Former Deputy Minister of Energy, John Jinapor has stated that if the nation is to allow traditional rulers to engage in politics, then the constitution must be amended.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, emphasized that the country’s constitution is clear on the involvement of chiefs in partisan politics.
“It is not an issue of the NDC or NPP’s position, it is the constitution. If we think that chiefs should be actively involved in partisan politics, let’s amend that portion of the constitution because it is the supreme law,” he said, Thursday.
He added that the highly esteemed position of chiefs in the culture and customs of Ghana gives them a moral authority that can influence the decisions of their subject, as such, it is imperative that they go by what the “supreme law” of the land dictates.
“Chiefs are revered, they are seen as final arbiter, and they are seen as people with moral authority. You would recall the role some of our eminent chiefs have played. The constitution is clear in article 276 and it is the supreme law which the people of Ghana have adopted. If the Constitution bars chiefs from actively engaging in partisan politics then they ought to respect this.”
Mr Jinapor is however not against chiefs making statements or talking about the politics of the country, his concern is with them taking sides in view of the “heated nature” of Ghana’s political spectrum.
“I think we should all advocate that our chiefs stay off active partisan politics. They can make statements, they can talk about the politics of this country, but when they take sides, especially looking at the heated nature of our political spectrum, it becomes a very big problem for all of us.
“When the chiefs descend into the arena where we the politicians throw jabs at each other, then they are within the boxing ring and once you’re within the boxing ring and the wrestling ring, there is the tendency that you will be caught up with a blow or a knock”.
His remarks come after some chiefs have openly declared support for presidential candidates of some political parties in the country ahead of the December 7, elections.
Some chiefs, including the Paramount Chief of Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II and Omanhene of Mehame Traditional Area, Nana Owusu Kontoh II have openly declared support for some candidates at various events.
The Chief of Dormaa also endorsed the former president during his visit to the Bono region.
The former minister joins other opinion leaders who have criticised those involved in the act.
Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has called on traditional leaders to uphold the chieftaincy institution by staying neutral in all partisan affairs.
The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper Abdul Malik Kweku Baako have both heavily condemned the involvement of chiefs in politics.
Nonetheless, private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu argued that chiefs have the right to express themselves on policies of various governments in the country despite the Constitution kicking against chiefs actively engaging in partisan politics.
He explained that they are not completely barred from expressing themselves on national issues or policies.