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Modern Role of Chiefs in Community Development




Background to the study

Traditional governance system, is an age-old method by which the Indigenous people given their own affairs prior to and after the development of the Europeans into the region of modern Ghana. This technique of governance is led by leaders multifariously referred to in English as chiefs, traditional regulators, traditional rulers, monarchs, kings, nobles, aristocrats, and natural rulers in a variety of African and other framework. Traditional system of governance varies significantly among different individuals that occupied the spot of modern Ghana. While some groups developed very complex hierarchical buildings, others possessed simple kin-based composition.

Several meanings of traditional societies count on the variation between pre-colonial colonial and post-colonial times. For example, the International Labour Company (ILO) Convention no. 169 states that: "A people are believed indigenous either because they're descendants of those who resided in the region before colonization; or because they have got looked after their own cultural, economic, ethnic and political organizations since colonization and the establishment of new states.

And according to the Martinez Cobo Report to the UN Sub-Commission on preventing Discrimination of Minorities (1986), indigenous individuals may be determined as follows: "Indigenous areas, peoples and countries are those that, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on the territories, consider themselves distinctive from other areas of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or elements of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of population and are decided to protect, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the foundation of their continuing existence as individuals, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social establishments and legal systems. "

The office of traditional Specialists has been altered as they have performed various functions again from the pre-colonial era through the colonial period to the present. Prior to the colonial period, traditional rulers acquired considerable influence and exercised extensive sovereignty of their regions of jurisdiction with their expert in both religious and secular issues.

During the colonial period, they became virtual sub-agents of the colonial federal in the regions of local government and judicial things. In this era, various legislations and statutes enacted by the colonial authority prescribed the traditional ruler's political role.

Decentralization is basically described as the practice of the supervision in circumstances by which considerable autonomy is given to sub-political governmental bodies at the local level to adopt decisions and use programmes and insurance policies. In Ghana it is also known as the neighborhood federal government system or the region assembly concept. The idea behind this system is to get the local visitors to use local resources to build up their localities. Today's municipality system has three-tier framework composed of the Regional coordinating council, the Area assemblies and the region, Town and Village Councils or Product committees.

Although the local federal system in Ghana dates back to the colonial time, specifically 1859 when the first Councilors for James Town, Accra were elected, the existing system is merely a couple of years old exactly 1988 when the PNDC L207 was handed.

The 1992 fourth republican constitution of Ghana provides credence to the system under section 20 with the name Decentralization and MUNICIPALITY. The local government work 462 of 1993 has changed the Local administration Legislation 207 0f 1988. The top of the neighborhood government establishment is the Minister who's charged with the duty of overseeing the businesses of the establishment.

Traditional authority also called the chieftaincy organization has lived on in Ghanaian society and is still a vibrant force in many ways. However Since freedom in 1957, there's been little, if any, effective participation of chiefs in decentralization in Ghana. Indeed, the partnership between chiefs and local government products has been ill-defined, even although history of municipality cannot be written without the institution of chieftaincy.

Even though some individuals argue that chieftaincy and modern municipality are incompatible, you need to not lose eyesight of the fact that the profound cynicism of some Ghanaians about politicians and their assurances have compelled these to find in traditional authorities something that is "reassuring alternatively precisely because of its ambivalent position in what has become the troubling discourse of failing modernity" (Rathbone, 2000: 164).

Traditional Authorities in some time previous were involved with local government functions like local development under the Native Authority System through the colonial days. Similarly, through the post-colonial period, the role of traditional Authorities in local governance and development has not been questioned

The Ghanaian Constitution recognizes and protects any office of traditional Authority, thus making a parallel system of governance. Actually, the Constitution forbids the Parliament from making laws and regulations that hinder the chieftaincy institution.

Statement of the situation.

The office of the traditional Authority has advanced right from the pre colonial period through the colonial age to the establishment of get together politics within the region of modern Ghana. Indeed, in Ghana, the institution dates back several decades and remains the perfect custodian of Ghanaian culture. The establishment is much revered and held in awe since it offers a renewed sense of belonging as well to be a Powerful agent of social cohesion and harmony.

Traditional Authorities are anticipated to try out Lead role in preventing for social, economical and politics development of their people and perform arbitration and representational roles as well as have the potential to facilitate accountability with their people. Perhaps these assignments have been summarized by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II (2002). our predecessors engaged in inter-tribal wars, fighting for conquest over territories and people. Today, the conflict should be vigorous and intense against dehumanization, poverty, marginalization, ignorance and disease. . . Chieftaincy can be used to propel economical development through proper lands supervision, through facilitating ventures in our neighborhoods, and through codification and customs and traditions making it impossible for imposters to get enstooled and creating pointless situations for litigation.

