The decision by the Offinso Traditional Council to suspend the Offinso Benkumhene for calling for chiefs to be retired at age 70, on the quite logically sound grounds of cognitive puissance, ought to be applauded and his suspension reconsidered (See “Offinso Traditional Council Apologises To Asantehene” Graphic.com.gh /Ghanaweb.com 6/17/13).
To begin with, I am not aware that the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, has attained the suggested cut-off age of 70 as yet. And so I am somewhat at a loss as to why Nana Osei Boateng Yentumi’s call should occasion the imperial affront of Otumfuo. On the other hand, I can partly understand why the Wulugu Naba, Pugansoa Naa Nbila (aka Prof. John S. Nabila) would take offence to such pragmatically sound suggestion. The retired University of Ghana professor must be well into his 70s.
All the same, the Offinso Benkumhene’s suggestion makes sense to me because, recently, the Asantehene aptly made it clear to the government and the Ghanaian citizenry at large, that chiefs and the chieftaincy institution were a permanent and integral features of the country’s political culture and must be envisaged as such.
Granted the fact that, indeed, chieftaincy – I prefer the more dignified descriptive of the Monarchy – is a hereditary institution, still, the fact also holds true that for this august institution to be as practically significant and relevant as the Asantehene clearly appears to have intimated, the custodians and/or prime representatives of this institution ought to be of good health and sound mind.
In other words, rather than irately stampede Nana Osei Boateng Yentumi out of his palace, or post as Benkumhene of the Offinso paramountcy, the divisional chief rather ought to be lauded for boldly suggesting a practical means of making the monarchy vitally integral to Fourth Republican Ghanaian political culture. Of course, where he clearly errs is to so vacuously presume, wholesale, that every 70-year-old Ghanaian chief, perforce, is cognitively impaired or senile. In brief, the Benkumhene’s suggestion ought to be envisaged on a case-by-case basis.
It also goes without saying that the chieftaincy establishment is a patently human institution that is subject to functional revision and/or modernization and administrative streamlining over the course of time.
_____________________________________________________ *Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Department of English Nassau Community College of SUNY Garden City, New York June 22, 2013 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org