chief file photo
File photo

The Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, has stated categorically that he does not vote for presidential candidates.

“I don’t vote for presidential candidates because they are all my children,” he said during the launch of a book by investigative journalist Manasseh Azure.

He explained voting would be choosing one over the other which he remains unwilling to do.

Ghana’s 1992 constitution bars chiefs from active participation in partisan politics.

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Section (1) of Article 276 states: “A chief shall not take part in active party politics, and any chief wishing to do so and seeking election to Parliament shall abdicate his stool or skin.”

But the Omanehene of Essikado appears to have gone one more step to debar himself from exercising a fundamental democratic right to vote.

Despite the constitutional rule prescribing an apolitical posture for chiefs in partisan matters, several have found the regulation to hard to keep. Photo: Nii Ayi Bonte at a Greater Accra House of Chiefs meeting

Chiefs who have openly endorsed presidential candidates

In 2016, the Chief of Sunyani, Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri, assured then President Mahama of at least 80 per cent of the total votes in the Brong Ahafo Region in the 2016 general election.

November 25, 2016: The Gbese Mantse, Nii Ayi Bonte during the inauguration of the Accra Faecal Treatment Plant declared support for NDC Presidential candidate John Mahama. Speaking in the Ga language, he said he would abdicate his stool if Mahama loses the 2016 polls.

In the same year, the Chief of Kukurantumi in the Eastern Region also assured President Mahama of 50 per cent of the total votes in the region.

President of the Northern Regional House of Chiefs, Nayire Naa Bohugu Mahami Abdulai, prayed for the then President Mahama to retain the seat.

President Mahama received the endorsement of the Omanhene of Yeji, Nana Pemapin Yaw Kagbrese, for a second term in office.

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The chief of Bassa, Nana Owusu Sekyi III, in the Brong Ahafo Region, also endorsed the candidature of President John Mahama ahead of the 2016 elections.

The Chief of Odumase No. 1, Nana Kwasi Yeboah, called on Ghanaians to extend President Mahama’s mandate.

Nana Saafo Attara II, the Adontenhene of the Dodo Traditional area in the Volta region gave a resounding endorsement to President John Mahama during his ‘Accounting to the People’ of the Volta Region.

The Chief of Tuobodom in the Brong Ahafo Region, Nana Obeng Ameyaw Barimah II, declared his support for the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo.

The Paramount Chief of the Tumu Traditional Area, Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton VI, endorsed the candidature of Nana Akufo-Addo

Nana Akufo-Addo was also endorsed by the Chief of Garu, Naba Asuguru Akuntam Wini

The Chief of Bawku, Naba Asigiri Azoka Abugrago II, on the visit of NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Add said “this is the proper endorsement I want to make Nana Nketsia V says to avoid being tagged as a sympathiser of party A or B, he would rather not vote.

A chieftaincy analyst, Dr. Obiri Yeboah has explained why chiefs tend to openly declare support for a political candidate.

He said traditional leaders who endorse presidential candidates are engaging in gambling.

He said they do so because they want development projects for their communities. He described open declarations as a gamble.

According to him, the inability of chiefs to provide social amenities to their constituents is at the heart of pledging allegiance to a particular party or candidate.

“It is very difficult to decide not to be partisan because the people are all looking up to the chiefs to solicit social amenities from those who hold the purse and it is the presidential aspirants who hold the purse,” he said in an interview with Joy