Some members of the National House of Chiefs are pushing for the amendment of aspects of Article 267 of the 1992 constitution.
The article establishing the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL) mandates the government agency to mobilize and disburse revenue from stool lands in the country. The Stool Lands Act, 481 of 1994 also stipulates that: “Of the revenue accruing from stool lands 10% shall be paid to the OASL to cover administrative expenses. The other 90% is to be disbursed in the following proportions: 25% to the Stool for its maintenance; 20% to the Traditional Councils; and 55% to the District Assembly.”
But the traditional authorities describe the constitutional provision as “unjust” and defeats the attributes of transparency and accountability. They also bemoaned the reluctance of successive governments to consider their views despite numerous engagements on the issue over the years.
The Paramount Chief of Asante Mampong Dasebre Osei Bonsu narrated how the late President John Evans Atta Mills failed to engage the House on some proposals and recommendations it sent to the Constitutional Review Commission at the time.
“During [the late] President Mills’ tenure government undertook a major assignment of instituting a commission tour of the whole of Ghana to accept and deliberate on proposals for amendment of the constitution. [The House of Chiefs]We sat down and wrote detailed memoranda and raised some major highlights and recommendations that we raised for the attention of [late President] Prof. Mills and his cabinet that Article 267 was not one of the entrenched clauses and so needed to be issued a white paper for parliamentary action”.
“We also proposed that from practice 55% out of the remainder of the 90% for the Assembly should be reduced and then added up to the 25% to the chiefs at the paramountcy for maintenance of their status. And then the 20% use by the traditional council…I followed this up and what happened was this proposal that was submitted to Prof. Mills he just jettisoned it out”, he fumed.
“I can’t believe that monies that are collected on our behalf on rent can be kept at the Ministry for about two years. It comes back to us with no interests or documents. And you can’t even go and check your records and see the amount I get for a year for me to get 20%. The law for me is unjust. You cannot call me a landlord and somebody else is managing the rent. As if I cannot collect my own rent and have the government tax me.”
“So we Nananom will have to form a committee to challenge this law. Kwame Nkrumah made this law to take away our financial backbone from us. This is a sham”, he roared.
For the Dormaahene, Osagyefo Oseadeyo Agyemang Badu II, “If you look at the conditions now, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, how soon are they going to adjust the rate applicable to what Nananom will receive? Because not quite long, just yesterday, my registrar told me about a certain amount that has come, I look at the amount, and I was like are you sure registrar? So he posted the thing on my WhatsApp and I looked at the thing and was just smiling.
“So we appeal to the Deputy Minister for Lands, with respect, I think that there’s a need to adjust the rate. Nananom are here, we want to hear whether it has been adjusted or not. Because we cannot on our own adjust it so that whatever we will receive from the administrator of stool lands will withstand the current economic difficulties we are in”.
New Land Act
The chiefs took turns to pour out their frustrations during an engagement with the Lands Commission on Wednesday (November 17) on the new Land Act. Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister Benito Owusu Bio said the new act would help resolve issues on the proliferation of land guards, and the multiple sales of lands among others.
“To resolve these challenges, the land act aims at revising, harmonising and consolidating the laws on lands and to ensure sustainable lands administration and management, effective and efficient land tenure and to provide for related matters,” he assured.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH