A retired Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Stephen A. Brobbey, has suggested a comprehensive judicial training for traditional rulers to enable them to properly handle arbitrations in their areas of jurisdictions.

He also called for the modernisation of traditions and customs to conform to present-day societal needs.

Those measures, he stated, would help advance society?s cause.

Mr Justice Brobbey made the remarks when he delivered a lecture to mark the 2013 Akwantukese Festival of the chiefs and people of New Juaben at Koforidua yesterday.

The Akwantukese Festival is to commemorate the migration of the people from Juaben in Asante to New Juaben in the 1870s.

According to Justice Brobbey, changes in society, as a result of modernisation, demanded that traditional rulers must be educated and trained in judicial matters because apart from the courts, they also arbitrated on issues brought before them in their respective palaces and also served on public boards.

Speaking on the topic, ?Evolution of Chieftaincy in Ghana: Harmonising Tradition,? he said although he was not of the view that the qualification for the installation of a chief should be solely based on education, it was ideal that prospective chiefs must be educated to be able to lead their people.

?Traditional rulers, apart from presiding over the adjudication of cases, also serve on public boards, with English as the medium of expression, and how do you expect a stark illiterate chief, who is only abreast of traditional norms in his area, to adjudicate cases and contribute during board meetings?? Justice Brobbey questioned.


Concerning the making of a chief, Justice Brobbey said although every  society had its own rules, eligible candidates should be competent and financially sound, since they would be catering for those in their palaces, as well as their families; otherwise, they would be tempted to do what was not expected of them such as selling stool lands or paraphernalia to meet such obligations.

?Modern life demands that a chief dresses well to appear in public, accompanied by his entourage who must be fed and transported at his expense, and how does he do all these without the necessary funds?? Justice Brobbey asked.


With regards to the traditional concept that no one should speak after a chief had spoken, he said although there were no built-in procedures for corrections after the chief had spoken, that might not apply to areas where decisions had been taken after committee meetings and elders had carefully dealt with the issues before the chief was asked  to make the ultimate pronouncement which reflected the decision of the majority.

Abolition of chieftancy

Touching on the abolition of chieftancy as perceived by a section of the public on the grounds that it had become anachronistic, Justice Brobbey expressed a dissenting view, with the explanation that its establishment had been guaranteed and entrenched in the 1992 Constitution and, therefore, would be difficult for an individual to advocate such a move.


Earlier, the Omanhene of New Juaben, Daasebre (Prof) Oti Boateng, in his welcome address, said the Akwantukese Festival, as had been continuously celebrated over the years, is aimed at promoting the socio-economic development of the community by educating the youth on their origin, traditions and customs, as well as serving as a tourist attraction for people all over the world.


Apart from that, Daasebre Oti Boateng said the festival had also reinforced unity between Asante and New Juaben.

He called on traditional rulers to work together in the traditional councils, regional and national houses of chiefs to address chieftancy problems for peace and tranquility.

Source: Daily Graphic


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