The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has put forth the proposal that traditional chiefs should be allowed to actively engage in political activities within the country.
Speaking at a public forum in Takoradi yesterday, Mr. Bagbin emphasized the necessity of reevaluating constitutional provisions that currently prohibit chiefs from participating in active politics.
He believes that revisiting these provisions could enable Ghana to tap into the wisdom and expertise of chiefs, thereby enriching the landscape of representative governance.
“We need to listen, think together, and we’ll be taking stock on what we did wrong with our leaders, that chiefs should not be in active politics and that’s not helping us. They used to govern; today we have imposed other chiefs on our chiefs, so we have District Chief Executives,” he said.
The forum was part of activities to mark 30 years of parliamentary democracy and themed: “30 years of parliamentary democracy under the 4th Republic: The journey thus far.”.
As part of commemorating three decades of parliamentary democracy, Mr. Bagbin stressed the urgency of addressing the perceived exclusion of citizens from the benefits of Ghana’s democratic journey. He underscored the importance of constructive discourse, noting that Ghana needs to reassess the historical sidelining of chiefs from political engagement.
Mr. Bagbin expressed his conviction that the historical traditions of Africa embraced democratic principles, promoting competition and participatory governance. He highlighted that concepts akin to parliamentary systems were present in various forms across African kingdoms and empires long before European colonization.
Reflecting on the past and the present, the Speaker of Parliament remarked that Africa’s contributions to democratic principles were often unacknowledged, and many ideas were “stolen” and later presented as novel by outsiders.
Nana Kobina Nketsia, the paramount chief of Essikado Traditional Area, echoed Mr. Bagbin’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of parliamentary engagement in public matters and economic justice discussions.
Mr. Bagbin urged Ghana to embrace its blessings and confront the challenges that persist, while also acknowledging the social and political disruptions being experienced across sub-Saharan regions as indications of a disconnect between the citizenry and governance.
After three decades of democratic experimentation, Mr. Bagbin stressed the critical role of Parliament in fostering closer connections with the people. This involves transparently discussing challenges and collectively finding solutions to overcome obstacles.