The Privy Council

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The Chiefdom of Ouidah

The Chiefdom of Ouidah and the authority of the Chacha are two of Benin’s oldest institutions, dating back to the time of the Kingdom of Dahomey, when the majority of small monarchies now incorporated into the Republic of Benin and composing its mosaic of kings and religious and traditional leaders, were all vassals of the king of Abomey.

The Chiefdom of Ouidah has a leading position among the traditional and religious leaders of Benin, in addition to its role of reaching out into the world and maintaining relations with numerous countries and international organizations, including UNESCO.

Nowadays, the Chacha is active in the community of Ouidah, where he represents a moral, political, and judicial authority, dedicating himself to assisting those in need through various social and humanitarian activities. His broad range of social projects provides support on a daily basis to those who are left behind or excluded by society, including homeless children, the underprivileged and young unwed mothers. The Chacha has no economic or political agenda and is not dependent on any state or government.


Executive Power

Executive power is held by the Chacha, and he exercises it at his discretion after consulting with the Patriarch of the House of de Souza and the senior officials of the court who together form the Privy Council. The decisions of the Chacha are issued in the form of edicts and represent the moral authority in Ouidah and within the de Souza family.


The Privy Council: the Chacha’s Legislative Consultative Body

The Privy Council is the Government of the Chiefdom of Ouidah. Presided over by the Patriarch, it consists of the Chacha, the Dahs, and the local religious authorities, such as the supreme Voodoo leader. Each Dah is given a sphere of responsibility by the Chacha. With the exception of the Chacha, who is appointed for life, all members of the Privy Council are appointed by the Chacha for a five-year term. The Privy Council meets at the request of the Chacha at least six times a year at the Palace of Ouidah, or when exceptional circumstances so require. He retains sovereign discretion in discussions and decisions on all matters affecting the Chiefdom.


Composition of the Privy Council

The Privy Council is composed of 12 members

H.R.H. Mito, Chacha IX, Lord of Ouidah

The Honourable Dah Nimanbou, Secretary for External Relations, responsible for the worldwide dissemination of information about Ouidah

The Honourable Dah Kinifo, Secretary in charge of oracle consultation for the House of de Souza and keeper of the Fâ

The Honourable Dah Kpohoulo

The Honourable Dah Sehou

The Honourable Dah Agbonon, Conductor of the palace orchestra and keeper of the sacred tam-tam of Singbomè

The Honourable Dagounon, Voodoo High Priest of the House of de Souza

The Honourable Dah Ganlonon, Leader of the Voodoo Community of Ouidah

The Honorable Dah Akpotossou, Leader of the Voodoo Community of Ouidah

The Honourable Dah Alihonou, Communications Secretary and Chamberlain of Singbomè, who orders the firing of the cannons at special events to communicate messages

The Honourable Dah Babadé Lawa, Heritage and Special Events Secretary

The Honourable Dah Mèlomè, Minister of the Interior and Head of Security for the Chacha


Family Court

The Chiefdom of Ouidah has its own courts of customary rights. All family or civil matters related to the Chacha or community life in Ouidah may be referred to the Family Court, which is presided over by a Dah at the pleasure of the Chacha. Judicial proceedings are governed by customary law, unless otherwise specified.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]