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The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has advised chiefs, particularly those in Asanteman, to resist the temptation of endorsing political party aspirants for Election 2020.

He said it was important that traditional rulers maintain the sanctity of the chieftaincy institution by doing away with partisan politics and instead maintain their neutrality.

Addressing the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs (ARHC) at a general meeting in Kumasi yesterday, the Asantehene said chiefs remained the last resort for resolving conflicts in the country, and that if they were seen to be partisan, it would be difficult for anyone to seek their intervention when conflicts or disputes arose.

According to him, it was for a good reason that the Constitution precluded chiefs from partisan politics and explained that not all the people they presided over would belong to the parties the chiefs supported, for which reason there was the need for chiefs to remain neutral at all times and enjoy the support of their subjects.

While pointing out that chiefs had the right to vote in elections, he maintained that their choices should be known only to them and not openly display their political support.

Constitutional provision

The 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution and the Chieftaincy Act, 2008 explicitly ban chiefs from doing active politics.

While some chiefs have kept to the provisions, others have stayed off them, arguing that they were discriminatory and against their human rights.

In the run up to this year’s general election, for instance, a number of chiefs have made forays into partisan politics with open endorsement of presidential aspirants.

The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, for instance, has endorsed President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is seeking a second term on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party, while the chief of Mehame in the Ahafo Region, Nana Owusu Kontoh II, has thrown his weight behind former President John Dramani Mahama, the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu said if the chieftaincy institution was not that important, it would not have survived all these years.

He, therefore, urged the members of the ARHC to maintain the respect accorded to the institution by staying off partisan politics.

The Asantehene said as chiefs, they ought to work with every government to bring development to their people, explaining that that was why when they showed open bias to a political party, it could affect their relationship with the other political parties. Credit:graphiconline

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