The Municipality is an amalgamation of religious diversity creating a vibrant cosmopolitan society. The religious groups are Christianity (56.0%), Traditionalist (24%), Islam (15%), Non-Believers (5%) and others (1%).
There are three (3) Paramountcy’s in the Municipality namely Navrongo, Kologo and Naaga. Every Paramountcy has a Chief Priest (Tigatina/Tendana - guardians and custodians of land) who relates with ancestral traditions which he holds in trust of the people. Matters relating to chieftaincy, culture and traditions are handled by the various traditional councils and individual chiefs.
The Municipality is an amalgamation of ethnic groups and cultural diversity creating a vibrant cosmopolitan society. The predominant ethnic groups are the Nankanas, Kassenas, Dagombas and Bulisa. There are other tribes from other parts of the country and outside the country residing in the Municipality. All these ethnic groups co-exist peacefully in the Municipality creating a harmonious environment for social, cultural, environmental, political and economic development.
Situation of Communal Spirit
The Municipal populace have a very deep sense of communal spirit. They farm together in families, build house through communal labour, provide water points through communal labour etc.
The Traditional Authority has a 12 month traditional calendar called Navania calendar with the names of the months as Binduri, Gumgum fogo, Lumwia, Lueru luem, Duum, Parim, Chaara, Dualue, Gwarem, Duaworo, Womudabu and Fao.
In the Traditional setup, the farming season historically takes seven months starting from Duum-May and ends in Fao-November.
Land Title and Ownership
Traditionally land is seen as a natural resource owned by the community, the skin or the family and of late individuals. Individuals do not own lands but the family heads own lands. The chiefs oversee the distribution and sale of lands. The Tindanas/Tigatus are the original owners of the land. However they transfer lands to other family heads.
Land administration is guided by both customary practices and by laws enacted by the state. .Land ownership structure is skewed towards men; majority of land are owned and controlled by men. Only few women have access and can control land in the Municipality, mainly those who are economically empowered.
Marriage is the recognition of a relationship between a man (bridegroom) and a woman (bride) to live together, procreate, build a good family, support and help to each other. Marriage ceremony in the Municipality bind both the couples and their families including their extended families together. Marriage in the Municipality depends on whether the lady (bride) is an ordinary spinster (Kataogo), a first born daughter (Bukokwia), a girl dedicated to a shrine (Gyumbuko), a maid servant (Kanyane), a widow (Kadem), Bethroded and eloped.
The stages in the marriage system are courtship, ratification of marriage (Gongna) and payment of the dowry. The payment of bride price takes the form of cola nuts, tobacco and guinea fowls. However, bridegrooms pay two cows (female and male), seven sheep, seven balls of Tobacco, seven hoe blades and a cock together with the aforementioned items. The bride price could be paid in part, but on the death of the bride, the bride price has to be paid fully before permission could be granted for burial of the corpse.
Where the man (bridegroom) also fails to pay the bride price, the girl’s (bride’s) parents also have the right to withdraw her from the marriage. If even the man (bridegroom) was unable to pay the sheep and the cow, the children would be mandated to pay before they can dowry their own wives.
Festival is a significant cultural practice in the Municipality. The festivals celebrated in the Municipality are Kosigri, Mokweka and Fao.
Customary law and the traditional justice system is the binding force that hold the whole community together. Inheritance is based on patrilineal lines and it is always the “eldest son” of a deceased person that inherits him. However in situations where the family is an extended family, the brother of the deceased inherits property in trust for the family. Within the clan and lineage, it is the oldest according to the family tree who will inherit after the traditional rites of handing over and installing a new head is performed.
However, before the transfer of power, the transition is managed by the oldest child of the deceased. The person inheriting holds all property in trust for the family and most often can dispose of the property in cases of emergency sometimes not in consultation with other family members.
There is no form of ownership of family assets by daughters regarding the traditional system. Women by custom and tradition were considered to be persons that would belong to new families on getting married and were therefore denied inheritance. The instance where a woman can enjoy bit of inheritance is when she stays at home and is likely not to go back to her husband. Even with that, she is given a piece of land to build on (Kapurepaara). This has led to inequality between men and women, leading to unequal distribution of human development with vicious effects on the life of women and the society in general.
Funeral is another major customary practice of the people. Funerals are mostly organized after the harvest especially during the long dry season. The stages of the funeral are burial, blackening of the grave “yibelazorimand” and final funeral rites “Lua fulim” or what the people call “departure rites”. Funerals are performed to mark the end of the transition from earth to life after death (The spirit world).
The performance is marked by feasting where various foodstuffs and pito are prepared in abundance, depending on the economic status of the deceased. However, it must be noted that similar performances are not held for the very young. Apart from the fact that, these performances mark the final departure of the deceased, the burning of the quiver and the soko provide the deceased with their working tools to continue life in the next world.
Funerals are also occasions for the property of the deceased to be distributed among his children or held for them by the eldest son. The widow of the deceased is given the choice to remarry out of the family or choose any family member as a husband. In sum, it could be said that, people in the Municipality are related to each other by either marriage or blood, while their religion serves to bind the people together.
