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Opinions of Thursday, 28 July 2016

Columnist: Africanus Owusu-Ansah

A letter from Necropolis

“Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,

To dig the dust enclosed here.

Blessed be the man that spares these stones

And cursed be he that moves my bones.”


Epitaph on the tomb of Shakespeare in Stratford

Fumesua is only a few kilometers from Kumasi. The local people call the place Fom-asua. The stool there is known as Fobiri Tano Stool, and it belongs to the Agona clan.

About three centuries ago, Akora Nsango left Old Tafo and moved down south, first settling at Appiadu, then was directed to a grassland by Anwomasohene. Thus, Fumesua used to be called Nsensanso (grassland). Akora Nsago obviously became the chief.

Many people, belonging to various clans from far and near, came to settle at Fumesua. My mother’s clan is Bretuo, and our ancestors left Kokofu – Adweso to come and settle there. Some came from Denkyira, Akona and Nsuta and all sought a solace at Fumesua.

According to the records at Manhyia Palace, classified as IAS acc. No. AS85, Nana Ofobiri succeeded Akora Nsango and was supplying the Asantehene with bullets during the war with Tafo; he was surreptitiously supplying same to Tafohene who was his kinsman.

During the reign of the third chief of Fumesua, Nana Asua, King Osei Tutu decided to pay him a visit. The Asantehene had a large retinue of chiefs from Kumasi, and they looted and ransacked the Nsensanso village. This led to the village being called Fom-asua. The King had pillaged the village.

The village is generally quiet and peaceful, inhabited by honest, hard-working and sagacious people. This is the village where I schooled, after leaving Kumasi Bantama LA, and was helped by teachers like Mrs Margaret Essilfie and Cornelius Amekugee to pass Standard Seven about fifty years ago.

Some of us had not forgotten our roots, so in the 80s and 90s we were always going home, especially during Easter Conventions. We formed the Concerned Citizens Association in 1984, and I was the Secretary. Our main aim was to save Fumesua lands for the citizens and for posterity and all of us ensured accountability. The Town Development Committee was made to sit up, accounting to the people every year, during the perennial Easter Conventions. The home comings were always well-patronised.

Later, some of the old ‘Concerned Citizens’ betrayed the cause, and were selling the lands to themselves, their relations and cronies. Surprisingly, I was denied a plot for building despite my veritable contribution. If Kokobra, my father’s hometown, had been as far away as General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong’s father’s hometown, Trabuom, I would or rather might have named Kokobra as my home-town, just as Kutu, from Fumesua, named his father’s home-town as his, even though we are matrilineal.

Minutes after the news broke about a coffin having been placed at the frontage of the Chief’s palace, the mass media were awash with the story: graphic.com.gh, ghanaweb.com,ghanacelebrities.com, newsforafrica.com, modernghana.com. The question on the lips of everyone was: ‘Who must have placed the coffin at the Chief’s palace?’ Na aye huuhuuhu—it seemed terrifying.

After some spiritual rites and incantations, the coffin was opened. Instead of the expectations of skeletons, skulls, talismans, and such ‘huhudious’ items, the coffin contained a bottle of Schnapps, black and red pieces of cloth and a letter. According to Graphic-on-line, “aggrieved residents who have complained about the decision of Nana Amoako Asua to sell a land earmarked for a cemetery to a private developer may have placed the coffin there to threaten the chief.” The coffin was burned in the presence of the police.

I got bombarded with calls from people wanting to know my role in the spooky act, especially since some radio stations had commented that a letter from the ‘Concerned Citizens’ had mentioned my name. Perhaps those who made the calls to me were associating me with the ‘Concerned Citizens’ of old which had suffered a silent fate from which there was no escape, and ceased to be, having faded away. Perhaps unknown to some people, I have harboured the sting of being denied a plot; but for the chiefs and people of Kokobra Ayigya, Adako-Jachie and Ayuom, I would be counted among the land-less people, so what do I have to do with the ‘Concerned Citizens’ and land in Fumesua?

In a 7- point request, the unidentified and nameless ‘Concerned Citizens’ addressed the ‘appeal’ to Nana Esua Amoako ‘respectively’ (respectfully) appealing to him to find a fitting place for the repose of the skeletons of those who have suffered therapeutic misadventures, and of course, that should include my humble mother, Adwoa Bonsu and my psychedelic brother, Osei Hyaman- (Bob).

The letter was copied to the Divisional Commander, GPS, Ejisu-Ashanti; DCE Ejisu Municipal Assembly; Officer Kofi Berchie, Obuasi; Lawyer Africanos; Nana Tafohene, Tafo; Nana Appiaduhene; Nana Kwasohene.

I am a lawyer, and if anybody or any group has need for my services, they can only do so by consulting me man-to-man. I do not indulge in necromancy, nor do I involve myself in phantasmagoric acts. Why should anyone negotiate with me through a letter posted in a coffin?

Necromancy means the conjuring of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events. It is akin to divination, sorcery, witchcraft, spiritism and conjuration. As communication with the dead, it is an abomination to God. Leviticus 19:26 reads: “Ye shall not eat anything with the blood; neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.”

Some people may like to indulge in fetishism or enchantment- that is what they believe in. Some of us have chosen Christianity, and it is our wish that our beliefs be respected. One would not want to be associated with acts that belie our faith. And, of course, my fans who are agitated by the goings-on at Fumesua should rest-assured that my hands are clean, and I will not indulge in acts that would tarnish my image and dent my hard-earned reputation.

To those who are the authors of the anonymous letter, let me advise them to address me properly and not write Lawyer Africanos. There is no one who goes by that name, but I only believe it was me they meant because I happen to be the ‘known’ lawyer from Fumesua who took up the mantle of lawyering after the veteran Totoe of blessed memory breathed his last.

The inscription on the church monument where Shakespeare was buried and his head could not be found reads: Judicio Pylium, genio Socratem, arte Maronem Terra tegit, Populus moeret, Olympus habet. “Stay passenger, why goest thou by so fast? Read, if thou canst,whom envious death hath placed within this monument. Shakespeare, with whom Quick nature doed; deck his tomb Far more than cost Sith all that he had writLeaves living art but page to serve his witt. (Obiit ano doi: 1616 Aetatis 53. Die 23 Ap.) Even this was written by living persons, and properly posted. It did not come from Necropolis, nor Nirvana, Nor Hades.

Writer's e-mail: africanusoa@gmail.com