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Opinions of Friday, 25 April 2008

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Can the Asantehene be Fair and Firm on the Kumawu Chieftaincy Dispute?

"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride". If I were a bachelor, I would write prolifically on issues in the way I see fit, be they national or local. But my hands are tied due to family pressures. I can only go that far without jeopardising my marriage, infuriating my children and brothers and sisters who require that I steer clear of certain discussions to avoid destructive criticisms from some unscrupulous persons. This briefly explains why I at times stay away from the Internet without contributing towards discussions on national or local issues. I am now going to waive or defy this family formality or obligation on me, get prepared to bear the consequences and then get up and be counted as an honest concerned Ghanaian citizen. Come, what may!

Kumawuman, especially Kumawu itself, has been on the rot for the past 34 years. It has since the reign of the most despicable late paramount chief not seen an iota of move towards the realization of essential developments for the area. The Kumawu township, the seat of the Kumawu traditional area, lacks in everything from public toilets, provision of jobs through to the provision of chemically-treated pipe borne water. One will then ask, "Where do people attend to nature's call?" Some do still use the one or two dilapidated public toilets while most of the men use the nearby bushes. What a disgrace? Could this not explain why the Kumawu and its environs are subjected to rampant visitations of cholera and typhoid plagues, causing untimely deaths among the inhabitants? Are you Kumawuman people the world over happy with this unsightly situation? If you do, then where is your pride in calling yourselves the great grandsons and great granddaughters of the brave chief, Barimah Tweneboa Kodua I? He was selfless to the point of laying his life down as a sacrifice for the Asanteman. What are you and I doing in the moment of great need in the lives of the citizens of Kumawuman, where one or a few people have taken the place for a rough ride, misappropriating all its resources to the detriment of many?

Kumawu especially, has for no apparent reason been subjected to very intimidating erosion, causing most of the houses to be hanging yards up their original foundations in what can be comparable with the "Hanging Gardens of Babylon". Did you people not have a qualified Town planner for a chief? What did he do to arrest this horrible situation for all these years? Sadly enough, he did practically nothing. Anyone can take a walk around the town using the alleys to confirm my observations. This situation wasn't about 30 to 40 years ago. Why now? It could be down to so many factors; increase in population, intensive farming activities in wrong areas, overgrazing of the land by animals resulting in the removal of the soil's protective cover, felling of trees unnecessarily around the township etc.

The problems of Kumawuman as recently ascertained are numerous. There is therefore the need to ensure both the traditional leaders and our public officers selflessly serve the people by living up to the expectation of their offices. This is also why the dismal attitude of the queen which is all anti-development is unfortunate. The area is bleeding to death yet, we have not only incompetent persons but very disgusting egoists at its helm of affairs. The present queen is very classical, typifying all the evils of a voraciously selfish leader. She only thinks about "me, me and me". She has a philosophy of, "All for me, but nothing for others". How can such a person, who with her brother, has presided over the deterioration of Kummawuman, especially Kumawu over years, continue to be accorded the traditional rights to continue with the exploitation of the people and their resources? She should not under the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, be allowed to choose or enthrone anyone of her choice as the next paramount chief of Kumawu. There is absolutely nothing good in her as a leader. She can never change for the better. She is too entrenched in her evil ways and hate for Kumawuman to turn over a new leaf.

The Asantehene has as his duty among many others, to resolve chieftaincy disputes arising in his fiefdom in a mature and amicable way. But concluding from his recent nonchalant attitude to querying the invocation of the Asantehene's "Great Oath" on two occasions by one of the disputing parties, many a Kumawuman citizen question his credibility. How fair and firm will he be in resolving the Kumawuman chieftaincy dispute arising from the queen, treating and classifying the actual royals as slaves or ordinary people without any right of claim on the Kumawu paramount chief's seat? The queen in her little clever mind, decided to install her son resident in Canada, as the next Kumawu paramount chief to enable her perpetuate with her avowed intention to deplete the coffers of Kumawuman for her personal use. She had by then said in Canada in the presence of some Kumawuman citizens who had called on her to express their condolences on the death of her brother, Barima Asumadu Sakyi II, that, "all Kumawu people are uncivilized and that they have no need for pipe borne water". Can she deny that she had said this? Was she not responsible for the safekeeping of the "Taa Akyeampong Abamo" that mysteriously disappeared under her very nose? This war booty or antique has significance in the role of Kumawu queen. Would it have gone missing as supposed, if she had followed laid down procedures?

The Asantehene knows very well that by thoroughly investigating the causes for invoking his "Great Oath", the queen, who is also his two-timer, will get the axe. Any such scrutiny would lead to the recount of the Kumawu Chieftaincy history in which I am well versed and to the eventual elimination of the entire "Ankaase" royal family from ever calling themselves royals or ascending the throne. Whoever doubts my claim can throw a challenge. Why is the Asantehene doing the obnoxious queen a favour by avoiding the public discussion of the circumstances surrounding the said invocation of his oath? The Asantehene and the queen can fool some people for sometime, but cannot fool all the people all the time. Either he delves into the case, or he advises that the chief's seat goes to the proper royals, who are the "Ananangyas and the Odumases". Any play of double standard in this case will result in unsightly scenes.

Kumawman citizens are calling for justice, and it is for now or never. The queen goes about promising tens of thousands of Ghana New Cedis to some paramount chiefs in the Ashanti region in the hope of persuading them to influence the Asantehene to decide in her favour. The queen should please take my word for the absolute or the gospel truth, the Asantehene has his hands tied. There is nothing whatsoever that he can do to assist her in imposing a person of her choice on Kumawuman. The people will prove to the queen that Kumawuman people are no longer the fools she knew of. They have grown wiser and are ready to counteract her devious wishfulness. Where does she think to get the money promised out from, one may want to know? It is from the Kumawuman money sitting in some accounts purposely ordered by the Courts when Barima Asumadu Sakyi II right from the very beginning of his ascendancy to the throne, and in collusion with his then sub-chiefs, embezzled some 1.5 Million Cedis which was at the exchange rate of one Cedi to the dollar in those days. He reigned for 34 years, if one cares to find out certain facts for themselves.

The deplorable state of Kumawu, lacking in cleanliness, but as "Cleanliness is godliness"; require that dynamic people with dedication are elected to be in charge of its affairs. The "People's" chief from the Ananagya royal home is the people's ray of hope. Any ploy to thwart the people's wish for stupid or selfish reasons will culminate in trouble not only for the people, the queen but also, for the Asantehene. Those who mind know the Asante history and the limits of the Asantehene as far as the loosely-knitted Asante confederacy or the Union of Asante states goes. This is just a reminder to alert the Asantehene and those paramount chiefs the Kumawu queen is prostrating to in a bid to influence them that should corruption be allowed to crop into the decision taking, the worse will happen. "A word to the wise is sufficient". The Kumawuhemaa is a total disgrace to Kumawuman. All her intentions about the area are evil and exploitative. Now that I have decided to get on board, come to the defence of Kumawuman with vim and zeal, every hindrance will be dealt with decisively.

Now that I have broken my silence, all those working against the interest of Kumawuman should be ready for the shock of their life and a battle on them. No more nonsense! Now, as to the Asantehene being able to be fair and firm, I will say, he had better be.

Rockson Adofo, London

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