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General News of Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Source: John Antwi-Boasiako

Asantehene Robbing Villages From Techiman - Techimanhene

The Techimanhene Oseadeeyo Akumfi Ameyaw IV has reacted to Techimna – Tuobodom conflict that resulted at least three people dead.

Below is the full text the release


The Bono Kingdom was the first centralized Akan State in the present day Ghana and part of Cote d’ Voire, with its capital at Bono Manso. Between 1290 and 1750 Bono Manso State was enjoying a reasonable level of economic growth.

When the Ashantis were passing from the Mossi land to their present place they were treated nicely by the then Bono King that was about 500 years after settling at Bono Manso Area.

The Ashantis served the King of Denkyira when they settled at Asantemanso and later Kwaman. Some states around the Kwaman area were united together by Nana Osei Tutu I and Okomfo Anokye and fought Denkyira (their overlord) in 1699 and won. It evolved into a great empire. After this achievement instead of trading or working hard to get the wealth and traditional accoutrements to merit the acquired position, they decided to fight the Bono State to steal their things for the purpose.

An Ashanti man (Baafo Pim) who had been settled by the Bono King at the village of Okora Asan and his two elderly brothers (village of three old men) placed the powerful state into the hands of the Ashantis through treachery. The heart of the Bono Kingdom was confiscated by Nana Opoku Ware I and given to Baafo Pim as his reward and made him King of Nkoranza.

The Bono Kingdom boundary with Offinso (Asante) was pushed as far as Kuntunso from around Abofour and Asuosu (Mfutudwaneemu). Thus, the Bono King remarking “Aha yiaa Korara Nsua” which became the name of the next village after Kuntunso. The Queen mother Ohemaa Dwamena and the Buoyem Chief were sent to the Asantehemaa’s palace to teach them how to use the stolen Booty. Takyiman then became a vassal state of Asante. One may ask why all these lands were taken from the Bono Kingdom but was not allowed to serve the Ashanti with his lands? As they were serving Denkyira with their lands and all other states they conquered were serving them with their lands. They say Takyiman will be greater than them if made to retain those lands.

In 1818 the Ashanti – Gyaman war broke out and Takyiman was forced to send troops in support of Ashanti as well as seven powerful priests who were renowned for their power with the gods Tano and Ntoa. Takyiman casualties in this war were enormous, since the Asantehene used the Takyiman contingents as shock troops. After the victory Osei Bonsu Panyin expressed his great satisfaction with the Takyiman war effort and invited the Takyimanhene Kyereme Kofi and his seven priests to take part in the victory parade in Kumasi. After their return to Takyimanhene, however, the Asantehene informed Kyereme Kofi that from that time onwards his powerful priests and the towns on which each chief ruled would be no longer his. That is the seven most prosperous towns in Takyiman, were also confiscated by the Asantehene to add to all that he had taken from Takyiman. Their taxes were now to be paid into the Ashanti treasury, and jurisdiction over them passed through Kumasi chiefs, who administered these towns according to the wishes of the Asantehene.

Upon the deportation of Nana Prempeh I in 1896, King Kwaku Gyarko of Takyiman signed a Treaty of Friendship and protection with Queen Victoria of Great Britain on 5th of June 1897 at Nkoranza. The King of Takyiman entered into the Treaty in his right as a high contracting party and a sovereign of his Kingdom on the one part with Queen Victoria of Great Britain also as a high contracting party and a sovereign in her own right on the other part.

Nananom, countrymen, this shows clearly that Takyiman was independent at this stage and was not under Asante domination. The villages reverted to Takyiman.

Again, Asante became part of the Gold Coast Colony by law in January, 1902 and all the former territories gained independence. The nine villages in contention were restored to Techiman by the Colonial Government and Techiman administrated these villages from then till 1935.

In the mid 1930’s Lord Luggard’s policy of Indirect Rule had been a great success in Northern Nigeria where he ruled through powerful chiefs in whom he centralized power.

This was very appealing and a welcoming relief to the Colonist in Gold Coast as the requirement of expatriate staff of trained administrators grew rather larger and became a real burden for the colonists.

The colonists in Gold Coast decided to centralize all powers in the Northern part of the Gold Coast in one influential chief through whom they could rule. They saw in the Asantehene an ideal central authority and did all they could to subjugate hitherto independent states to the Asantehene so as to rule through him. Thus the restoration of the Ashanti Confederacy.

