Traditional Authority which is embedded in chieftancy institutions is perhaps the oldest and much revered institution in the country. The positions, traditional status and sphere of influence of chiefs in the Kwabre District unlike other areas, present a complex interwoven web-like phenomenon.
Some of the traditional rulers are ‘Abrempong’ who fall directly under the Asantehene as exemplified by the chief of Adanwomase whilst other chiefs come under the jurisdiction of Kumasi Traditional Chiefs and owe much allegiance to them, for example Swedru. The third category of the traditional rulers falls under paramount chiefs such as Mampong and Nsuta.
The situation presents much problem in terms of mobilization of the people for development through the chiefs, because they (Chiefs) are not rendered as a unified factor around which the people could be rallied together as a result of their differences in interest and allegiance.
In spite of these seemingly trachotomy of traditional interest, the chiefs and people of the area have in common traditional festivals such as ‘Akwasidae’ and ‘Awukudae’ which are basically ‘stool cleansing’ and renewal of allegiance to the Golden stool. In addition, stool cleansing administered by the Asantehene through the chiefs.
Under the auspices of the District Assembly the chiefs and their female counterparts have been brought together to form chiefs and queen mothers association as a first step for development intervention.
With regard to ethnic diversity, the District to a large extent is homogenous with the Akans who form about 83.5%. In all about 10% of the entire District Population come from Northern Ghana. The people of Northern extraction are mainly migrants who are used as farm hands.
The communal spirit within the various communities is high. This is depicted by the contribution of these communities to donor funded programmes like the Micro Projects and Rural Water and Sanitation Programme. Under the Micro Projects Programme communities are expected to contribute 25% towards capital cost while communities are required to contribute 5% towards the provision of Boreholes under the water programme. Aside these donor funded programmes, some communities initiate their own programmes and ask the Assembly for help. All the above depict a high communal spirit on the part of the populace.
Most of the towns in the District are saddled with chieftancy disputes which does not augur well for development. Because the people are divided along traditional lines, it becomes very difficult for the people to unite in order to embark upon any developmental programme. This retards progress and has been the bane of the District in its attempt to move forward.
Implications For Development
The ethnic structure and its predominately homogenous nature potrays the stability of the District.
Chieftaincy disputes result in ethnic conflicts, which can hamper development. Again, the absence of a festival which would serve as a rallying point for the people in the District hampers development. There is therefore the need to put in place a festival that potrays the culture of the people. An Adikra festival to showcase the rich Adinkra cloth is being pursued to serve the purpose.
The high communal spirit when sustained can enable the communities’ contribute positively to the developmental efforts of their towns.