There’s increasing pressure on the President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XVI, to resign following the recent confusion that hit the House ahead of the upcoming referendum.
Togbe Afede who led one faction of the House of Chiefs issued a statement calling for a ‘No’ vote ahead of the referendum, but it emerged that it was a unilateral decision, resulting in other prominent chiefs – Okyenhene and Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, to challenge the supposed collective position of the House.
The United Volta Youth in a statement said Togbe Afede XVI by his action has tainted the reputation of his highly esteemed office hence must resign.
“The leader of the National House of Chiefs has tainted his position with extreme partisan views, the very views he claims his outfit frowns upon, and this is inimical to the cohesion we expect to see in the traditional authority.
“For going out of his way to issue such a statement without the knowledge of the other members, for sidestepping the rules of engagement of the body, for engaging in an act that shows him supporting the beliefs of one political grouping, and for putting the name of the revered institution into disrepute, Togbe Afede has compromised his position as the President of the National House of Chiefs and must accordingly step down,” the group said in a statement on Monday, November 25, 2019.
Below is the full statement:
25TH NOVEMBER, 2019
TOGBE AFEDE MUST RESIGN AS PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL HOUSE OF CHIEFS-UNITED VOLTA YOUTH
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his desire to strengthen our democracy by making sure that our local governance structures are enhanced through the participation of political parties and to also reduce the cancerous phenomenon the winner takes all syndrome breeds, has decided to cede some of his powers to the electorate.
In doing so, the President consulted all the three former presidents of the Republic and held discussions on how best to go about it. Political parties, he stressed, should be allowed to contest in the district assembly elections as well as MMDCEs should also be elected on partisan basis, and this was the agreement.
To effect that, the entrenched constitutional provision of Article 55 (3) must be amended through a referendum. To this end, the YES campaign train began with all the political parties in support.
Then on the 12th day of November, 2019, the opposition National Democratic Congress, in a move seen by many as treacherous, stabbed the YES campaign vehicle in the back with a switch to NO. The National Chairman of the party, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, has since asked all NDC members to vote NO on the day of the elections.
No sooner had the NDC changed course than a communiqué purported to have come from the National House of Chiefs came out, questioning the rationale behind the YES campaign and calling on the electorate to vote NO instead. The communiqué further averred that Nananom had reached a consensus on the matter and this was signed by Togbe Afede VIX and Daasebre Nana Kweku Ewusi VII, the President and Vice President respectively of the traditional authority.
Soon after this strange communiqué from the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi, the President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs who also doubles as the leader of the Governance Committee of the authority, the committee that has jurisdictional powers over such matters, came out to dispute the claims made by Togbe Afede and his partner in crime.
According to Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi, no such meetings were held by the body to deliberate on the referendum, let alone ask Ghanaians to vote NO.
Togbe Afede VIX came out with dates on which some of the meetings he claimed had been held but it was to be disputed, once again by Nana S. K. B. Asante.
According to Nana S. K. B. Asante, no meeting had been held by the National House of Chiefs which had the referendum as part of the agenda or the main one. He could not fathom how such misinformation could be sent out there when the group was yet to meet and discuss the matter in issue.
The Okyehene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin also waded into the issue by stating emphatically that the National House of Chiefs had met nowhere to deliberate on the referendum and could not understand why such a misconception could be propagated by Togbe Afede as a decision representing the views of all the members of the National House of Chiefs.
In the light of these, Togbe Afede VIX has acted arbitrarily. He has arrogated powers to himself which should not be the case. He sought to engaging in some self-serving, parochial interests based upon reasons not consistent with the workings of the body.
The leader of the National House of Chiefs has tainted his position with extreme partisan views, the very views he claims his outfit frowns upon, and this is inimical to the cohesion we expect to see in the traditional authority.
For going out of his way to issue such a statement without the knowledge of the other members, for sidestepping the rules of engagement of the body, for engaging in an act that shows him supporting the beliefs of one political grouping, and for putting the name of the revered institution into disrepute, Togbe Afede has compromised his position as the President of the National House of Chiefs and must accordingly step down.
Sammy Kwasi Ganuvi
KWAME D. AKPABLIE