Nananom, countrymen, it is very clear that what the colonists sought to restore was a union sovereign independent states by way of a league or an alliance under the accolade Asante or Asante Confederacy. In line with this principle, when upon the proposal for the restoration of the confederacy, Nana Yaw Ameyaw, Omanhene of Techiman, by letter dated 11th February, 1933 to the District Commissioner, Wenchi – Kintampo District laid claim to the Bono Manso the ancient capital of the Bono Kingdom now Nkoranza. Thus if Government proposes now to patch all the broken traditions and conform to the order of our native customs in a peaceful restoration it should be restored to him, but his request was declined.

Takyiman then refused to join the confederacy when it was restored in 1935. Six out of the ten of the Brong Divisions were opposed to the reconstitution. The six included Dormaa, Abease, Atebubu, and Drobo.

The district commissioner at Wenchi, who knew nothing of the history of Takyiman that is, the confiscation of its most prosperous villages, taken into captivity of Bono’s intelligentsia, the craftsmen, goldsmiths, weavers, carvers, the musicians, the precious and wealthy things of the Kingdom by the Ashantis and the paying of heavy taxes to enrich the Ashantis had the Takyimanhene Yaw Ameyaw (1928 – 1935) destooled for maladministration when he refused to join the confederacy.

There was no option for the succeeding Takyimanhene Nana Kwasi Twi (1935-1936) but to submit to the pressures put on him and his people by the British Government to join the Ashanti Confederacy. The British for the purpose of Indirect Rule and administration wanted Ashanti as large an area as possible but the Asantehene and the Kumasi chiefs who wanted Takyiman again under their rule to punish them for their refusal to join the confederacy at its inception in early 1935. Takyiman finally joined the confederacy in November, 1935. Takyiman joined the confederacy as OWNER IN POSSESSION of all the nine villages in contention. That is after the 1897 treaty with Queen Victoria of Great Britain and officially when the British severed the town from Kumasi Division and handed them over to Techiman in 1900 after the Yaa Asantewaa war.

A committee of privileges was established as a sub-committee of the Ashanti Confederacy Council to examine the conflicting claims of various chiefs in the confederacy to the allegiance of the stools and to the ownership of the lands. It sat from 18th June 1935 to January 1936. Takyimanhene and his elders appeared before the committee of privileges which was not set up by law (a non-statutory body) with purely advisory functions temporary in nature (It ceased to exist after its last sitting on 3rd January, 1936) on the 18th of November, 1935.

The committee sat at 9:00am an Monday 18th November, 1935 with the following as members; The Chief Commissioner major F W F Jackson, The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, The Bekwaihene Nana Kwame Opoku IV, The Adontenhene Nana J. K. Frimpong and the Agonahene Nana Kwadwo Apaw. This was how the Chief Commissioner started the meeting “I congratulate the Techimanhene and his elders that they have joined the confederacy, and I hope that it will be beneficial to their Division. We have met here this morning relative to certain villages which are being claimed “FROM TECHIMAN”. This refute the claim by the Asantehene and his Asante chiefs that Takyiman came to the committee of privileges to claim the nine villages. Techiman could not have laid claim to what she was already holding when she appeared before the committee of privileges. This temporary committee which was not set up by statute as a necessary feature of Ashanti constitution but as an administrative committee with purely “advisory function took these villages again from Techiman and gave them back to Ashanti. The Techimanhene who appeared before the committee was destooled by the Techiman people. Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III continued with the struggle for the villages when he ascended to the throne in 1944. Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III fought the nine villages’ case in a long chain of litigation starting from the Asante chief commissioner’s court to the Privy Council in London. The Colonial Government following the Indirect Rule helped the Asantehene to hold these villages and thus on 6th of February, 1948 Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III wrote to the secretary of the Ashanti Confederacy Council that he was unable to comply with the summons to attend the next meeting in Kumasi. The state elders, chiefs and sub- chiefs including three of the chiefs (Tanoso, Tuobodom and Offuman) from the nine villages forbade him to do so.

