Document Succession To Skins – Mark Woyongo

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Mark Owen Woyongo, has entreated the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs to come up with a documentation on succession to the various skins to end unnecessary chieftaincy disputes and litigation in the region. He said a comprehensive documentation on chieftaincy succession would make people aware of the heirs to the various skins in advance and help to eliminate doubts and disputes in the event of the demise of a chief. Mr Woyongo said this at a general meeting of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs in Bolgatanga. He was accompanied to the meeting by the Deputy Regional Minister, Mrs Lucy Awuni. He said the region had quite a number of chieftaincy conflicts which were hampering its development. He cited the Bawku conflict and the Builsa and Mirigu traditional disputes as examples of the conflicts which were impacting negatively on the development of the region. "The Bawku conflict in particular is the Achilles heel’ of the region; it is our most vulnerable spot. I, therefore, appeal to you to do everything within your traditional powers to bring that conflict to a speedy end," he said. The minister stressed that the government would not interfere in chieftaincy affairs, adding, however, that it would take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of lives and property in areas plagued with violent conflicts. He said in the past chiefs were the leaders who shed their blood and sometimes even gave their lives in the defence of their people. They also served as political and religious leaders and often served as the link between the living and the dead. "In contemporary times, however, chiefs should be seen to be championing the development of their areas and the welfare of their people. Galvanise your people to undertake self-help projects and be proactive on issues pertaining to the welfare of your people," he said. He expressed the hope that by doing so chiefs would de-emphasise their ceremonial roles and give priority to the development of their communities. Mr Woyongo said the progress and development of the region could not be achieved without the active participation and support of traditional rulers, adding that the regional coordinating council CRCC) was ready to meet with them to solicit their views on how the development agenda of the region could be set. The President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs and Paramount Chief of the Paga Traditional Area, Pe Awiah Awampaga II, said the house had been working to do away with chieftaincy and land disputes in the region. He said a three-man committee led by him had met the regents of deceased paramount chiefs in the region and appealed to them to perform the funerals of the deceased chiefs to pave the way for the enskinment of new chiefs. He said despite the efforts to fight chieftaincy litigation and conflicts, the house was still confronted with the Bawku conflict. "I must confess that it has been a serious bother to the house and we have been making every effort to end this conflict," he said. He acknowledged the interventions the RCC and other stakeholders had made in order to find a solution to the Bawku conflict and exhorted the RCC not to relent in its efforts at resolving the conflict because without Bawku the region would be incomplete.