Mr Harry Attipoe, Registrar, Volta Regional House Chiefs, has strongly advised traditional rulers not to interfere in criminal cases since they lack jurisdiction to do so.
“Do not interfere in any criminal matter. Let the state institutions like the Ghana Police Service, the Attorney General and the Courts, which have been assigned that role do their job.”
Mr Attipoe gave the advice during an educational seminar on the order of succession and related matters organised by the Volta Regional House of Chiefs under the auspices of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs in Juapong.
More than 100 stakeholders attended the programme which took the form of lectures by resource persons and questions and answers.
He asked them not to entertain defilement, rape, theft, murder and other criminal matters in their traditional courts but rather report to the appropriate institutions to handle.
According to him, even when there was the need for an arbitration in a non-criminal matter, the parties must give their consent before the process can begin.
“Ghana is a country of laws and that no institution had the right to take and use powers which had not been given to it.”
On the issue of succession, he said every traditional area had its unique way of choosing a chief but such processes must be transparent and must conform to relevant laws of the land.
“Our elders are clothed with ancient wisdom and knowledge and they know the right thing to do. No one should be allowed to change the order of succession through political influence and money because disputes will certainly arise when the truth is not told. This is an institution we inherited from our forebears and we must not leave it in tatters for the generations after us.”
He called for unity in all traditional areas and appealed to stakeholders to find amicable ways of settling disputes in order to create the right environment for investment and development which were urgently needed to break the poverty cycle in many communities.