The Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh says the directive by the Kumasi Traditional Council to the Management of Oyerepa FM to shut down amounts to abuse of power.
According to the seasoned lawyer, even though the Council is clothed with powers to exercise authority within its jurisdiction, the move to halt the broadcast of the station is not grounded in law.
Contributing to discussions on JoyNews’ NewsFile on Saturday, the law professor explained that, customary laws are part of the legitimate sources of law, enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
He however noted that, the implementation of such laws must be done with recourse to other relevant provisions of the Constitution, to ensure harmonisation between customary powers and the authority of the state.
“To actually arrogate to yourself, the power to basically overstep the constitutional limits because you have the considerable local support, I think really borders on abuse of power, and I think we should not encourage it”, he emphasised.
He also cautioned the media to be circumspect in their reportage, particularly the local FM stations.
Professor Prempeh indicated that even though traditional authorities must not overstep their powers, there is the need for the media to also demonstrate professionalism and responsibility in its line of duty.
His comments were in connection with an order by the Kumasi Traditional Council on Thursday, directing Oyerepa FM to halt its operations.
The order was based on some comments Akwasi Addai ‘Odike’ made on the network.
Speaking as a guest on the station’s political talk show, ‘Odike’, criticised the traditional chiefs in the Ashanti Region, for failing to combat illegal mining.
In his submissions, he accused the Chiefs of aiding in galamsey and looking on unconcerned while forests and water bodies are destroyed.
He then threatened to lead the youth to stage a massive demonstration against Manhyia if the galamsey menace continues.
Subsequently, the Kumasi Traditional Council felt slighted by this remarks and declared it to be a form of rebellion against Asanteman; hence Odike was banished from stepping foot at Manhyia.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, has also stated that chiefs do not have any legal authority to close down radio stations.
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