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Opinions of Thursday, 21 February 2013

Columnist: Haruna, Mahama

Chieftaincy Succession in Bole.

The Chief of Bole (hometown of President John Dramani Mahama), Bolewura Seidu Amankwah Gbeadese II has joined his ancestors two weeks ago. The Bole Traditional Area of Gonjaland is one of the biggest in Northern Region, covering the Bole and Sawla -Tuna -Kalba administrative Districts. Every Chief of Bole (Bolewura) therefore superintend a vast land and many great people including the President of Ghana.

Indeed when the history of Bole and Gonjaland is written, the late Bolewura's name will feature prominently as one of the greatest Chiefs. The Bolewura was a dependable leader, an affable gentleman, soft-spoken but firm, a self-assured man, who loved his people and his town and who served them with all his heart.

His death is a huge loss not only to his family but to the good people of Bole and Gonjaland whom he served diligently and wholeheartedly and to whose good causes he was faithfully devoted. His love for peace and respect for our diversity as a people in his term as one of the longest serving Bolewura's makes all people of Bole feel very proud. Under his tenure Bole has never witness any chaos, conflict or a violent situation due to his dexterity in handling situations that had the potential to ignite any conflict.

The question now is who succeeds the late Bolewura? The demise of one Bolewura leads to the succession of the next in coming Bolewura. The Bole Traditional Area has witnessed a peaceful process of succession for over hundred years making this Traditional Area one of the most peaceful in Gonjaland and Ghana. As Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa, founder of the Gonja Kingdom embarked on the conquest of the current vast Gonjaland, he installed his sons in what has come to be known as divisions. Bole is one of the divisions. These divisions have survived conflicts, European rule and even modern governance. Every Bolewura is therefore a son of the great Ndewura Jakpa.

The Chief of Mankuma (Mankumawura), a village near Bole becomes acting Bolewura if for any reason the Bolewura is unable to physically perform his functions either due to absence from town or illness or death. So for now the Mankumawura is acting Bolewura until the next Bolewura is enskined.

The Makumawura according to Bole Tradition can never ascend the Bole Skin. Succession lines to the Bole skin are clearly defined.Succession is rotatory among the FOUR GATES- Denkeripe, Jagape, Safope and Kotobiri/Juabedipe. All gates would have to select someone to go to Mandari as Chief and he is always next in line to the Bole skin (Bolewura).

The late Bolewura Seidu Amankwah Gbeadese II is from Denkeripe. After him Jagape (whose chief is now at Mandari) will take over at Bole. Safope will then go to Mandari followed by Kotobiri/Juabedipe (the gate President Mahama belongs in Bole) and the rotation continues.

The current Mandari Chief of Mandari, Mandariwura Mahama is one of the most experienced and most enlightened chief in the Bole Traditional Area. He was a Court Magistrate and former Progress Party (PP) MP for Bole in 1969. He is the next in line to become Bolewura.

The Bole Skin started with two ruling gates but these have metamorphosed into four. I believe every Gonja and for that matter people from Bole have an idea exactly which gate takes over from the Safope gate now in line to ascend Mandari and God willing Bole.

On the death of the occupant of the Bole Skin, the Kingmakers led by the Mankumawura shall according to established customary law pertaining to Bole Skin perform the 3rd day and 7th day funerals.

After the 7th Day Funeral rites of a late Bolewura, the Bole Skin is officially handed over to the Yagbonwura, by the Mankumawura at the Yagbonwura’s Palace. The Yagbonwura then hands over the Skin to the rightful person who is usually the Mandariwura. A bunch of cola is presented to the person succeeding the Bolewura. The person will then perform the 12th Day Funeral of the Bolewura he is succeeding. After the funeral, the Mankumawura will then summon a meeting at Bole and present the new Bolewura elect to the Chiefs, Princes, Queenmothers and Princesses of Bole. A date is then fixed for the enskinment of the Bolewura.

Posted on 20th February, 2013.

By Mahama Haruna

The writer is the Secretary of the Gonjaland Youth Association- Bole Traditional Area Branch in Greater Accra.