The constitution of Ghana defines a chief in article 277 as. In the Chapter unless the context otherwise requires, chief means a person, who, hailing from the appropriate family and lineage has been validly nominated ,elected or selected and enstooled, enskinned or installed as a chief or queen mother in accordance with the relevant customary law and usage. Chieftaincy as an important social institution which binds the people together is fraught with numerous disputes.
Chieftaincy disputes are the misunderstanding, that occurs between two or more fractions on the enstoolment or enskinment of a chief or the misunderstanding between an incumbent chief and some of his subjects.
Some causes of chieftaincy disputes are. When two families are claiming the right to a stool or a skin. In traditions where chieftaincy runs through multiple families there is likely to be a chieftaincy disputes that will arise between the families.
This is in tradition where there are multiple royal families to inherit the throne. Its requires that when the chief dies the next family is to inherit the throne and it runs through all the families in the same manner.
But in certain cases the ruling family will want to continue ruling instead of allowing other families to rule as customs demand. Disputes arise since the rest of the families think is wrong for only one family to rule all the times. The Ashanti’s rule from these multiple royal families.
Another cause of chieftaincy disputes is when stool lands leased or sold to companies or individuals for money which goes into the chiefs own pocket.
When stool lands are sold or leased the people expect the chief to use these monies for profitably business that will creates jobs and other activities to the town to improve Standard of living. In most cases the chiefs uses the peoples monies for his own gains. Disputes arise when the people notice that their funds are being misused. Wrongful selection of occupant to the stool or skin by kingmakers and queen mother.
This cause of chieftaincy disputes arises when a wrongful occupant influences the king makers and queen mothers with monies and other items to persuade them to enstool or enskin him as a chief. The king makers and queen others uses nepotism to select occupant to rule as chiefs which should not to be done in that manner. The constitution requires a chief to be enstooled or enskinned in accordance with the customary laws and usage, so when a wrongful person is enstooled is cause chieftaincy disputes.
When an incumbent chief incurs the displeasure of his subjects through embezzlement and misappropriation of the peoples funds. Another cause of chieftaincy disputes is when the incumbent chief embezzles and misappropriates the funds of the peoples . The chief is expected to use monies raised from the celebrations of festivals and other activities for developmental projects like the building of socials amenities e. g. schools, market place etc to improve the standard of living of his people.
But in this case most chiefs do not consider these things but turn to embezzle and misuse the people’s funds. When the people also release that the chief is not embarking on developmental projects or use the funds for profitably gains on the people. The people may also rebel against the chief and this may bring about chieftaincy disputes. Chiefs becoming autocratic and takes unilateral decision on issues, may also leads to chieftaincy dispute. The chiefs centralize powers and authority to himself.
It purpose is to achieve high productivity in his ruling which should not to be so . The chiefs does not involves his people in decision making processes. The peoples don’t have a said in any decision taken by the chief and sometimes disagrees with chief and his autocratic nature since there is a saying that ‘two heads are better than one”. The people will want to be involve in decision making and so may rebel when they are not involved in the decision making process and therefore rebels when conditions becomes intolerable on their side.
In controlling these numerous causes of chieftaincy disputes, the following procedures should be followed. Kingmakers and queen mothers should select candidates who are qualified and have the support of the majority of the people. Qualify persons are to be selected by kingmakers and queen mothers to inherit the chief in accordance with the customary laws of the lands. These persons are to go through the necessary arrangements and have the support from the majority of the people in his favour. In this case the people know the occupant and even support him as the ruling chief of their town.
Chiefs are to use the people’s funds for developmental projects in the town. chiefs should looks amenities that the people lacks and put them in place. In the cause of doing this the people will corporate well with the chief and ere will be a good relationship between the people and their chiefs. Multiples royal families must allow the chieftaincy to run from one family to another. In doing and putting these practices together chieftaincy disputes will be solved and peace will reign in our country.