Chiefs are riding in trotros; should be allowed to do politics – Okyenhene

To deny trotro-riding citizens ‘lucrative’ jobs in politics, merely because they are chiefs is to say the least discriminatory. That is the position of Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, the Okyenhene. Therefore asking a chief to abdicate his stool or skin before participating in active politics as enshrined in the constitution is wrong in his assessment. Article 276 (1) of the constitution states that “A chief shall not take part in active party politics; and any chief wishing to do so and seeking election to Parliament shall abdicate his stool or skin.” But the respected chief said “that is unfair; I have a problem with that”. The Okyenhene argued that the stool which entitles him to be a chief belongs to his family and should not be confused with a civil servant who draws benefit such as insurance from the state and would be paid from the same state fund if  he becomes a Member of Parliament. Being the guest of Winston Amoah on TV3’s Hot Issues on Saturday, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin brought to the fore, the financial challenges facing some chiefs. “Some chiefs are riding in trotros (commercial vehicles mainly for persons in the economy class). They don’t have a car, so to deny a man a job it’s very discriminatory,” he posited, “if the need be, that must be changed in my view.” For him, the argument that chieftaincy is a sacred and revered institution and therefore chiefs should not meddle in politics perceived to be a dirty game, is neither here nor there. “The sacredness and reverence is not working,” he resented, “we are not treated sacredly and with reverence. We are not treated as such.” The Okyenhene recalled, “we have young people who insult chiefs in the open; where is the sacredness? And you have political party people who try to encourage and support that kind of line. “You cannot discriminate against chiefs who otherwise want to be politicians, we have lawyers who are being politicians, we have accountants who have gone into politics.” According to Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, if a chief is convinced that he will be able to better serve his people, he should be given the opportunity to run for political office.

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By Isaac Essel ||Ghana]]>