Editorial: Conferment of chieftaincy titles: Due diligence is key  

Last week, the Nkusukum Traditional Council in the Central Region and the entire traditional area gained prominence in the media for all the wrong reasons.

The negative popularity the traditional area enjoyed stemmed from the fact that customary processes were triggered by the Traditional Council to confirm a ceremonial title on an alleged gay activist.

It was reported that a celebrated gay rights activist, Mr. Davies Mac Iyalla, was to be installed a ceremonial chief in the area, as the Amankorahen, to wit, a development chief.

The rationale behind his purported installation, as a development chief, was to enable him convince African-Americans in the Diaspora to come to Yamoransa, as well as bring more development initiatives to the area.

The targeted African-Americans were said to have recently traced their ancestry back to Yamoransa and were given Ghanaian names to integrate them into the larger society.

However, all the processes to officially confer the Amankorahen title on Mr. Iyilla, who allegedly informed the chiefs that he was a human rights activist, were halted halfway, following a sudden twist of events.

According to the Paramount Chief, Nana Okesse Essandoh IX, the installation process was brought to a halt when news reached them that Mr. Iyilla was an alleged gay rights activist.

The Chronicle deems the attempt by the Chief to confer a ceremonial title on the activist to be not just repulsive, but also a highly unfortunate development, which must not have occurred in the first place, if the allegations are anything to go by.

In principle, The Chronicle is not against the conferment of ceremonial titles on individuals provided the motivation is aimed at bringing development to the area.

This is because in many parts of the country, such titles have been conferred on non-Ghanaians, especially African-Americans in the Diaspora, who have immensely contributed in one form or the other in developmental initiative.

In some cases, some of these individuals, on whom ceremonial chiefaincy titles have been bestowed, have helped to build factories, hospitals, schools and paid school fees for some needy students.

We, therefore, can not underestimate the significance of some of these distinguished individuals to the development of the communities under their jurisdiction and the entire country as a whole.

However, we are particularly worried about the wholesale conferment of titles on individuals without due diligence and proper background checks.

In the instance of Mr Davies Mac Iyalla, which almost marred the dignity of our chieftaincy as an institution, it could clearly be deduced that things were done in a haste, without necessary care or thought.

For example, a simple check on the internet would have revealed more information about Mr Davies Mac Iyilla, who has been fighting the Anglican Church in Nigeria openly, for internal reforms to include Anglican sexual minorities.

In his native Nigeria, Mr Iyilla is said to have faced stiff opposition from both the religious elite and their lay constituents in Nigeria following his sexual orientation and, therefore, could not have been considered for any traditional title in Ghana.

This is because our culture, tradition, religious and traditional beliefs severely detest the practice of homosexuality in any form and this strong abhorrence of same sex activities have been illegal since the colonial time.

We, are therefore, calling on the ministry of Chieftaincy, the National House of Chiefs and all the regional house of chiefs across the country to take a cue from the Yamoransah incident and streamline how conferment of developmental titles are done, going forward.

Standards must be set and this must include due diligence and background checks to ensure that from henceforth, any person or group of persons on whom ceremonial titles would be bestowed, would not have any blemished character.

The Chieftaincy institution represent an embodiment of our very existence as a people and this is why it is regarded as a revered institution and must be respected at all times.

In our view, unwholesome conferment of traditional titles on just anybody can be counterproductive.

We cannot allow people who espouse and promote values that our African culture resent, to lead our developmental drive because the consequences would be dire.

We are, therefore, delighted that the Paramount Chief of the Nkusukum traditional area and his people quickly halted their plans when they became aware of Mr Iyalla’s alleged support of  homosexual activities.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here