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Opinions of Thursday, 16 June 2011

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Josiah Aryeh Ought Not Feel Too Sure of His Ga Paternity

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

To say that the recent putsch against the Ga-Mantse, Nii Tackie Tawiah III (a. k. a. Dr. Joe Blankson), by partisans of the ruling National Democratc Congress (NDC), led by Mr. Josiah Aryeh, was embarrassing is to grossly understate the obvious. And the obvious, of course, is the fact that it was both petty and unforgivably uncouth. And as one respectable and urbane Ga chief put it, the laid-down protocol of effectively and legally destooling Nii Tackie Tawiah III, through the institutional verdict of both the Greater-Accra and the National House of Chiefs was flagrantly flouted. And the latter state of affairs does not augur well for the integrity, stability and the respectability of the chieftaincy institution in the Ga traditional state (See “The Enstoolment of a New Ga-Mantse is Disgraceful – Nii Okaidja” 6/13/11).
For me, though, what is both interesting and significant about the rather uncivilized process by which the “Aryeh Gang” went about the entire affair, as widely reported in the media, is the dastardly attempt by the NDC faction of the Ga paramountcy to genealogically alienate Nii Tackie Tawiah III from the stool that he has been occupying for the past four years. On the latter score is the rather ambiguous claim that since his kinship to one of the three traditional stool-houses of claimants of the Ga-Mantse stool is, allegedly, on the distaff – or mother’s – side of his family, perforce, Nii Tackie Tawiah III is, somehow, unreservedly disqualified from occupying the Ga-Mantse stool.
Nothing could be further from the truth of historical reality. And, indeed, as one of his backers pointed out, the specific determination of who occupies the Ga stool, or any traditional Ghanaian royal stool, for that matter, belongs to that lineage whose turn it is to present a candidate for the same. In this particular instance, we are told that Nii Tackie Tawiah is the legitimate and duly selected representative of the Teiko Tsuru Wei or lineage, whose turn it is to occupy the Ga-Mantse’s stool. Evidently (and I stand to be corrected), having apparently run short of “suitable” candidates, and the keyword here of “suitable” is worth highlighting – as not just about anybody with kinship ties to one of the three main Ga royal stool-houses can ascend the same – the Teiko Tsuru Wei chose the patently legitimate alternative of putting forth the candidacy of Nii Tackie Tawiah III (See “Josiah Aryeh Approves of Ga-Mantse ‘Coup’” 6/14/11).
In essence, what the supporters of the new Ga-Mantse, Nii Tackie Adama Latse II, have succeeded in doing is to set the dangerous precedent of effecting the arbitrary and capricious removal of any sitting Ga-Mantse whenever any faction of the three familial claimants to the Ga-Mantse stool (a fourth family has recently been named, by the way) feels aggrieved, regardless of whether such grievance is justifiable or not. And, of course, what the latter course may well engender is a protracted state of civil strife and mayhem that is almost guaranteed to considerably arrest the stability and development of the Ga traditional state. It is precisely because of such contingency that it becomes imperative for both the Greater-Accra House of Chiefs as well as the Ghana National House of Chiefs to promptly come out with an official statement categorically denying any recognition to Nii Tackie Adama Latse II, until any hostilities and/or outstanding disputes are legitimately resolved by the appropriate institutional apparatus.
As for Mr. Josiah Aryeh’s rather presumptuous assertion that “The snail-paced approach…adopted by the Greater-Accra Regional House of Chiefs,” which is statutorily mandated to resolve chieftaincy disputes in the Ga-Dangme state, necessitated the unorthodox and primitive removal of Nii Tackie Tawiah III, the simple riposte is that unless the NDC partisans of Nii Tackie Adama Latse II promptly regain their rational faculties, there is certain to be a heavy price to pay by all the key players involved in this early morning desecration of the peace and quiet of the Ga state, as it were. Anyway, at the time of this writing, a third claimant to the Ga-Mantse stool had just announced his incumbency.
Ultimately, there is an ironic twist to the raging Ga chieftaincy crisis; and it is the fact that the stool-names of both contestants contain the Akan masculine name of “Takyi” or “Techie,” otherwise corrupted or, perhaps, Anglicized as “Tackie.” And the fascinating thing about this is that none of the members of the “Aryeh Gang” seems to be worried about the fact that the Ga, being patrilineal, would so glaringly decide to canonize a matrilineal Akan name as a bona fide, or legitimate, Ga royal identity. Of course, the point being instructively stressed here is that hot-headed people like Mr. Josiah Aryeh – whose surname, by the way, is also indisputably of Akan extraction – are too busy being vacuously partisan – to recognize the stark fact that when all is said and done, the hermetic and fanatical pursuit of nativism could well undermine the cultural and familial authenticity of the trouble-maker himself.
May the real Akwamus of the Ga royal stool-house stand up, please?
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and author of “The Obama Serenades” (, 2011). E-mail: