Last Updated: Monday, 11 December 2017, 15:40 GMT

Ghana: Chamba (Tchamba) ethnic group; whether there has been a chieftancy dispute in since 1994

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 21 October 2002
Citation / Document Symbol GHA40267.E
Reference 5
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ghana: Chamba (Tchamba) ethnic group; whether there has been a chieftancy dispute in since 1994, 21 October 2002, GHA40267.E, available at: [accessed 11 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to the author of Historical Perspectives on Chamba Daka:

The Chamba are an ethnic group composed of speakers of two quite different languages belonging to the Niger-Congo family. In ethnographic literature, these languages are traditionally called Daka and Leko ... [and] speakers of many dialects of both of these languages identify themselves as members of the Chamba ethnic group ... Chambaland, i.e. the central Chamba area, where the majority of the Chamba live, straddles the present border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Chamba Leko speakers are restricted to the easternmost part of the central area, for the most part on the Cameroon part of the modern border. The remainder of the Chamba are Daka-speaking (Raymond Boyd).

Richard Fardon, author of Between God, the Dead and the Wild: Chamba Interpretations of Ritual and Religion, states that "[d]espite the relationship implied by their names the two languages, Chamba Daka and Chamba Leko are not even of the same language family" (Zeitlyn 1992). David Zeitlyn, a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Kent (U.K.) states that regarding the ethnography of the Chamba, "we have a group of people asserting a common identity with no common language, political organisation or cosmology (ibid.).

Ethnologue lists Chamba as an alternative name for Akaselem, a language that is found in the Tchamba region of Togo (2001).

Although among the sources consulted most geographic references to the Chamba (Tchamba) situate them within Togo, Nigeria and Cameroon (ibid.; CRC 2002; The News 7 Feb. 2000; Boyd 1994; Zeitlyn 1992) one reference to the Chamba ethnic group within Ghana was found (Ghanaweb n.d.). According to the one source "[t]he Dagbon Kingdom has traditional administrative responsibilities for hitherto acephalous groups like the Konkomba, the Bimoba, the Chekosi, the Basaari, the Chamba, and the Zantasi. Though ethnic Dagbamba are in the majority, the people of the subject ethnic groups have equal citizenship rights in the Kingdom" (ibid.). Additional information regarding the Chamba (Tchamba) ethnic group within Ghana could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Reference to a chieftancy dispute among the Chamba (Tchamba) ethnic group in Ghana could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

It may be of interest, that in the Takum region of Nigeria, there was a conflict between the Chamba and the Kuteb in 1996 over regional leadership and administrative boundary issues (CRC 2002).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Boyd, Raymond. 1994. Historical Perspectives on Chamba Daka. Edited by Jungraithmayr, Herrmann and Cyffer, Norbert. [Accessed 16 Oct. 2002]

Christian Reformed Church (CRC). 2002. "Takum Peace Process." [Accessed 18 Oct. 2002]

Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 2001. 14th ed. "Akaselem: a Language of Togo." [Accessed 18 Oct. 2002]

Ghanaweb. n.d. "Dagbon and Its People." [Accessed 18 Oct. 2002]

The News [Lagos]. 7 February 2000. Ben Adaji. "Nigeria; Taraba State Petitions Obasanjo on a Case Against Danjumla." (Africa News/NEXIS)

Zeitlyn, David. 1992. "Fardon, Richard; 1991. Between God, the Dead and the Wild. Chamba Interpretations of Ritual and Religion." Book review in: Africa [London]. 1992. Vol.62, No.1. [Accessed 21 Oct. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

Encyclopaedia Britannica

The Encyclopaedia of Religion

Ethnic Groups Worldwide

IRB Databases


Internet sites, including:

Africa Confidential

Africa Online

Anthropological Index Online

Apologetics Index

BBC Africa

Ghana - A Country Study

Ghana Review

Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)

News in Ghana

U.S. Department of State

World News Connection (WNC)

World Press Review

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Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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