GONJA: THE TRADITION, THE WHITE MAN’S COURT AND THE GONJA TRADITIONAL COUNCIL.
The customs and/or beliefs of the descendants of Ndewura Jakpa Dingoro which were passed on from his generation to generations of today are what define and shape the traditional structures of the Great Gonja Kingdom. If the people of Gonja will live to be great in the years ahead then, its long-tested traditions must not only stand the test of time but ought to also survive the ever evolving systems. If the culture, customs and/or beliefs of a people are too malleable to be adulterated and susceptible to the minutest of modernization and civilization, then, be ready to see the said people get lost on their own land. Gonja kingdom in perspective? The sovereign power of a nation-state is resided in the people, and the people entrust this power to the Politicians who enact laws to regulate every facet of our national life. These laws are made for us to use and not made to use us, because they are not humans but we are. If the laws as made cannot fit into our way of life (culture), how then can it be used to regulate us? The chieftaincy Act of 2008 (Act 759) which was enacted to consolidate Act 1971 (Act 370) was made to regulate the political bit of our chieftaincy institution. The Act created the Traditional Councils and spells out its functions among others. In it is the coordination role of the Traditional Councils. So that the Councils are required to coordinate the activities of the traditional areas to fit into the laws and programs of the political structure, in this case the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture Affairs. The Council was not created by Act 759 to interfere, dictate or regulate the traditions and practices of the Gonja Kingdom. Flowing from the above, the White man’s law enacted as an Act of Parliament does not take precedence over our standing practices and beliefs once the latter don’t cause the security of the sovereign. So, if the Gonja Kingdom allows its traditional practices and culture to be overlapped by the vague laws of the white man, then, the sons of the Kingdom are left to wander about in this confused world. The Gonja Traditional Council’s (GTC) coordination role ought to serve as an interface between the traditional authorities and other quasi institutions including the political structures so created. The GTC by this does not have any direct control over our time-tested traditions. So any attempt by any individual or group of individuals to use the GTC as a cover to subvert the traditional authorities of the Gonja Kingdom is a deliberate move to undo the inherent powers of the Yagbonwura and the skins he swore by. Note-the creation and composition of the GTC didn’t come to obliterate the Traditional Cabinet of the Gonja Kingdom.Everyone of us in the Gonja Kingdom was first born a Gonja, Kamara, Tampulma, Hanga, Brifo, Vagla, etc before we decided to subscribe to the principles of political parties, religious groupings and other artificially created bodies. So, our identity and loyalty are first with the Kingdom before any other exogenous body. Between the Jakpa Palace and the Offices of the GTC, which one has the authority to pronounce on issues of chieftaincy titles and land appropriation? Mind you, the Yagbonwura was first enskinned using the traditional procedures before he was pronounced the President of the GTC by default. So, any authority he wields today is derived from the skins, the ancestors, the gods and from the people of the Kingdom and not from any political authority, Traditional Council or the National or Regional House of Chiefs. So, if the Yagbonwura or any Chief expect any politician or council or court to make him great and powerful and not the people he rules over, then, the walls of the Kingdom are opened for infiltration and takeover by some self-seeking power brokers.Over time, the Gonja Kingdom has become too vulnerable so that key but sensitive dictates of it’s traditions like enskinment of Chiefs are almost left to the authorities of alien Judges and Jury who know nothing about our traditions and culture. We seem to have more court-made-Chiefs than the tradition-made-Chiefs. Maybe the Kingdom is gradually losing its sense of direction. Just one day, I, Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese, a Kamara from Laribanga Yirkpani will seek to ascend the Yagbon throne once I can pay for the services of a good lawyer and probably financially powerful enough to oil the palms of a “corrupt” judge or politically powerful/connected to determine the destinies of people.How does a chief expect to get the popular support of the people and blessings from the gods and ancestors when his rulership was first imposed on the people by the white man’s court and not the gods? People make the king…I can remember these words from the elders in the Palace.For the Gonja Kingdom to be great again, self-seeking merchants should allow the tradition to work. Respect the King and his decisions. The King must also listen to the people, his council of elders and the kingmakers. This thing that the nuclear families of Kings and Chiefs become the sole managers of the palace and its assets must give way for those clothed with the traditional rights and powers to do so. The throne is not a family asset but the people’s power.Make the traditional courts the final arbiter in times of disputes/disagreements and not the white man’s courts and it’s alien judges who might even be envious of the greatness of the Kingdom. The GTC should execute the exclusive coordination role and leave the traditional role to the relevant chosen people and authorities.We all must come together to stop and block all greedy individuals who take advantage of the weaknesses in the system today to enrich and build empires for themselves. Tell them that when the system finally breakdown as a result of their greedy exploits, their empires will be the first to collapse and their offsprings and generations will be the first victims. Allow the people to work for the greatness of the Kingdom, but first let the Kingdom protect its people and make them feel belonged. “When the Royal enters the evil forest and cut down the goddess iroko tree for strangers to use as firewood, the roofs of the last wife of the King will first suffer the wrath of the stubborn winds when the come”…[Gbeadese’s quotes]. Kegbanye must be great again and it begins with you.
Source: Ghana/Zaaradio.com/99.3FM/ Issifu Seidu Kudus Gbeadese