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Opinions of Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Columnist: Afram, Nana Kwame

Kumawu chieftaincy affairs: the true picture

By

Nana Kwame Afram alias Dr. James Charles London,
(Principal member of the Kumawu/Ankaase Abira Aduana royal family)

The Daily Graphic No. 1979 pages of 24 and 25 of Wednesday March, 18, 2015 carried a story headed Kumawu chieftaincy Affairs , to which I, Nana Kwame Afram alias Dr. James Charles London, a prominent member of the Kumawu Ankaase Abira Aduana Royal family to the Kodua Stool, wish to react to as follows:

Introduction – The destooled chief of Kumawuman Traditional Council (KTC), Ex-Akwamuhene was until his destoolment a Kingmaker. The Position of the ex-Nsumakwaahene cannot ever be a Kingmaker in the Kumawuman traditional Area (KTA). It must be put on record that the Akyempim Stool has been banned by the Overlord of Asanteman, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. For the information of interested members of the reading public, there are nine kingmakers within the Kumawuman Traditional Council, namely 1. Krontihene 2. Ankobeahene 3. Akwamuhene 4. Nifahene 5. Gyasihene 6. Kyidomhene 7. Benkumhene 8. Adontenhene and 9 Akyeamehene.
However, at the time of the nomination, election and enstoolment of Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua, the kingmakers were only four namely 1 Krontihene, 2, Akwamuhene 3. Gyasihene and 4. Nifahene. The remaining five were all vacant stools whose occupants were deceased.
What the ex- Akwamuhene and colleague destooled chiefs indicated in the said publication under reference as majority kingmakers is not only false but also misleading. It must be stated that during the maiden meeting of the four kingmakers (Krontihene, Gyasehene, ex- Akwamuhene and Nifahene) on Monday December 9, 2013 at the late Krontihene's residence , the ex-Akwamuhene, the ex- Nsumankwaahene well as the ex-Akyempimhene were not in bid to sit in the vetting and confirmation of the candidates elect Dr. Sarfo-Asante.
Page 232 of the Law and Constitution of Ashanti by Rattrary pointed to the main responsibility of the Kumawu Aduanahene as follows: The Aduanahene sees to it that the dead body of a chief is bathed by a bathroom room attendant and the kinsmen". In effect, the Aduanahene supervises the bathing of dead chiefs and is more or less the head of mortuary men,
His is the man who calls himself a kingmaker, who has the audacity to challenge the Asantehene on his destoolment amid other falsehoods of the Asante Confederacy.
The ex-Aduanahene claimed that the Queen mother of Kumawu, Nana Serwaa Amponsaa should have consulted him before nominating the Kumawuhene. The Kumawu Traditional at that time under the acting President (the late Krontihene) rejected it on the grounds that it was the then Aduanahene's personal view, not to be found in any Asante custom. Like the Oyokohene of Kumasi, Juaben and Kokofu Traditional areas as well as the Bretuohene of Asante Mampong, it is unknown for the head of a clan to have absolute power to elect and install an Omanhene. The ex-Aduanahene will be the first to admit as a witness before the Asanteman which he so much dislikes that since the reign of Otumfuo Osei Kwadwo, the Odumase branch of the Kodua royal family which the ex-Aduanahene is a principal member, have been banned from occupying the Kodua stool of Kumawu. The notorious fact is that Barima Akwatra Feni the then Kumawuhene and the great ancestor of the ex-Aduanahene , in 1774 exhibited cowardice in the war between Asante and Banda hence the ban on the descendants of Barima Feni's lineage which the prohibition has perpetually endorsed by the Asanteman.
By similar vein, the destoolment of the ex-Aduanahene and the others which was again sanctioned by Asanteman, is a sign of cowardice of the conscience to swear an oath of allegiance to the new traditional institution of Kumawu headed by Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua, to battle the poverty war for proper economic Development in the area.
The ex-Aduanahene and his cohorts are fully aware that that they have no capacity as destooled chiefs to enstool Kwasi Oduro as Kumawuhene. The ex-Aduanahene and his colleagues are all frustrated men and are no better than lions without a den, full of roar and anger.
From the above, do the ex-Aduanahene and his partners still have the effrontery to dispute that Otumfuo, the Asantehene is the overlord of Asante?