Structure of the Municipal Assembly
The Municipal Assembly is made up of the General Assembly, Executive Committee and its Sub-committees, Coordinating Directorate and Decentralized Departments.
The General Assembly
The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the Municipality. They perform deliberative, legislative and executive functions and these functions are performed under the leadership of the Presiding Member. The General Assembly comprises of 52 members. Out of this number, 35 are elected, 15 appointed, 1 Member of Parliament and the Municipal Chief Executive. The Municipal Chief Executive is appointed by the President and approved by 2/3 of Assembly Members present and voting. The Presiding Member is elected by 2/3 of all Assembly Members.
Executive Committee, Sub-Committees and Other Committees
In the performance of its functions, the Municipal Assembly works through the Executive Committee and its subsidiary Sub-Committees namely Finance and Administration Sub-committee, Works Sub-committee, Development Planning Sub-committee, Agriculture, Environmental and Climate Change Sub-committee, Justice and Security Sub-committee, Medium and Small Scale Enterprise Sub-committee, Social Services Sub-committee and Women and Children Sub-committee. All these sub-committees report to the Executive Committee and the Executive Committee also reports to the General Assembly. There also exist Public Complaints Committee which handles public complaints and refer it to the appropriate bodies if the need be.
The Municipal Chief Executive chairs meetings of the Executive Committee whiles the Presiding Member chairs meetings of the General Assembly and the Public Complaints Committee. Each Sub-committee has a Chairperson who is elected from among the members at the first meeting.
Sub-District Political and Administrative Structures
The Municipality has six (6) Zonal councils namely, Navrongo Zonal Council, Doba Zonal Council, Manyoro Zonal Council, Pungu Zonal Council, Kologo Zonal Council and Naaga Zonal Council. The Zonal Councils are essentially rallying points of local enthusiasm in support of the Local Government system.
These councils are administered by Councilors. It is also divided into 35 Electoral Areas and 34 Unit Committees. Kugongo/Kulongo Electoral Area has no Unit Committee. Theses Unit Committees play the important roles for enforcement and mobilization matters since they are closer to the people. The Municipality have 52 Assembly Members (36 elected members, 16 appointed members) and 170 Unit Committee Members.
The office of the Coordinating Directorate is the administrative and technical unit of the Municipal Assembly and is headed by the Municipal Coordinating Director. The directorate is responsible for assisting the Assembly in the performance of its duties such as coordinating and harmonizing the work programmes of the decentralized departments of the Assembly.
The Municipality has 13 departments namely Central Administration Department; Finance Department; Works Department; Physical Planning Department; Department of Trade and Industry; Department of Agriculture; Department of Social Welfare and Community Development; Transport Department; Urban Roads Department; Department of Education, Youth and Sports; Disaster Prevention and Management Department; Natural Resources Conservation, Forestry, Game and Wildlife Department and Department of Health. At the moment the Transport Department has not been established in the Municipality. These departments perform the technical function and therefore provide the technical expertise for local level development.
The Municipal Assembly have involved all the three Paramountcies (i.e. Navrongo, Kologo and Naaga) in the performance of its mandate and functions. Traditional authorities have the power and authority based on customs and traditions to make legitimate decisions in their traditional area of jurisdiction. Though modernity has limited the functions of Traditional Authorities, they still play a vital role in ensuring sufficient stability and sanity in the community; mobilizing community members for the development of the Municipality; managing and resolving conflicts within the communities; releasing land for development and also resolve land dispute and serving as knowledgeable people for consultation on affairs concerning the community.
Faith Based Organizations
Faith based organizations such as Churches and Mosques perform some social developmental functions in the Municipality. They have been assisting in area of educational infrastructure. Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) have become essential partners in local level development because they command a large section of the population through their spiritual activities. They are noted for their philanthropic activities of providing shelter, food and clothing to the needy as well as sharing the word of God with humankind.
Community Organizations/Non-state actors
The Municipality has several local and international NGOs that have partnered with the government in order to implement projects that seek to improve the living standards of the citizens. The high number of these organizations is largely attributed to the fact that the poverty levels in the Municipality are high. These organizations are currently implementing projects in the area of capacity building programmes, education, health, local economic development and agriculture.
The major Non-governmental organizations, operating in the Municipality include ACDEP-RESULT, AFRIKIDS, Basic Needs Ghana, USAID- ADVANCE, NORSAAC, Center for Social Mobilization and Sustainable Development (CENSODEV), IDE-Ghana, IITA African Rising, Institute for Social Research and Development (ISRAD), Trade Aid Integrated Navrongo Women Health and Development (NWHD), Organization for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGISS), Our Lady of Mercy Community Service (OLAMS), Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA), Rural Aid Ghana, Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment Ghana (RISE), Link Community Development (LCD), Wema-Ato Widows and Orphans Ministry, Youth Alive Ghana, Youth Link Ghana and Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana.