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General News of Thursday, 21 November 2002

Source: Daily Graphic

Queenmum's body in morgue for 7 years

Kumasi (Ashanti Region) -- The mortal remains of the queenmother of Tafo in Kumasi, Nana Konadu Yiadom, who died seven years ago, will finally be laid to rest on Monday 25 November.

The body of the deceased has been kept in the morgue, since her death in 1995, as a result of a protracted chieftaincy dispute in the area.

The decision to bury the body now followed the resolution of the dispute and the subsequent abdication by Nana Ponko Baffour, whose reign as Tafohene was fiercely challenged by the late queenmother and a section of the elders of the Agona Royal family, who insisted that the chief abdicate in the interest of peace.

According to sources close to the palace, the queenmother and a section of the elders and people refused to recognise Nana Baffour as Tafohene since he swore the oath of allegiance to the late Otumfuo Opoku Ware II on 27 June 1988.

Not even a Supreme Court ruling a favour of Nana Baffour in 1994 could compel the queenmother and the people to change their position, a volatile situation that prevented him from setting foot on Tafo until his abdication last year. On 2 September 1988, when Nana Baffour made an attempt to go to Tafo, there was total chaos and mayhem which claimed two lives.

The sources said the abdication of Nana Ponko Baffour enabled the current chief, Nana Agyem Frimpong II, who earlier in 1995, had been installed by a section of the people as a rival chief, to be nominated and endorsed by the kingmakers as the new chief of Tafo.

According to Asante custom, on the death of a queenmother, it is the chief who supervises her burial and in the case of Tafo, Nana Baffour could not do so since the queenmother did not recognise him as the legitimate chief.

An elaborate funeral befitting her status has been planned for the queenmother who died in April 1995 at the age of 80. The body will be laid in state from 23 November and burial takes place at the Old Tafo Agona Royak Mausoleum later on 25 November.

According to the sources, the Tafo stool was hit by a chieftaincy dispute when Nana Ponko Baffour, known in private life as Dr Anane, a lawyer by profession, succeeded the late Nana Kwadwo Boadu as Tafohene about 16 years ago.

The late queenmother and other members of the Agona Royal family refused to recognise Nana Ponko Baffour as the legitimate chief and fiercely challenged his nomination, election and installation.

The sources said the queenmother and her group instituted an action at the Kumasi Traditional Council, praying for an order to set aside the enstoolment of Nana Ponko Baffour.

Determined to prove her case at all cost, the queenmother went ahead to the Judicial Committee of the National House of Chiefs, the High Court, and to the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court in 1994, but judgement was given in favour of Nana Ponko Baffour.