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Partisan politics reduces your influence, don’t do it; Chiefs advised

As general elections approach, chiefs have been advised to resist the temptation to jump into partisan politics warning it will damage their reputation.

Political science lecturer Dr. Aggrey Darko has explained that because a chief’s people have different political persuasions, a traditional ruler who declares support for a candidate or party, divides his people and reduces his own ability to influence them.

It has becoming common to hear chiefs endorse presidential candidates with a crucial upcoming elections in November. In April 2016, the acting Kwahumanhene, Nana Asiedu Agyemang III endorsed President John Mahama during his visit; “It is our prayers that because of your love for the country and love for the people of Okwahuman you should get another four years”, he said.

Last week, a Queenmother in Denkyira irked the government’s appointees to the districts after she predicted victory for the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party(NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo.

The Municipal Chief Executives for Upper Denkyira East Emelia Ankomah and West districts  Ambrose Ashia reportedly insulted the queenmother.

In retaliation, the queenmother led a process that cut ties between her people and the two government appointees. 

“Once you decide that you are going to sing from the same hymn sheet as party A, you are setting yourself against party B, it becomes difficult subsequently to mobilize resources as far as development is concerned,” he said on Joy FM's Super Morning Show Monday.

According to the University of Ghana lecturer, chiefs are “moral crusaders” with three important developmental roles to play – mediating, moblising and lobbying for development.

These roles, the lecturer described are noble enough to make a chief disinterested in taking partisan positions.

This is also not to say that a chief should not engage in politics, it is an impossible goal to hope to discourage a chief from politics, he added.

“Even where you work, there is politics”, he said to emphasize that politics is ubiquitous.

Aggrey Darko admits that it is difficult to engage in politics without being partisan.

Ultimately, a chief must ask himself how he can bring development to his people without dividing them.

A partisan route is however a sure way to “lower the bar” of respect and nobility that chiefs are meant to enjoy.