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General News of Thursday, 3 November 2011

Source: Henking A. Adjase Kodjo, Odumase-Krobo

Police besiege palace of Konor of Manya Krobo traditiona area

There was near bloodshed at the Palace of the Paramount Chief (Konor) of the Manya Krobo Traditional Area on Monday night when a team of armed Policemen numbering about 40 besieged the palace to arrest the Piengua Divisional Chief, Nene Tetteh Zogli III who is alleged to have stabbed his sub-chief (Asafoatse) Dautey Anyrah IV at the durbar ground to climax the annual Ngmayem festival at Odumase-Krobo last Friday.

The Police almost clashed with residents, mainly armed youth, who responded to the Konor’s war drum (Pli do) which was spontaneously sounded at the palace during the time of the arrest to rally residents to protect the besieged palace around 7:30pm.

In a split second after sounding the war drum, angry youth armed mainly with clubs trooped to the palace ground and pitched camp at vantage positions, drumming Nadu- the military/war drum of the Krobos- and singing war songs while others blocked the roads leading to the palace and set bonfires to obstruct traffic and prevent the police from escaping with the accused chief. Lights, in and around the palace, were also put off by the palace security to impair visibility.

The Police then withdrew around 8:30pm upon sensing danger and the possible repercussions of the clash but more people kept pouring in to show solidarity with the occupants of the palace.

Calm has however returned but well-placed sources indicated that the police are pursuing a court warrant and bracing up for a show down. At the time of filing this report, pockets of youth gathered around the palace discussing the incident and in a defensive posture to counter a comeback of the police.

The alleged stabbing incident which nearly marred the beauty of the celebration is rooted in a chieftaincy dispute between Asafoatse Dautey Anyrah IV, a 54-year-old sub-divisional chief and recently installed Nene Tetteh Zogli III.

Briefing this reporter Asafoatse Anyrah, a civil-engineer by profession who has been occupying the Piengua Adjikpo Takper seat since October 1984 said “ The Piengua divisional seat became vacant following the resignation of the immediate past divisional chief, Nene Angmortey Zogli II about 9 years ago.

As a result, a self-styled one-man king maker, one Dzase Asafoatse Adua installed Nene Tetteh Zogli about 3 years ago without recourse to the due process. Realizing the error, the same Asafoatse Adua installed a different person under the stool name Nene Tetteh Akora I.

Asafoatse Anyrah said, he together with Teye Momoh, Jumor Edding and Tetteh Osieku, all Asafoateme of the Piengua division challenged the legitimacy of Nene Zogli III and obtained a verdict against him in a case which was determined by the Judicial Committee of the Manya Krobo Traditional Council. An injunction was subsequently placed on him to stop him from parading himself as the divisional chief.

He said Nene Zogli defied the ruling and the injunction and went ahead to order them in a letter dated August 15, 2011, with the support of the Konor to either swear an oath of allegiance to him, or in default he (Nene Zogli) would get them destooled.”

Asafoatse Dautey indicated that on the day of the durbar he rode in his palanquin and assumed his seat together with the three other Asafoatseme under the tent allotted to the people of the Piengua division until the arrival of Nene Zogli who drew out a dagger and later a pistol upon spotting them while still in his palanquin, ordering them to vacate their seats.

He said Nene Zogli together with his tugs rushed on them, pushed him to the ground and stabbing him on the forehead. He was also stripped of his ornaments, headgear and other regalia and subjected to severe thumping until he was rescued and rushed to the Agormanya St. Martins’s Hospital. He has since been treated and discharged. His side of the story was also corroborated by Asafoatse Teye Momoh, an eyewitness.

In an interview with Nene Zogli, he discounted the claim saying “Even though I ordered them out, I did so with my staff (walking stick) and not a dagger and pistol as is being peddled. He said, Asafoatse Anyrah’s injuries might have been sustained during the encounter with the youth who accompanied me to the durbar ground”. Asked about the justification of his action he said “I ordered them out partly because they are rebelling against me and refused to accompany me to the durbar as is the custom. They also flouted the order by the Konor not to come to the durbar without swearing the oath to my stool”.

Otsiame Boatey, a state linguist who spoke on behalf of the Konor, Nene Sakite II, described the attack on the paramouncy as most unfortunate. He disclosed that the leadership of the police were earlier at the palace to arrest the said chief but were restrained by the Konor to defer the arrest since it was too late. He said the Konor spoke with the Eastern Regional Commander pleaded with him to allow Nene Zogli to report himself the next day. He wondered why the subsequent attack which would have turned bloody but for the early retreat of the police. He added that the Konor has since set a committee to look into the case.