A coordinator of the Ghana’s Case Tracking System (CTS) and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has implored traditional authorities to stay away from active partisan politics to restore the waning dignity and respect for the time-honoured chieftaincy institution.
The CTS is integrated software that tracks criminal cases in the justice delivery system from inception until their disposition,
Launched in the country in 2018, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) with support from its local partners is implementing the CTS being funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Mr Thomas Benarkuu, also the Programmes Director of the MIHOSO International Foundation, a non-governmental organisation noted that the ancient traditional powers chiefs and queens wielded in society had waned because of active involvement of some of them in active party politics, which remained affront to the 1992 constitution.
He reminded traditional authorities that the framers of the 1992 Constitution were rational and knowledgeable enough to make the article barring chiefs and queens from engaging in active partisan politics entrenched in the constitution, the supreme law of the land.
“This is because the framers of the constitution knew that if traditional rulers engaged in politicking, there is the tendency that they could lose their traditional powers which we are all witnessing in Ghana today.”
Speaking at a sensitization programme on the CTS and the ADR held in Berekum in the Bono Region, Mr Benarkuu regretted some traditional rulers had disregarded that constitutional provision, saying that had also affected the dignity of the once noble chieftaincy institution.
“Now, many chiefs and queens are losing their respect, dignity and powers. It is very sad to hear some chiefs giving percentages and predicting general election results in the media space which is unacceptable,” he said.
The sensitization programme, attended by traditional leaders, Assembly members, farmers and artisans was organised by the CHRI with support from the MIHOSO.
As the embodiment of the people, Mr Benarkuu said traditional leaders ought to remain principled and neutral in all matters, saying they played key roles in national development and until that was done, they would lose society’s respect and dignity.
Mr Benarkuu said with active involvement of chiefs and queens, the country’s ADR systems would be strengthened to enhance the nation’s judicial system.
He, however, added that because of the partisan nature of some chiefs, the people in their jurisdictions did not engage them in settling even minor offences at the community level.
Instead, community members preferred the orthodox judicial process, a situation Mr. Benarkuu stated was creating overcrowding at the courts and delays in justice delivery.
He called on the Police to integrate the ADR in its training curricula so that service personnel would be empowered more on the mechanism.
Police Constable David Twum Asante, an officer at the Berekum-Senase Police Station reminded the ADR could only be used to settle civil and minor offences, and called on the people to report all criminal cases to the Police.
He commended the government, CHRI and its CTS implementing partners and asked the Initiative to help address problems of poor internet connectivity and other emerging challenges confronting the system’s implementation.
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