Review of the constitution: Chiefs want additional authority

Chiefs - Rapid News GH

To enable chiefs to make more significant contributions to the socioeconomic growth of the nation, three traditional leaders have called for a reform of the constitution.

They explained that the country was unable to deal effectively with its development challenges, including the war against illegal mining (galamsey), because chiefs seemed marginalized in governance issues.

The traditional rulers who made the call were the President of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, Nene Sakite II; the President of the Central Regional House of Chiefs, Odeefuo Amoakwa Buadu VIII; and the Osu Gua Wulomo who is also the acting President of the Osu Traditional Council, Nuumo Gbelenfo III.

They were speaking at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) constitutional review series in Accra last Tuesday when they took their turn to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the 1992 Constitution.

The event was on the theme: “Reviewing Ghana’s 1992 Constitution: Viewpoints from the National House of Chiefs”.

Next chamber

Nene Sakite II believed that a second Chamber of Parliament, whose members would primarily be traditional rulers from every region of the nation, was necessary as part of efforts to give chiefs more power so they could make more significant contributions to the development of the nation.

“Traditional leadership is crucial in this equation because nations with strong traditional leadership have more secure governance structures than those without strong traditional leadership,” he emphasized.

He also mentioned the need to rein in the president’s overzealous appointment power, saying that “the core purpose of any reforms must be in strengthening governance.”

Nene Sakite II made the suggestion that the constitution be reviewed in order to ensure that Chief Justices (CJs) are appointed on a more permanent basis by an independent structure other than the presidency so that succeeding administrations won’t tamper with the tenure of their appointments.

For his part, Odeefuo Buadu VIII said that when chiefs were given constitutional authority, they would be able to “maximize their contributions to the socio-economic development of the nation.”

“Chiefs have a very broad range of responsibilities, very high standards for their subjects, and a tendency to handle problems more quickly and cheaply than others. They are the driving forces behind economic growth and human progress, he said.

The time when chiefs led their people in combat against outside aggressors was passed, according to Odeefuo Buadu VIII, but now they needed to be given the resources and legal authority to make a real contribution to tackling societal problems.


He noticed that the function of the chiefs in the advancement of the nation looked to be marginalized by contemporary governance institutions.

“This must be addressed before we continue the fight against galamsey; the institution must be clothed with the desired power and resources to promote national cohesion,” he stated.

On national development, Odeefuo Buadu VIII called for reforms to develop a National Development Plan that will bind all political parties and successive governments to avoid the abandonment of development projects.

Limited powers

Numo Gbelenfo III said the powers of the chiefs were limited to the extent that they were unable to tackle head-on the indiscipline among the youth, including hooliganism and drug addiction.

He equally called for reviews that would ensure that politicians do not meddle in the affairs of the chieftaincy institution.


The President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, Togbe Tepre Hodo IV, suggested the need for a review of Articles 131 (1a) and 144 (1) on the granting of appeals as a right or automatic rights of appeals to the Supreme Court and the appointments of CJs, respectively.

He argued that the Supreme Court must only focus on its core mandate of ruling on landmark cases and shaping policies with its judgments, leaving the Court of Appeal to deal with only appeal cases.

On the appointment of CJs, he said, the constitution must be reviewed by incorporating the past unconventional means of appointing CJs based on seniority and not by presidential appointments.

Open forum

During an open forum, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Zebilla, Cletus Avoka, said calls for a review of Article 78 of the Constitution on the appointment of a majority of ministers from MPs were untenable because the constitutional provision had positively impacted on the quality of intellectual and professional representation in Parliament.

He said the constitutional provision had also improved the quality of laws that were being made in Parliament for the country.

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