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Opinions of Friday, 10 April 2015

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Is Kumawu Aduanahene Really the Head of Mortuary men?

It is interesting learning from a warped-minded source that the Head of the Kumawu Aduana clan (Kumawu Aduanahene) is indeed, Head of the mortuary men as per Kumawu tradition. I learnt this from a publication put out on Ghanaweb on Tuesday, 7 April 2015 under their Feature Articles titled, "Kumawu chieftaincy affairs: the true picture". I shall in the coming days rebut the entire publication, but in the meantime, let me hold the writer accountable for his teasingly and erroneously expressed view without allowing him to bluff his way out of it.

I normally do not suffer fools kindly, but I have promised to be more academic by not allowing my emotions to control the best side of me or else, I would have taken the writer to the cleaners straightaway.

I always try to come down to earth, make my views understood by the reading public as much as I can hence always defining certain principal words that serve as pivots on which the write-up revolves. Therefore, let us define the word mortuary. Mortuary is "a building, or a room in a hospital, etc. where dead bodies are kept before they are sent to be buried or burned, sometimes so that they can be examined".

Who then is a mortuary attendant, worker, or man (as called in Ghana), one may ask? A mortuary attendant among his other duties "is responsible for releasing the body to an authorized party according to facility procedures. They should have sound minds, strong stomachs, and the desire to maintain a patient's dignity, even in death. Mortuary Affairs is responsible for retrieval, identification, transportation, and burial of dead bodies".

Does anyone in the individual Akan families who oversees the preparation of a dead body for burial instantaneously get tagged as a "mortuary man?" In the Akan traditional system, we have "mma mma" (children of the dead person and those of his or her siblings – in that order into their extended family) who bath and prepare the body for burial. Are they treated as temporary or permanent mortuary men and women and do we make fun of them by mocking their service? This is exactly the impression of the writer of the said publication.

The fact that the family Head must ensure everything is done properly to maintain the dead (person) body's dignity does not necessarily make him a mortuary man or Head of the mortuary men as it is derisively asserted by the writer.

On page 232 of The Law and Constitution of Ashanti by R.S. Rattray, he states, "The body of a Chief was bathed by the bathroom attendants, the Aduana Hene and the abusua (kinsmen)". Where did Rattray state that the main oversight of Kumawu Aduanahene is mortuary affairs, as deceitfully the objective of the writer of the publication under discussion? Are the "abusua" also mortuary men and women?

Are those who bathed the writer's own mother (name withheld) and younger brother (also name withheld) when they passed, and ensured that their bodies were treated with dignity before their burial, established mortuary men and women, as it is the tainted perception by the writer? Is his family Head who ensured his mother and sibling's bodies were accorded befitting last respects right from bathing through to final funeral celebrations a Head mortuary man?

It must be noted by the reading public who can spare themselves a moment to watch a video placed on YouTube titled, "Asantehene involves in corruption" that Kumawu Aduanahene has rather a principal responsibility other than the alluded mortuary man affairs. He has to be informed well in advance of whoever has been nominated to succeed a demised Kumawuhene. He then presents the person to the queen (Kumawuhemaa) who then gives the person to Gyasehene to take to the kingmakers to be vetted, and be accepted or rejected.

Asantehene and his corrupt Asanteman Council tried to resist Aduanahene's claims even though he had promised to present to them an official documentary proof to buttress his contention if they persisted in their ignorance about Kumawu traditions, customs and usage. In the end, they accepted his version. This is seen in the video.

Even though I do not recognise Asantehene as having the mandate to arbitrarily impose anyone on Kumawu as their Omanhene; however for record purposes, let us acknowledge that Asantehene and Asanteman accepted Aduanahene's role in enstoolment of Kumawuhene. The evidence is captured on video, shamefully as the attitudes of all the chiefs around were. He took Dr Yaw Sarfo, presented him to Kumawuhemaa who in turn gave him to Gyasehene to be taken to the Kumawu kingmakers.

Finally, on the death of Nana Sarfo Agyekum Nyanor Panin I, Kumawu Aduanahene, about twenty years ago, the following happened. When he died, his immediate Aduana family in consultation with his children fixed a date for his funeral. Nearing the time, Opanin Kwame Opoku, from Kumawu Woraso also died. He was the National "Akuafo3hene" (Chief Farmer) in Dr Kwame Nkrumah's CPP government until the overthrown of the government on 24 February 1966.

Then President J. J. Rawlings delegated Barimah Asumadu Sakyi II, Kumawuhene, to represent him at the funeral of Opanin Kwame Opoku. As Nana Aduanahene's funeral would have clashed with that of Opanin Kwame Opoku, making it highly difficult for Barimah Asumadu Sakyi II to attend both according as required by tradition and officialdom, he begged for the funeral of Nana Aduanahene to be rescheduled. He agreed with his children on him, Kumawuhene, footing the extra mortuary expenses from the cut off period starting from when they had programmed to perform his funeral until the end of the extended date as fixed on his request.

He had said he wanted to be physically present in the room to supervise when his uncle's body, so he always addressed him, was being prepared to be laid in state and for burial.

Came the day, he nominated a representative to stand in for him. He feared going to Etia, a suburb of Kumawu where Nana Aduanahene's body was prepared for burial. This is because of Etia being the core enclave of the "Ya te asem" movement that had vigorously been fighting for his destoolment over the then 1.5 million Cedis he embezzled in 1975. In those days, one Cedi was equivalent to then USA$1.00.

Would the frivolous writer have called Barimah Asumadu Sakyi II the Head of mortuary men, if he had gone to supervise the preparation of Aduanahene for burial as pledged?

I refer the reading public to watch the popular Kumawuhene, Barimah Tweneboah Koduah V and his purported destooled Kumawu sub-chiefs sitting in State to be paid homage by Kumawuman citizens on his first Akwasidae celebration. This same writer of dubious character, hoping to receive a V8 brand new car as a thank you gift from Dr Yaw Sarfo, has always being arranging the police to molest them.

On YouTube, please simply type in "Real Kumawuhene" and it will take you to the three videos posted concerning him (Barima Tweneboa Kodua V) so far.

Rockson Adofo