ASANTEMAN AND DENKYIRA WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
When Nana Tweneboa Kodua brought Apemso (later Kumawu) into the union of Asante state, he had both the reputation of a war Hero and a vast area of land after defeating Ataala Finam, the then Overlord of the Guans in 1698, the vast area of land covered from the rivers Pru to the Afram and from the Volta to the current Kumawu within the Mampong scarp. The fertility doll (Abamoo) captured from Ataala Finam was given to Taa Akyiampong, the sister of Nana Twneboa Kodua, daughter of Abena Nwowa , granddaughter of Twabea Sana, the second Queen mother of Apemso. It is worth noting that at this time, Opemsuo Osei Tutu I was also a hero and owner of large area of land and settlement in Southern Asante. Although the individual states of Asante were largely left to their devices , they were subjects to the King of Denkyira with their capital at Abankeseso. Before the war, Okomfo Anokye advised Asante states to form a union and used the broom as an example that a bunch of broom sticks is difficult to break than a single broom stick.
The five founding states which came together to form the Amantuonum under the leadership of Opemsuo Osei Tutu I were Kwaman (now Kumasi), Apemso (now Kwamang) Asante Mampong, Essumeja and Juaben with other states joining later and made a Covenant by way of a vow known in Asante custom as drinking abosom with the Golden stool as a symbol of unity and swore the oath of allegiance to Opemsuo Osei Tutu I.
Nana Kwabena Kodua (later Barima Tweneboa Kodua) was not the only chief who gave himself up for sacrifice to win the Denkyira war. It should be clear that before the war, Okomfo Anokye was consulted and he assured the United Asante Sates that , they would be victorious provided three chiefs would give themselves up for sacrifices. It should be noted that Nana Asenso Kofi, chief of Adwumasekese was buried live with his hands appearing at the surface of the earth and two brass pans full of war medicine mixed in water in his two palms for the warriors to bath before they left for war front.
The second volunteer was Nana Dikopim, chief of Edwiso. He was butchered to death and his flesh thrown to the vultures to take to Dekyira land. Wherever any piece of the flesh fell, the men lost their bravely and became cowards.
Boahen Amantuo, Mamponghene led the Asante army as the war General after he had been told that he would not live for more than seven days after the war. Nana Tweneboa Kodua led the advanced guard. The war against Denkyira did not go well and the Coalition Forces were forced back to Feyiase a few miles to the Asante capital. Although in the frontline of the fighting men, Nana Tweneboa Kodua remained unhurt. At this junction, Okomfo Anokye, according to oral tradition, is reported to have requested Nana Tweneboa Kodua to sacrifice his own life so that his blood would seal the victory of Asanteman. This he did but the method is disrupted. This was the brass of the victory the Denkyiras which earned the Asantes the papers of the Elmina Castle in 1701.

