A legal practitioner, Kwame Gyan, who has studied Ghana’s chieftaincy institution extensively, says the status of the Asantehene is above all other chiefs in the country.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, recently caused a stir when he threatened to arrest the Techiman Chief if the Atta Mills government failed to do so.
The Techiman Chief had allegedly caused the arrest and humiliation of the Tuobodom chief who owes allegiance to the Asantehene.
The government responded almost immediately to the Asantehene’s threat by sending a delegation of National security experts to hold discussions with the King on how to solve the problem amicably.
Mr Gyan, speaking to Citi Breakfast show host Moro Awudu on Thursday, March 18 said the Chieftaincy Act of 1971 and the amended Act of 2008 both give prominence to the Asantehene in terms of ranking among colleague paramount chiefs.
Only the Asantehene is explicitly singled out in that class of chiefs, which is the highest in the ranking.
“Our laws have ranked chiefs, the Chieftancy act of 1971, section 41 says…the categories of Chiefs are (a), the Asantehene and paramount chiefs (b) divisional chiefs (c) sub divisional chiefs (d) adikurofo and (e) any chief not falling within any of the preceding categories as are recognized by the regional house of chiefs…the question is if the laws of Ghana says categories of Chief are Asantehene and paramount chiefs, are you going to say that the Asantehene is also a paramount chief? In my view, no.” He said.” He said.
Some people have shown concern that the level of privilege the Asantehene enjoys in Ghana has made him too powerful to the detriment of other equally important chiefs in the country.
Lawyer Kwame Gyan says the Constitutional prominence accorded the Asantehene in the Chieftaincy Acts of 1971 and 2008 stems from the respect accorded him by his subjects, which has essentially put him above all other chiefs in the country over the decades.
“The Asantehene’s status partly depends on the recognition and esteem in which his subjects hold him. I don’t believe that it is the republic itself that has accorded him that status which he enjoys. The other chiefs, let their people also give them that status and let them also enjoy it.” He added.
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