On the same day another letter was sent to the Governor of the Gold Coast. It stated that the Techiman State had broken off all communication with the Ashanti Confederacy and from now on would not pay the one third share to the Ashanti National Fund. Thus, in 1948 the Colonial Government by order No.115 of 1948 suspended Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III from acting as a Native Authority \and also by order No.5 of 1948 suspended the chiefs of the nine villages who have declared themselves openly for the Techimanhene (Tanosohene, Tuobodomhene, and Chief of Offuman II) as members of the Tano Subin Native Court. Apparently, the Techiman secession was later supported by a number of Bono Chiefs. Nana Agyeman Badu and the Dormaa State Council, in December 1950, took offence at the decision of the Legislative Council Report on future Local Government in Asante. They claimed that they had little time to consider that Report before the Asanteman Council accepted it. The acceptance of the Report by Asanteman Council was something not done in the interest and welfare of the Dormaa people and a convenient pretext for Dormaa to secede from the Asante Confederacy.

Thus, supported by Bono Chiefs, on 10th of February 1951 Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III initiated the formation of Bono Kyempem Federation, with Takyiman, Dormaa, Abaase and Drobo as it nucleus members. In March, 1951, seven traditional areas in the North-Western and North-Eastern Asante inaugurated the Bono Political Movement known as the Bono-Kyempem Federation. In February 1956 the Bono Kyempem Council led by Nana Agyeman Badu was invited to the Achimota Conference to discuss the Report of the Constitutional Advisor. As time went on the Bono Kyempem Council was joined by secessionist Ahafo Chiefs spearheaded by the Kukuomhene.

In 1951 the Mate Kole Commission of enquiry into the Brong-Asante dispute was set up and it submitted its report in November 1952. It sympathized with the Bonos and below is a quotation from the report.

“The people (the Brongs) have been regarded and treated with every possible contempt by the Ashantis in the past. There is no gain saying that the so-called historic unity of Ashanti has all along been a unity maintained by a strong suppressing hand at the sacrifice of the freedom and happiness for the non-Ashanti people like the Brong.
I believe that our bid to remove imperialism from our country and to bring freedom and happiness to our people must not be limited only to the foreign forms of imperialism but also to local forms of imperialism. Freedom from fear within is as important to the happiness of men as freedom from fear without. To compel these people to continue to subject themselves to humiliation and exploitation from the Ashantis would be the saddest unkindness we would do to them. This is the reason why we have recommended that they should be given the council which they have asked for”.

A month later the Prime Minister, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, visited Takyiman to re-open the Takyiman Native Courts which had been closed by the Colonial Government following the suspension of Nana Akumfi Ayemaw III.

In September, 1958, the ruling CPP Government passed the constitutional (Repeal of Restrictions) bill. Then on the 20th March, 1959, Mr. A.E.A Ofori Atta who was the Minister of Justice and Local Government introduced into the National Assembly under the certificate of urgency, the Brong Ahafo Regional Bill. The Bill came into effect on Saturday 4th April, 1959 when it appeared in Ghana Gazette No. 29. Thus the efforts of Brong Separatist Movement for independence from the Asanteman were crowned with success.

(i) From the foregoing one can understand that the Brong Ahafo region was not created for Administrative purposes but the Bono’s wanted to free themselves from Ashanti suppression, imperialism, humiliation and exploitation.

(ii) In 1818 Nana Mensah Bonsu confiscated the nine most prosperous villages from Takyiman because of their powerful gods and also to exploit them by way of selling their cocoa and other products (e.g. in October 1949 Ashanti Police was sent to confiscate the proceeds of the cocoa farm of the Tanosohene who had refused to go to Kumasi and with the Techimanhene and it resulted in a heavy battle). The nine villages came back to Techiman after the deportation of Nana Prempeh I and the signing of the treaty between Takyiman and the Queen of Britain in 1897. It was officially restored to Takyiman in 1900 by the Government. It was taking back by the committee of privileges with Asantehene and his chiefs as members of the committee and thus Techiman seceeding from the Ashanti Confederacy to initiate the formation of the Bono Kyempem Federation to fight for a separate region from Ashanti which was successful after the attainment of Independence in 1957 when all forms of slavery and imperialism ended and every Ghanaian became free. Thus the question of the Takyiman villages owing allegiance to the Asantahene should have ended after independence and the creation of the Brong Ahafo Region.

