Residents in the bustling commercial city of Sekondi in the Western region are unhappy that a 15-year old vacancy for a paramount chief has still not been filled.
In communities where respect for traditional authorities has armed chiefs with considerable influence, the residents say the absence of a paramount chief is affecting development.
“We want our chief, we want our chief”, some women chanted during a protest which involved an entertaining display by a brass band.
Sekondi is a twin city in a region where commercial petroleum production has led to a major boost in economic activities.
Chiefs settle disputes and play important roles in social events like funerals and festivals. Kundum festival; a calendar event of the Ahantas has not been organised for the past 15 years.
The paramount chief also accepts royalties and is key in mobilising companies and interest groups to invest in socio-economic development.
He is also the custodian of customs and a promoter of Sekondi cultural practices. The influence of chiefs is invoked in addressing social problems like teenage pregnancy, hooliganism, streetism and moral decline.
The Sekondi township is robbed of these advantages associated with having a traditional ruler and the group called Concerned Citizens of Sekondi want the conflict which created the current situation resolved.
An 80-year old Anthony Wongye who has been associated with the Sekondi paramountcy explained two royal families have been fighting over who is the legal occupant of the stool since the demise of the paramount chief, Nana Awuah Duku on May 17, 2003.
A leader of the Concerned Citizens of Sekondi told Joy News the group has tried without success to get a chief installed in line with custom.
He expressed frustration over the prolonged litigation in choosing a successor. The Regional House of Chiefs has been hearing petitions by the two royal families.
“All that we want is for the regional House of Chiefs to rule on the matter”, he said.
Felix Akuban, who is a leader of a youth wing of the traditional authority complained some chiefs are undermining attempts to install a chief.
“We have everything here. We have navy, army, a regional office. We have all we need to become even a country. The only thing we lack is a chief. Why?” he gesticulated his protest.
The traditional area has become the butt of jokes by neighbouring towns because they lack a chief, he said.
Surrounded by placards some of which read ‘Omanhene is what Sekunde needs”, ‘our culture is nothing without a chief’, he said respected leaders have bypassed the city to pay homage to the chief in Essikado because they lack their own.
Felix said it is time for the president to step in because all interventions by MPs to resolved the chieftaincy crisis have failed.
‘We know the President does not meddle in chieftaincy matters but we are pleading with him, Sekondi needs a paramount chief’.