However modern democratic dispensations has limited the role Traditional Regulators to acting Custodians of custom and culture as well as the embodiment of the heart of the ancestors and a connection between them and the living Community. Ironically, democratic governance in Ghana, in all ramifications, attracts its durability from the traditional governance structure and it is fair to state that nation-wide politics would not be this tolerant were it not for the effective and impartial handling of the people by Traditional Regulators, particularly if one considers the stabilizing role they play during nationwide and local elections.

Bothtraditionalists and modernistsoften see traditional authority and elected political leaders fighting for power in the community. The struggle between your two for politics ability and legitimacy sometimes appears as a zero-sum game. This is because whatever powers a normal Expert wrenches from the state is recognized as a reduction for state authority. Definately not being in competition with elected leaders for the public's respect, traditional leaders and elected leaders are seen by the general public as two factors of the same gold coin. Popular assessments of both traditional and elected market leaders rely upon the leader's leadership skills. An individual's degree of modernization takes on a much smaller role in shaping perceptions of traditional expert.

There has been having less empirical evidence relating to popular perceptions of how traditional market leaders support elected leaders in a democratic system of governance. You have the question concerning how much space traditional Government bodies should get within the context of modern democratic decentralization in Ghana. It is because since freedom Traditional Government bodies have lost practically all the formal governmental, Judicial and other assignments they enjoyed before, after and during colonial guideline. Nevertheless their status and autonomy is assured under the 1992 constitution of Ghana. Yet not absolutely all politicians in Ghanaian contemporary society view it as legitimate or are prepared to let it work. Even where in fact the legitimacy of traditional leaders is not challenged, their function of selection and just how they carry out their functions often generate deep concerns. Therefore there are no simple answers to the question of how to define the role of Traditional Authorities in the decentralisation of power in the Ghanaian political systems. Specific local context is important. Numerous modern and highly educated individuals now occupying positions as traditional leaders in Ghana, it should be possible for the national federal government to utilize these traditional market leaders for the introduction of the country.

Significance of the Study

The study will provide useful information on the present day role of chiefs in community development. Chieftaincy without doubt is one of the very most enduring traditional establishments in Ghana, which has displayed amazing resilience from pre-colonial through colonial to postcolonial times. Nowadays, chiefs are under great pressure to achieve good governance in their traditional areas. They are challenged to integrate tradition and modernity, an activity about which there is considerable debate.

Also the study will help to identify the role of traditional leaders in the decentralisation of electric power and display their active participation in the political development of their areas.

Finally analysis will also enhance the knowledge bottom on the role of traditional Specialists in an more and more globalised world where in fact the highlight is on democracy, human being rights, health delivery, and real human development and find out if Traditional rulers have really outlived their usefulness. Their ability to come to terms with these problems will provide a sign of these relevance.

Purpose of the analysis/ Objectives

The main objective of the analysis is to examine the role of Traditional Government bodies in the neighborhood governance process in the Decentralisation of vitality. A study of the Akuapem Traditional area of the Eastern region of Ghana. The specific objectives will include the following.

  • To reveal and analyze the politics role of traditional leaders in the decentralisation of

Power in democratic Ghana to accomplish good governance.

  • To uncover the extent of which elected or appointed government authorities officials allow themselves to be strongly linked with the original leaders in the politics development of the city.
  • To find out the participation and popularity of traditional Authority in the politics procedure for Ghana's young democracy in the neighborhood area.
  • To discover the relevance of the role of Traditional authorities in the decentralisation of power and how the administration can support them without moving those to oblivion.
  • Access and make suggestions how Traditional Specialist can be incorporated in to the formal municipality system

Research Questions

The following research questions will advise the study.

  • What will be the roles of traditional Regulators in the decentralisation of power in attaining good governance and politics stability?
  • To what scope do elected or appointed governments officials allow themselves to be meticulously linked with the original leaders in the politics development of the city.
  • How relevant is the role of traditional Government bodies in the decentralisation of electricity.
  • What kind of institutional construction will help to promote the integration of Traditional Authority into the formal district assembly structure?



This chapter examines ideas, perspectives, conceptions and models on development, endogenous development, good governance, traditional government bodies and local governance. It ends with a conversation of the synergy model of traditional authorities and formal federal government that will be suitable for the study.

Relevant literature will be researched.

Decentralization is defined as "any act when a central government officially cedes

powers to stars and organizations at lower levels in a political-administrative and

territorial hierarchy" (Ribot 2001: v. , citing Mawhood 1983 and Smith 1985).