The constitution of this Committee of Privileges which transferred the Takyiman villages to Kumasi was very wrong. The Colonial Government made Asantehene a judge in his own case. Why was this undue privilege which was contrary to the British Justice and fair play not extended to Techiman. If A and B have a dispute over a parcel of land then the Government would constitute a committee comprising A, the wife of A, the daughter of A and the son of A, to handle the case, my brother where on earth would you hear something like this? The villages therefore have not been for the Asantehene from ancient times as they have been saying. How can a King establish his Kingdom in an area in the 13th century and another establishing his about 80 miles away in the 17th century over 400 years after, and would have lands within 10 miles radius in the former’s kingdom. This is highly impossible. Let me quote a section of Nana Prempeh II’s speech at the last sitting of the committee of privileges on the claim by various Asante Chiefs on the villages from Techiman on the 25th November, 1935, when Techimanhene angrily stated that he was going to litigate for his villages.

“Techimanhene, I wish to advise you not to feel dissatisfied. Before Nana Opoku Ware wagged war against Techiman, it was well known that Techiman, was a very big state.
The people with whom you migrated to Jaman including the lands on which they live belong to you and you serve me with them; but the other villages together with their lands, which were taken from you, serve various chiefs to whom they were given. If you have retained the lands and the people who were taken from you, you would have been EQUAL to me, that is why after the war, they were taken from you and you became my Obirempong.”

Nananom, countrymen, the law does not support the claim that title to land has been based upon a right of conquest. In his celebrated book;

Casely Hayford, Gold Coast Native Institutions (1903) page 39.
“In all my several years of practice at the Bar I have not come across a case where title to land has been upon the right of conquest. The usage of war among aborigines would seem to be that, after the conclusion of peace the vanquished still retain their land.”

In the same book appear the following passages at page 53:
The right of the Asantehene over lands in the Kumasi Division was the same as the rights exercised by the Divisional Chiefs, in their own division. But over the lands of the DivisionalChiefs the Asantehene exercises no rights.

Nana Prempeh II at a meeting of the Confederacy Council in 1941 said a propos of a measure to appoint a committee to hear appeals in land cases then under discussion:
“I would repeat that in introducing this measure I do not want to interfere with the right of any chief for any land” (from minutes of the confederacy Council, 1941).

Nananom, countrymen, this same Asantehene, (Prempeh II) together with several chiefs of the various Divisions of the Confederacy Council like Banda, Nkoranza, Jaman, Mo, Abaase, Dormaa, Berekum etc. signed on the 21st March, 1938, a Decision of Declaration of custom which clearly stated in paragraph one (1) that;
i) All land in the Ashanti is the property of the Stools of the various chiefs. Nananom, Countrymen this leads us to the celebrated Kaase case decided by the court of appeal. Kaase is a small town within the Kumasi Division which serves the Kumasi Paramount Stool. Kaase is one of the sub-stools around Kumasi which were conquered and subjugated by King Osei Tutu. The Ashantihene laid claim to the Kaase Stool land but lost. At the Appeal Court (1991) 2 GLR 416, the Court of Appeal held, affirming the judgment of the High Court that possessory title in Kaase Stool is vested in the Kaase Stool as against the Golden Stool.

Nananom, Countrymen, allegiance is not coterminus with ownership of land as can be seen in the book of Allegiance Versus Ownership of Land (Territory).

In The Truth About The West African Land Question, Casely Hayford defines allegiance at page 60 as;
Allegiance then is that personal relationship between the occupants of two stools whereby the inferior acknowledges the authority of the superior over him. Such acknowledgement may take the form of military or other services and occasionally an allegiance fee. Such relationship has nothing to do with the lands of the vassal. It may happen that the superior lord is at the same time the licensor of the vassal in respect of his holding but that will be merely accidental”.

Nananom, countrymen, from the foregoing why should we in the 21st century over 50 years after independence tolerate this confiscation of Techiman villages by the Asantehene with the reason that if Techiman is allowed to retain the villages it would be equal to him as was said by Nana Prempeh II (Minutes Committee of Privileges, 25th November, 1935).

This Tano- Subin issue should be condemned by any peace loving Ghanaian in this 21st century unless people want us to understand that arm robbery should be legalized so that people who envy others property can attack them and take them as theirs.

Let us look at the chronology of events of the recent clashes at Tuobodom one of the nine villages.

