THE DOUBLE ROLE OF CHIEFS NEEDS REVISITING

District Chiefs, according to the Constitution are appointed by the President and can be removed from office by the President. The Chief is the administrative head of the district and works under the direction and control of the Governor. This is a colonial legacy which is still retained despite criticisms of colonial domination.

Furthermore, under the district tribunal Act, the Attorney General appoints the president of a district tribunal often referred to as the chief’s court. However the practice since the colonial period is that the head chief becomes the president of the district tribunal. In short, the chief while operating as an adjudicator under the judiciary at the same time acts as an administrator and takes directives from the executive. This dual role of the chief undermines the tenets of the separation of powers.

Foroyaa is aware of the elders of a village who are aggrieved with the decision of a head chief who gave disputed land to another village. The chief was then acting as an administrator. The village elders then decided to sue the other village but they claim the chief, now putting on his judicial cap, refused to provide the summons.

The conflict of interest is evident and clearly illustrates that one cannot be a head chief and president of a district tribunal at the same time. This would be in contravention of the constitution which emphasizes separation of powers. The provisions of the constitution relating to this matter needs review.