ANKAASE-ANANANYA STOOL DISPUTE

Immediately after the demise of Barima Asumadu Sakyi on July 11, 2007, when the elders of Kumawu had been concerned with the preparation for hi burial and even before he was buried on November 1, 2007, the ex-Aduanahene, Nana Kwaku Danti (Anananyahene), Opanin Nti Kwakye (Anananya Abusuapanin deceased, Opanin Kwame Tawiah (Abusuapanin of Odumase deceased) had filed a case against the Queen mother of Kumawu as well as the late Krontihene, Nana Peprah Kodua IV, that the Ankaase lineage have occupied Kodua stool for the past 250 years and it is now their turn to take it . Otumfuo tried to settle the case peacefully out of court but Nti Kwakye supported by the ex-Aduanahene invoked Otumfuo' Ntamkese that the queen mother and her relatives were not descendants of Sani Fontom, the originator of Kodua paramount stool.
On December 12, 2012 at the closing session of Asanteman for the year, Otumfuo made it clear that the two factions namely Ankaase and Anananya should prepare their family trees for the commencement of the determination of the case on January 3, 2013.
On the said date (January 3, 2013) Nti Kwakye repeated the Ntamkese. The Queenmother responded to the Ntamkese that the Ankaase lineage are blood related to the Anananyas and that they all trace their roots to Sani Fontom and in addition the Ankaase lineage are the great descendants of Taa Akyeampong, sister of Tweneboa Kodua whose mother was Abena Nwowa. At the Manhyia palace, the factions were asked to pay GHc100.00 each and two live sheep each for invoking the Ntamkese.
Because the Adanseman chieftaincy issue was before Asanteman and it was in its final stages of determination, the Ankaase-Anananya issue was slated for Monday July 8, 2013. When the case was called on the said adjourned dated, representatives from the Anananya branch informed Asanteman that their Abusuapanin, Nti Kwakye had joined his ancestors which announcement drew general conclusion among the Asanteman Council members present that Otumfuo's Ntamkese had killed Nti Kwakye for invoking the Oath on falsehood. Some Council members even suggested that in the circumstance the case be discontinued in favour of Ohemaa Serwaa Amponsaa. However, Otumfuo directed that all customary rites should be performed regarding the death of Nti Kwakye and the Ntamkese to enable Asanteman to continue the case.
On Thursday July 11, 2013 some Kumawu elders led b y the late acting President (Nana Kodua Peprah IV) and representatives of the Anananya family presented themselves at Manhyia Palace for all the necessary customary rites to be performed.
On Monday July 15, 2013, Opanin Kwabena Darkwa was presented to Asanteman as the new Abusuapanin of Anananya who maintained the position of his late predecessor in respect of the Ntamkese.
On Monday July 29, 2013, the Anananyas led by Opanin Adusei opened their case in support of the ex-Aduanahene with the ex-Akwamuhene as a witness in the presentation of their family tree. However, some of the Odumase branch residing at Sekyedumase who were present expressed dissatisfaction and raised objection that they had been left out in the dispute as a result Otumfuo asked he party to rewrite their family tree and present it to Asanteman on Thursday August 1, 2013 because he wanted a fair hearing and determination of the case.
On Monday August 5, 2013, the Anananyas continued their case but sitting was adjourned the following day August 6, 2013 because most of the members including the Mamponghene were absent. Otumfuo wanted Mamponghene in particular to be part of the hearing and determination.
On Monday August 8, 2013, then Dr. Sarfo-Asante upon an affidavit of the State Attorney, represented Ohemaa Serwaa Amponsaa and the Ankaase family.
The brilliant and excellent presentation of the Ankaase Family tree supported by the Genealogy of chiefs and Queen mothers of Kumawu as in page 235 of Rattray earned him the title of Professor by the Asanteman.
On Monday August 19, 2013, the Kumawu Gyasihene appeared before Asanteman as witness for the Ankaase family. He stated that the Ankaase line is a continuation of the Abira Aduana Apebiakyere line through Taa Akyeampong, sister of Kwabena Kodua (Tweneboa Kodua) to Barima Kwame Afram's mother, Ohemaa Yaa Amponsaa.
He further explained that the former chiefs of Ankaase were buried at the Mpaperem cemetery during the reign of Barima Otuo Acheampong following which customary procedure they now find their final rest in the new mausoleum built by Otuo Acheampong.
During questions and answers time, Dr. Sarfo-Asante sealed his presentation with Oheneba Adwoa Serwaa's letter to the then British Chief Commissioner of Ashanti, through the DC Kumawu dated December 2, 1921 to Asanteman for verification.
It must be pointed out that Oheneba Adwoa Serwaa was the daughter of Prempeh I and Queen mother of Kumawu from the Anananya royal family. She (Oheneba Adwoa Serwaa) had stated that Kwame Afram, Kwasi Krapa, Asabere, Dabo, Akyaamaa Nyame were all descendants of Taa Acheampong but did not state Kwame Afram was not a royal. She rather pointed out that Kwame Afram has once been destooled and should not be enstooled again. She further linked Akwatra Feni's line as barred from the Paramount stool of Kumawu due to cowardice at the Banda War.
The ex-Aduanahene should note by now that nothing was swept under the carpet at Manhyia during the determination of the dispute between Ankaase and Anananya. It should also be pointed out that if the Ankaase lineage were not royals, the queen mother Dwantiwaa of the Anananya would not have nominated and installed Yaw Dabo as Kumawuhene in 1788. In the same vein, Nana Afia Sarpong of the Anananya Aduana branch installed Otuo Acheampong as Kumawuhene in 1950.
The ex-Aduanahene and his group from Anananya rejected Oheneba Adwoa Serwaa's letter as not authentic. Otumfuo who was fair in the whole process, ordered police dispatch riders to escort officials of the Achieves to Manhyia to testify the authenticity of the letter. The officials cleared the air that the copy of Oheneba Adwoa Serwaa's which was presented as an exhibit was an authentic and true copy of the original with the seal. It was a marathon sitting and as it was getting late the case was adjourned to Thursday August 22, 2013 which turned out to be the final sitting day.
On this day (August 22, 2013) 59 chiefs present at Asanteman spoke in favour of Ohemaa Serwaa Amponsaa as a true royal while two spoke in favor of the Anananya family.
Otumfuo upheld the views of the 59 chiefs thus maintaining the status quo which he (Otumfuo) said proverbially that the walking stick should be reverted to its position from where it was taken from.
Otumfuo further asked the Queen mother to go and prepare for the acceptance of customary drinks by potential candidates from the three royal families for the Kodua stool.
From the above the ex-Aduanahene and allies have neither the authority nor the accumulated traditional knowledge to overthrow Captain Rattray's book particularly in Fig 50. Genealogy of Chiefs and Queenmothers of Kumawu (page 235) which has stood unchallenged for the past 90 years.


