individuals have shed blood, sweat and tears to protect, the chief confidently said the President would win the election because he has done so much for the Ga tribe.
Sections of Ghanaians were disappointed with his statement considering as a chief he is expected to hold up to some standards in his actions and public utterances.
Others said his action has denigrated the institution that is fast losing its respect in the Ghanaian society.
Well, I will not fault Nii Ayi Bonte for his support for the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and President Mahama. All the chiefs are allowed to vote.
Fact is, during the election I observed as the Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II joined throng of voters to cast his ballot at a polling station in front of Manhyia Palace.
I caught myself thinking who he was going to vote for. But does that matter?
Our chiefs are politically affiliated. Before their enskinment, they were private individuals with political connections.
So what really is the fuse?
A sketch of Nana Akufo-Addo in a hospital after his defeat in 2012
I doubt if it had to do with the Gbese Mantse’s open support for the NDC rather than his inability to carry through with his promise.
He had promised to step aside should the election be won by Nana Akufo-Addo and this is what Ghanaians are demanding that he does.
As stated in my opening remark, the honour of a chief is in the value he places on his words when spoken.
For a chief to be taken to social media and ridiculed for disrespecting his words is as dangerous as refusing to accept a lady’s pregnancy after having enjoyed illicit sex with her.
The new National House of Chiefs President, Togbe Afede XIV has a lot of work to do. One of it would be to ensure that Nii Ayi Bonte bows out honourably to savage his respect which is on a tenterhook.
It’s only fair that he respects his words else people might continue making public spectacle of him as could be observed in the country.
The chieftaincy institution needs men of honour and not dishonour.
Views expressed here are the Author’s and do not represent the position of management of Multimedia Group Limited.
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