The Registrar of the National House of Chiefs, Mr Alexander Essien, has appealed to traditional leaders not to dabble in partisan politics.
The anniversary, which was celebrated on the theme: “50 years of promoting development and democracy in Ghana,” was used by the organisation to take stock of its contribution to democratic institutions in the country.
Mr Essien said the 1992 Constitution did not allow chiefs to partake in partisan politics, and added, “we are saying our chiefs should stay neutral and partner the government of the day to promote development in the traditional areas.”
He pointed out that traditionally, the chief was the father of his traditional area and contended that a chief’s involvement in active politics could easily cause division in the area and that would retard development.
Democracy and development
Delivering the main lecture on the topic, “Development and democracy-Past, present and future, the Head of the History Department of the University of Ghana, Prof. Emmanuel Debrah said development would occur more in a democratic state more than in dictatorship.
He said in a democratic state, there were checks and balances where the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive worked together to ensure that the needed development was brought into being.
Prof. Debrah explained that in a democratic government, citizens determined what development the government had to provide them, saying, “democracy allows citizens to ask what they want.”
He attributed the massive development in the western countries such as Germany and France to their long practice of democracy.
The Executive Director of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD), Mr Ben Guri, for his part, said democracy and development were bedfellows.
He cited the example of Japan and India that had propelled their development using indigenous efforts and said that was what Ghana needed.
Other partners of KAS such as the Christian Mothers Association, the Ghana Union of Traders Association, the Tamale Ecclesiastical Province Pastoral Conference (TEPPCON) and the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), that also contributed at the lecture unanimously, agreed that development was possible where democracy strived.
They all expressed gratitude to KAS for helping to promote development and democracy in the country over the last 50 years and were hopeful that the organisation would continue with its core activities in the country.
The Country Representative of KAS, Mr Burkhardt Hellemann, in a welcome address, talked about the cordial working relations between the organisation and its partners and expressed the hope that there would be greater collaborations in the coming years.