SELECTION OF CANDIDATES TO KODUA STOOL

The Queen mother Nana Serwaa Amponsaa did not present Dr. Sarfo-Asante immediately to the kingmakers as claimed by the ex-Aduanahene and his buddies. For their enlightenment , the Queen mother observed that principles and guidelines of Asante custom in respect of nomination, election and installation of an Asante Paramount chief , as laid down by a Committee of the Ashanti Confederacy Council on March 16, 1938, The following was the road map followed by Ohemaa Serwaa Amponsaa. On Friday August 23, 2013, she received a delegation of the Anananya family headed by the Abusuapanin Darkwa as part of reconciliation and peace building process suggested by Otumfuo. On Friday November 1, 2013 Ohemaa sent Barima Akyeame Kodua and Osei to inform various heads of royal families of Ankaase, Anananya and Odumase to present their candidates for the vacant Kodua Stool between Tuesday November 5 to Friday November 8, 2013.
The message also had it that the family heads to accompany their candidates at the presentation of the customary drinks to certify that the candidates were really royals from their families.
On Tuesday 26, 2013 the Queen mother again met family heads at her residence and informed them that the acceptance of drinks was over and that nine (9) candidates in all had presented their drinks. She (Queen mother) also told the meeting that two candidate were disqualified because they were found not to be royals. Of the remaining seven (7) candidates, three came from Anananya, three from Ankaase and one from Sekyedumase.
She explained further to the family heads that as custom demanded, the Gyasihene was to take care of the royals and therefore should be consulted for the name of the elected candidate.
On Monday December 9, 2013, the candidate elect in the person of Dr. Sarfo-Asante in the company of the Gyasihene and the Ankaase family was presented to the Kingmakers as custom demanded at the late Krontihene's residence for vetting during which exercise the Ex-Akwamuhene and the Nifahene endorsed the candidature of Dr. Sarfo-Asante.
Then in a sudden turn of event, the Abusuapanin Darkwa of Anananya, Ex-Aduanahene, Osei Kwadwo and Kwasi Krapa (both of Ankaase) invoked Otumfuo's Ntamkese not to accept the candidate before them. As a result, the vetting process came to an end as the late Krontihene announced that because of the Ntamkese , the matter would have to be referred to Manhyia.
On February 24, 2014 Candidate-elect Sarfo-Asante was confirmed by the kingmakers in the persons of the Krontihene, Akwamuhene, Nifahene and Gyasihene before the Asanteman Council. It was the same day the new Adansihene swore oath of allegiance to Otumfuo at the Manhyia Palace.
For the prevalence of peace, Otumfuo released and freed the four others who had invoked he Ntamkese and asked them to go and live in peace and work together with the Queenmother for the sake of Kumawuman.
On Tuesday October 28, 2014, the Kingmakers and Kumawu stool elders had audience with Asantehene during which the ex-Akwamuhene and the late Krontihene affirmed that there was no case at the court and that nothing stops the swearing in of the Kumawuhene-elect after which Otumfuo directed that preparation for the swearing in activities should commence.
On Wednesday October 29, 2014, the kingmakers organized a close door meeting of all the elders of Kumawu including the Queen mother in preparation for the swearing in ceremony the next day.
By 9 am the following day which was Thursday October 30, 2014, all the invited guests and representatives of the Aduana chiefs in Asante including the two linguists from Manhyia had arrived