(a) The Omanhene of Techiman, Oseadeyo Akumfi Ameyaw IV was attending the Yam Festival of Nana Obeng Ameyaw Barima the properly installed Tuobodomhene and the Akyeampem of the Techiman Traditional Area. The custodian of the Tuobodom Stool and the Tumpuduo Shrine, symbol of authority of any proper Akan Chief (It may interest you to know that all the chiefs of the Nine Villages with the exception of the Buoyemhene are Fetish Priests) who controls the whole of Tuobodom Town with the exception of one family in the town staying at a small suburb called Krotia who owes allegiance to the Asantehene;
(b) The so-called chief of Krotia who styles himself as the Paramount Chief of Tuobodom who had earlier written a letter to the Regional Security that there would be bloodbath when the Techimanhene passes through Krotia to attend the Yam Festival of Nana Obeng Ameyaw as Krotia is his land mounted a barrier at Krotia which is at the entry point of Tuobodom from Techiman in the broad daylight in the presence of heavy security guards. We are therefore not surprised if his boss says Techimanhene cannot pass through Kumasi to Accra.
(c) When the Techimanhene and his convoy got to the barrier and detected that this illegal barrier has been mounted in the presence of security personnel he advised his people to turn and go back to Techiman. In the process of turning the vehicles, bullets started flying from all corners denting cars and injuring people one of whom is now paralysed and cannot talk. The people of Tuobodom who owe allegiance to the Techimanhene wanted to retaliate by crashing this handful of people at Krotia but, the Techiman Traditional Council advised them against any form of violence and reported the case to the police with the names of the suspects as the operation was during the day and the people saw people holding sophisticated weapons and firing. No arrest was made. The Regional Security and the IGP were petitioned and nothing happened. We are therefore not surprised to hear things like the Regional Police Commander and Regional Minister should be sacked. Also Tachimanhene says his party is in power. This implies someone used a party and influential people to stop the arrest of the perpetrators of this heinous crime. They say the lawyer of the Krotia people who was then a Minister of State at the office of the President allegedly wrote to the police that they should not arrest them but he will bring them himself. Nananom, countrymen, what are we seeing in Ghana in this 21st century. Ya Naa was executed and no arrest was made, Mobila was killed and nothing happened. From the foregoing the Techimanhene would have been killed at that time and that would have been the end of it.
(d) We think the powers that influenced that these people should not be arrested are finding it difficult to do same now. The arrest of these people was declared and 4 were arrested at the Fiapre court in February and they were remanded in custody. On the 5th of March, 2010, two were spotted in Wenchi (the so-called Krotiahene and secretary) and were arrested and handed over to the police. Nananom, who would kidnap somebody and give him to the police. If this so-called Paramount Chief who controls about twenty percent of the Tuobodom population (Nananom we should not disgrace the Institution of Chieftancy in Ghana) was tortured in Techimanhene’s palace as alleged he would not have been in that form to tell those lies to the Asantehene.
(e) After the so called Krotia Paramount Chief had been bailed by the lawyer, the lawyer went on radio stations misinforming people that the so called chief has been kidnapped and manhandled at the palace of the Techimanhene knowing the very reason why this man was arrested (assassination attempt on the Techimanhene). In the evening of that day 5/03/2010 the people of Krotia picked up arms and started shooting to kill people in Tuobodom. In the process a nephew of Nana Obeng Ameyaw who was walking in the street on the way to a brother’s house was shot. He was rushed to the hospital and later died in the night. The young men in Tuobodom could not restrain themselves under this circumstance, but had to descend on this Krotia people. As they are a handful of people they run away from the town when they were allegedly attacked.

Nananom, judge for yourselves the justification of the arrest of Techimanhene and those who arrested this man and gave him to the police. This handful of people who have been armed to the teeth and given money to create confusion in the Techiman municipality just to champion the confiscation of Techiman villages by the Asantehene with the ancient belief that if Techimanhene being the King of the first centralized Akan State, when given those villages would be greater than the Asantehene. Lies which were properly rehearsed for presentation to win public sympathy were told and the Asantehene came out with all those things that you heard in the media.

We are not surprised because in the 18th century Nana Kwakye Ameyaw I gave gold in a pot to be sent to Nana Opoku Ware I who was a brother but it turned out that Baafo Pim took the gold and filled the pot with gunpowder which was presented to the Asantehene. Without any verification Asantehene mobilized forces and attacked Techiman. Today Koo Fante a self styled Paramount Chief who controls about twenty percent of the Tuobodom population told another lies and Takyimanhene would be kidnapped when he steps on Ashanti soil.