The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the people of Ghana especially, Dagbon, have good reasons to celebrate for peace and unity considering the end of a decade long dispute.
The President was speaking at the 62nd Anniversary Celebration of Ghana’s independence held in Tamale, where he indicated that when the chiefs have united their people, and offered forward looking leadership, modernization would be rapid.
“Where there has been disunity, the area has lagged behind, and the disputes have been a drain on the public purse,” he said.
The President however noted that chieftaincy has generated more disputes and disharmony than any other institution in the country and considered it a “tragedy” and averred that is by “chieftaincy’s very nature, only people from the same family can, and do lay claim to the same stool or skin.”
He noted that the hardworking Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Hon. Kofi Dzamesi, will intensify his efforts to try and find solutions to other long-standing chieftaincy disputes that have bedeviled the nation.
According to him the time has come for all Ghanaians, it to take a critical look at the chieftaincy institution, since When it works, “Our chiefs provide the cohesive link to our past, and what defines us as a people. When chieftaincy works, it is an embodiment of our culture and the rock on which we lean for support, and to which we resort in times of trouble. In many parts of our country, our chiefs are the custodians of our lands, and their activities can be the spark for development or for disputes.”
The President also called for unity saying that the diversity that went into weaving the fabric of Ghana is a source of strength, and not of weakness, it is a source of pride, and not of shame.
He said our languages might be many, and, sometimes, there might be mutual frustration at having difficulty in speaking each other’s language but as a sign of unity we celebrate the variety of foods available under the theme of Ghanaian cuisine, and the variety of clothes that constitute Ghanaian fashion.
“Indeed, the things that are now the source of friction amongst us are not the familiar and ancient differences of tribe and language. The very survival of the institution is at risk, unless we get over the multiplicity of disputes. For many young people, the pomp and pageantry, which are often all they see, cannot make up for the amount of trouble chieftaincy generates.”
He also averred that political leaders have a great responsibility to set a proper tone for political discourse in the country, saying that over the years, deliberate campaign was waged in the country to give competitive politics a bad name to justify military or authoritarian rule. Competitive politics was said to be divisive, antagonistic and corrupt.
“We learnt from painful experience that military or authoritarian rule could be corrupt and divisive. It took a long time for a consensus to emerge, but it did, and we all agreed that the form of government, within which we would want to conduct our affairs, should be a multi-party democracy, which, under the aegis of the 4th Republic, has provided us with the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional governance in our history,” he said.
Tamale was chosen as the venue not only to underline the unity of our nation, but also to express the appreciation of the nation for the peace and the process of reconciliation that have engulfed Dagbon since the enskinment of Yaa-Na Mahama Abukari II as Overlord of Dagbon, on 25th January.