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The role of chiefs in modern government in Ghana



THE ROLE OF CHIEFS IN MODERN GOVERNMENT IN GHANA
Advisory role
Ghana has a National House of Chiefs which is made up of representatives of the various Paramountcies within the country. The government of the day, consults the National House of Chiefs, for example, on matters relating to chieftaincy, succession to the throne, traditional boundaries, etc. The chiefs therefore, serve as advisors to the government.

Symbols of unity
The chieftaincy institution in Ghana serves as a melting pot in the localities. The constitution debars the chiefs from playing a direct role in politics. Therefore, they hold together the people of their chiefdoms and paramountcies, who belong to different parties, together. By staying in the middle, the chiefs are able to hold the people together.

Link between their people and government
The government of the day, sometimes engages the traditional authorities when they want to deliver certain delicate information to the people. For example, during conflicts that disturb the peace of the area. The chiefs, on the other hand, also carry the desires of the people to the government. They could either do this through the issuing communiques or in an address during a durbar of chiefs. They therefore serve as a link between the people and the government of the day.

Initiate development projects
Modern chiefs no longer desire to conquer territories, because it is now impossible to expand frontiers without fomenting trouble. The modern chiefs now promote the development of their various chiefdoms. Chiefs have now turned their traditional festivals as forums for discussing the development of their territory and how to fund such projects.

Settlement of disputes
In every society, there are bound to be conflicts between people of the land. As part of their duties, chiefs settle disputes to ensure that there is peace and harmony. This is in spite of the presence of the police. Some disputes are even withdrawn from the Police Station to be dealt with by the chiefs.

Holders of land in trust for clans and families
Unlike other countries in West Africa, where land is owned by the government, in Ghana land is held in trust for the people by the traditional authorities. It is the traditional chiefs who have the power to allocate land for any type of use, whether commercial or private.
SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. Highlight six of the roles played by the traditional rulers in modern day Ghana
2. Examine six of the functions of chiefs in the modern society of your country.

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