President Mahama interacting with some of the chiefs
President John Mahama has pledged to ensure the upward review of the monthly allowances given to chiefs as the current fees given the traditional rulers were unrealistic.
Speaking during a courtesy call on him by members of the Standing Committee of the National House of Chiefs at the Castle yesterday, President Mahama noted that the allowances given chiefs had recently been increased from GH¢80 to GH¢150.
He stated however that the stipend still did not reflect realities on the ground and thus, the government would, further consider an upward review of the allowances to facilitate the work of chiefs in the country.
The chiefs, led by Naa Professor John Nabila, Wulugu Naaba and President of the National House of Chiefs, were at the Castle to congratulate President Mahama on his electoral victory and to pledge their unflinching support, as he steers the affairs of the nation.
President Mahama welcomed the decision by the House to constitute mediation committees in the various regional and the National House of Chiefs to minimise chieftaincy disputes in the country and reduce the burden of the judicial committees in the adjudication of chieftaincy cases.
Stressing the need to resort to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in the resolution of chieftaincy and land disputes in the country, President Mahama stated that the law courts should be the last point of call.
That, he said, would clear the backlog of cases at the courts and ensure the speedy and lasting solution to chieftaincy and land disputes.
Recalling his meeting with the chiefs at Kumasi in November, last year, President Mahama stressed the government’s commitment to tackling the issues discussed namely, the rehabilitation of the various Regional Houses of Chiefs, the admittance of paramount queen mothers into the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs and enhancing the mobility of nananom.
“It is important for the government to facilitate the work of institutions mandated by the constitution so that they can carry out their work efficiently,” he said.
He also pledged to streamline land acquisition in the country to make it easier for investors to acquire land for development purposes.
President Mahama informed the chiefs that the appointment of Dr. H.S. Daanaa, as the Minister-designate for the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs demonstrated the importance the government attached to the work of chiefs.
On his part, Naa Prof. Nabila appealed to the government to support with funding when the need arose to facilitate the work of the proposed mediation committees.
He said it would be the pleasure of the chiefs if the President would interact and deliberate with them on matters of national interest from time to time.
Naa Prof. Nabila thanked the President for nominating Dr. H.S. Daanaa as the Minister-designate of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs and expressed the hope that the Appointments Committee of Parliament would endorse his nomination.
Next to call on President Mahama to congratulate him was a delegation from the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, led by its president, Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku III, who is also the Ada Mantse.
Welcoming them, President Mahama gave the assurance that the government would lend its support to resolve chieftaincy and land disputes that had plagued the region.
He advised the chiefs to employ Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) tools in the resolution of their differences.
Noting that poverty bred upheavals, he pledged to ensure that the national cake was shared equitably in all parts of the country.
He indicated that the government would return unused lands to the owners and also hold consultative meetings with niimei and naamei to introduce sanitation and sewerage programmes in the region.
On his part, Nene Kabu III pledged the support of the chiefs and people in the Greater Accra Region to President Mahama to enable him to deliver on ‘Accelerating the Better Ghana Agenda.’
Also at the Castle to congratulate President Mahama was a delegation from the Volta Regional House of Chiefs led by Togbe Afede XIV, President and Agbogbomefia of the Ho Asogli State.
In his remark, Mr. Mahama thanked Voltarians for the support given him during the elections which, he said, went a long way in ensuring his victory.
He said the region held immense tourism, industry and manufacturing potential and therefore there was therefore the need to open the area up for investments.
In that direction, President Mahama assured the chiefs that the Eastern Corridor road project would be completed.
President Mahama also indicated that some of the funds secured from China would be used to construct landing sites to boost the work of fisher folks while infrastructure at the University of Health and Allied Sciences would be expanded.
Togbe Afede, on his part, solicited the support of the government in resolving chieftaincy disputes in the Anlo area as well as the differences between the Nkonya and the Alavanyo people.
He also hoped that the government would help strengthen the peace that had returned to the Gbi traditional area.
He further expressed concern about the poor state of health infrastructure in the region and expressed the optimism that the Ho and Hohoe Regional Hospitals would be rehabilitated to support the University of Allied Sciences.
The chiefs later presented President Mahama with a portrait and a special cloth that was designed in the 15th century. It is known as ‘Harliwe’, literally meaning ‘the people are with me.’