Chieftaincy- Chief- Definition of – Requisites for making a chief – Constitution, Article 277.
Chief – Nomination – Fundamental requirement for making a chief – Role of queen mother – meaning of nomination – Nomination to precede all other processes for making chief – Ex post facto processes after nomination irrelevant for want of capacity to make nomination. Whether or not queen mother acting unreasonably for not making nomination within one day as requested by kingmakers – Destoolment – When proper – Failure of queen mother to attend calls of kingmakers constituting ground for destoolment – Judicial Committee of inquiry on chieftaincy – Effect – Chief – Installation – Seven day notice – Such notice of installation improper under Act 759 – Chieftaincy Act, 2008 (Act 759), s68 (2).
SUPREME COURT, ACCRA
(Chieftaincy Appeal J2/1/2011)
IN RE WENCHI STOOL AFFAIRS; NKETIA & Others v SRAMANGYEDUA III & Others
BEFORE THEIR LORDSHIP: BROBBEY, DR DATE-BAH, BAFFOE-BONNIE, ARYEETEY AND AKOTO-BAMFO JJSC
Article 277 of the 1992 Constitution has underscored the requisites to be satisfied when considering the making of a chief, namely, nomination, election/selection, enstoolment/enskinment and installation. The satisfaction of those requirements should be in accordance with the peculiar customs and usages of the people in the area for whom the chief was being considered.
From a plain reading of the definition of chief in article 277 of the 1992 constitution, the most fundamental requirement was nomination which was applicable to areas where nomination was an essential requirement before settling on a person to be considered as a chief. In that context, nomination simply meant the proposal of a person for election or selection as a chief.
Essentially, nomination would boil down to naming or declaring a person considered by the queen mother as the rightful person to be made chief.
The Supreme Court unanimously so held in dismissing the appeal by the appellants against the judgment of the Judicial Committee of the National House of Chiefs, allowing the appeal by the petitioner from the Judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Brong Ahafo House of Chiefs, which had dismissed the petitioners’ claim for a declaration that the purported nomination of the first appellant, Kwadwo Nyam Nketia, by Obaapanyin Abena Frema Atuahene, as the candidate for the Wenchi Paramount Stool was void.
The relevant facts of the case were as follows. Nana Abrefa Mbore Bediatuo VII was the Paramount Chief of Wenchi Traditional Area. He died on 7 July 2004. After his death, a former Chief of Wenchi, Nana Kusi Appea, filed in April 2005, a petition before the Judicial Committee of the Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs.
The petition was against the Queenmother of Wenchi, Nana Atoaa Sramangyedua III and the Wench Traditional Council. The petition was mainly for a declaration that he was the sitting Paramount Chief of Wenchi Traditional Area.
The petition was finally determined in favour of the queen mother and the traditional council on 6 June 2006. A series of meetings followed the determination of the case on that day. The kingmakers requested the queen mother to nominate a person to be considered as the Paramount Chief of Wenchi to replace that she needed three weeks to make the nomination.
The kingmakers insisted that they could not wait for as long as three weeks as demanded by the queen mother for a chief to be nominated. The queen mother replied that she needed three weeks to make the nomination.
The kingmakers insisted that they could not wait for as long as three weeks as demanded by the queen mother for a chief to be nominated. The queen mother, on the other hand, maintained that there were consultations to be made and other contestants had to be given the chance to put forward their interests and therefore she could not be rushed into making the nomination as immediately as the kingmakers demanded.
Following what appeared to be a stalemate, the kingmakers approached the queen mother three times for her to nominate a candidate to be considered as the Paramount Chief of Wenchi.
Alleging that the queen mother had delayed unreasonably, the kingmakers approached the Obaapanin of the Royal Family, Abena Frema Atuahene, who performed the customary role which would have been performed by the queen mother in respect of the nomination and installation of the paramount chief. Eventually, Kwadwo Nyam Nketia was nominated enstooled and installed as the Paramount Chief of Wenchi to replace the deceased Nana Abrefa Mbore Bediatuo VII.
Consequently, the Queen mother, Nana Atoaa Sramangydua III, together with three chiefs in the Wenchi Traditional Area, filed a petition before the Judicial Committee of the Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs for declarations, inter alia, that: (a) the purported nomination of the first respondent, Kwadwo Nyam Nketia, by Obaapanin Abena Frema Atuahene as the candidate for Wenchi Paramount Stool was void; (b) the first petitioner, the queen mother, was the rightful person to nominate a candidate to the Kingmakers of Wenchi Traditional Council to be installed as the Paramount Chief of Wenchi; (c) the second and third respondents, the Abakomahene and the Jumankwahene respectively, could not install and enstool the first respondent as the Paramount Chief of Wenchi because the person who had purported to nominate him lacked capacity to do so.