SWEARING OF OATH
Suddenly the news came that the Krontihene had collapsed. Two linguists from Manhyia rushed to the residence of the Krontihene and found the news to be true. He was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
By noon, swearing in ceremony had commenced with the Nifahene, Gyasehene and most of the Kumawu stool elders presence. Unknown to them of the implications of their failure to swear oath of allegiance to the new chief, the ex-Akwamuhene, conspicuously absented himself from the swearing in ceremony which he had committed himself to its organization a day earlier.
On Monday November 3, 2014, the new Kumawuhene in the name of Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua swore an oath of allegiance to Otumfuo and Asanteman with the Kumawu stool elders doing the same.

APSD AND OTUMFUO

The instant case regarding African Plantation for Sustainable Development (APSD) and Otumfuo as having leased 50 square miles of Kumawu Stool land to foreign investors as narrated by the ex-Aduanahene and his colleagues is very shallow and without proof.
I cannot comment on this without more and better particulars being provided. The trip to Norway a few years back by Otumfuo was undertaken at the Invitation of the Norwegian African Business Association in response to negotiation for business as well as investors for the country.
If the ex-Aduanahene and his destooled colleagues assume that Mr. Erling Loventzen of APSD is connected to Norwegian monarchy by marriage then I personally see this as positive for rhe co-operation of the Norwegian monarchy and the Kumawuman Paramountcy in a good mutual agreement for the development of Kumawu Traditional area in the use of its natural resources. In fact, Kumawuman has the intellectuals who will negotiate well in the interest of the Kumawu State.


RELIEF AND DECLARATIONS

Ex-Aduanahene and his frustrated partners should not that DCOP Kofi Boakye is one of the best and finest police officers in the country at the moment. He is a professional police officer and needs not to be told what to do in situations of insecurity.
The installation of Kwasi Oduro as Kumawuhene by the destooled chiefs has never happened in Asanté and see it as uncustomary and a gross ignorance of the destooled chiefs for which Asanteman would bring them to book at the appropriate time.
I finally submit that the reliefs and declaration sought for by the ex-Aduanahene and his disgruntled colleagues will run counter to the democratic tradition of Asante custom seen in an Asante proverb that "one does not spit and lick the sputum back". Their destoolment was a consensus of Asanteman and the restrictions placed on them cannot be reversed. Period.

SOURCE: ASHANTI WATCH