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Chiefs used to be revered, it’s no longer the case – Naba Bilheesong Lagwongt

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The chief of Kotintaabig under the Sakote Traditional Area, Naba Bilheesong Lagwongt, is worried that chiefs in the Upper East Region may have lost reverence. He explained that in times before, the chieftaincy institution used to be the most respected institution. Additionally, chiefs used to wield enough power to ensure that there was sanity, civility and peace within their jurisdiction. 

Naba Lagwongt explained that chiefs used to be considered fair and objective arbiters when conflicts arose. 

“In conflict issues, there are issues that are sent to the courts and people say they do not get justice and they would take up arms. They would think that that is the only way to solve the problem. But gone are the days, our chieftaincy institutions were revered. They normally say, Our revered chiefs. Do we still have the revered chiefs these days? What has happened that the revered chiefs we are beginning to lose track?”

According to the chiefs of Kotintaabig, the lost reverence of chiefs may be due to the actions and inactions of politicians.

“We need to look at our politicians. Our politicians need to begin to give respect to our chieftaincy institution,” he said. 

Naba Lagwongt was worried that politicians, in their community entry, have been neglecting the chiefs. The Chief recalled that at times before, all community entry attempts were through traditional leaders, but that is no longer the case. 

“If you bypass them [the chiefs], then, you are creating a system where there is no respect for the traditional leaders. And so, they cannot adjudicate simple cases at their level.”

But the Chief of Kotintaabig insisted that while all the problems are true concerns for traditional leaders, chiefs must strive to have and maintain integrity. 

“If we are able to create for ourselves integrity within our sector, then we would be able handle some of the issues we are having today. You are a chief in the community and instead of taking the interest of bringing your people together, your interest is to overtax them. If you have vulnerable people who cannot pay, they will have things eating them up but he will not be able to go and tell the chief. But you see, your aim as a chief should be to be able to solve community problems,” he said. 

He said this when he spoke at A1 Radio’s peacebuilding and conflict management forum. 


A1 Radio, a subsidiary of Agreed Best Communication Limited, recently partnered with the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocesan Development Office (NABOCADO) to organise a peacebuilding and conflict management roundtable discussion in Bolgatanga, the capital of the Upper East Region. The aim of the event was to provide a platform for stakeholders to share their experiences and discuss strategies for mitigating the pockets of conflicts in the region.

During the roundtable discussion, the Chief Director of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, Alhaji Abubakari Inusah, emphasised the importance of peaceful coexistence in the region and called on all stakeholders to work towards achieving this goal. The Regional Director for the Upper East Regional Commission for Civic Education, Mawuli Agbenu, also highlighted the need for continuous education and sensitization of the public on the roles they can play in promoting peace and resolving conflicts.

The event was graced by several dignitaries, including the Regional Chairman for the Peace Council, Alhaji Sumaila Issaka, and the Executive Secretary of the Peace Council, Ali Anankpieng. Theophilus Abolga, the representative from NABOCADO, also attended the discussion, along with traditional leaders such as the Paramount Chief of Sirigu, Naba Roland Akwara III, and the Chief of Kotintaabig, Naba Bilheesong Langwaht. IT Expert and CEO of Norgence, Albert Naa, also participated in the event.

The peace building and conflict management roundtable discussion was a collaborative effort between A1 Radio and NABOCADO, aimed at fostering peace and stability in the Upper East Region. The event was well-attended and received positive feedback from participants, who lauded the organisers for their efforts in promoting peaceful coexistence in the region.

The roundtable discussion was moderated by A1 Radio’s Mark Smith.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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