Three main types of decentralisation are generally identified:

administrative decentralisation or deconcentration i. e. the re-location of branches of

the central express to local areas, entailing a transfer of power to locally-based officials

who continue to be part of, and upwardly responsible to, central authorities ministries and


Fiscal decentralisation i. e. the copy of fiscal resources and revenue-generating

powers, inclusive of authority over costs and financial decisions, to either

deconcentrated officers and/or central administration appointees or even to elected


Politics decentralisation or democratic decentralisation or devolution (of electricity) i. e.

the copy of forces and resources to sub-national authorities which are "(a) largely

or wholly in addition to the central administration and (b) democratically elected"

(Manor 1995: 81-2). 2


This section will discuss the study design and the techniques that'll be adopted for collecting and examining data. It will deal with the study design, validation and dependability instrumentation, population, sample and sampling procedures or techniques to be utilized for the research.

Research Design

For the strategy of the study, a research study will be utilized as the research design type. Corresponding to Babbie (2007:298) a research study is "the in-depth examination of a single instance of some communal phenomenon, such as a village, a family, or juvenile gang". Also in Wisker (2008:210), Robson (1993:52) opines that a case study is "a technique for doing research that involves empirical exploration of a particular contemporary occurrence in its true to life framework using multiple sources of evidence". From the two explanations, common features that may be identified are a case study focuses on a single example or a particular trend and the in-depth and empirical analysis of such a sensation.

The research will also utilize the use of descriptive, explorative and cross sectional review as well as the utilization of multiple resources of evidence to perform the analysis.


The targeted society will be natives and residents in the Akuapem Traditional area.


The sample will be made up of 200 people. The mark population would be the of mind of homes, traditional authorities and local government officials which is put into sets of three. Five neighborhoods will be randomly sampled from the Akuapem Traditional area.

Sampling Technique

As a qualitative research, it will involve techniques such as the use interviews, administration questionnaires, and focused group conversation. The interviews will be transcribed coded and examined. In selecting participants for the analysis the researcher will utilize purposive sampling technique.


In conducting the study, the researcher will make use of conversational interviews for the collection of data. This conversational style of interview will be appropriate and effective because the respondents will feel absolve to share their views. The interview section will help the researcher to elicit information from immediate person- to - person face. The interview will be structured and unstructured. This will help the researcher to learn enough in order to formulate questions for succeeding interviews (Merian, Page 75).

Data Collection Process and Method

A questionnaire and interview guide will be given. Largely data that'll be gathered will be presented and examined qualitatively.

Thesis Framework/Organization of the study

This study will be prepared into five chapters. Section one will be made up of the introductory summary of the whole review. This includes the background to the analysis, statement of the issue, objectives of the analysis, research questions and the relevance of the analysis.

Chapter Two would be the review of relevant books related to the analysis as well as the theoretical and conceptual issues. Chapter Three will be the research methodology, that may include the explanation of the analysis area, target population, sampling techniques, data collection techniques, data analysis and limits of the analysis. Chapter Four will show the results of the analysis. And finally Section five will provide the synopsis of results, conclusions and suggestions.




K. A Busia, The Position of the chief in the present day Political System of Ashanti. London: Frank Cass & Co. , 1968), p. , 15.

Boafo-Arthur, K. (2006) "Chieftaincy in Ghana: Difficulties and Potential customers in the 21st Century", in Irene Odotei and Albert Awedoba (eds. ) Chieftaincy in Ghana: Culture, Governance and Development (Accra: Sub-Saharan Web publishers), pp. 145-168.

Ghana, Republic of (1992) Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992 (Ghana Publishing Firm: Tema).

Ghana, Republic of (1994) MUNICIPALITY (Urban, Zonal and Town Councils and Items Committees, (Establishment) Tool, 1994 (Ghana Posting Firm: Accra)

Owusu, M. (1989) "Rebellion, Trend, and Traditions: Reinterpreting Coups in Ghana", Comparative Studies in Population and Background, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Apr): 380-392.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II (2002) Cited in Kojo Yankah, Osei Tutu II: Traditions in Modern Times, Western Africa 29th April-5th May 2002, p. 11.

Ray, D. I. (2003a) "Chiefs within their Millenium Sandals: Traditional Power in Ghana - Relevance, Obstacles and Prospects", In Wisdom Tettey, Korbla Puplampu and Bruce Berman (eds. ) Critical Perspectives on Politics and Socio Economic Development in Ghana (Brill: Leiden), Chapter 10.

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