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Opinions of Sunday, 9 August 2009

Columnist: Akrase, Nana

Putting Right, Historical Distortions And Scurrilous Talk.

Juaben(Dwaben) Speaks

"King of Juaben, Nana Asafo Agyei built up a dominant political position in the crucial northeastern commercial zone which benefitted his Kingdom. His traders competed successfully with those of Kumase and Mampon because Dwaben was a principal supplier of kola(hey, this brings Muramura in Asante Akyem to mind) to Salaga, the international market. The wealth and economic gain from the kola trade was immense.

It was the view of visitors in the 1870s that with the Kola nuts exchanged at Salaga, the Asante were able to procure "more gold and riches in general than their gold mines could ever have given them".

European visitors to Dwaben in 1869 found Asafo Agyei's capital "better built and more imposing" than Kumase; its clean, wide streets and "noble avenue of trees," decorated and whitewashed 2-storey houses, all reflected the affluence of the Kingdom. WWW.AKRASE.BLOGSPOT.COM

King Asafo Agyei, "a large and stout man" impressed the visitors with his dignity of bearing and golden regalia. Much of his wealth and majesty was in evidence, even after the lost war, when he and his daughter, Dwabenhemaa Akosua Afrakumaa II, arrived in Cape Coast on 1st February 1876 to meet Governor Strahan. Asafo Agyei appeared "in great state" surrounded by surbordinate chiefs under gorgeous state umbrellas and retainers bearing silver-mounted pipes, gold canes, elaborately-carved stools, and large state swords "covered with a thick wash of gold dust".

According to Captain A.B. Ellis who saw the visitors, the Dwabenhemaa, Afrakumaa II, made the greatest impression on the spectators. The wealth of young, handsome queenmother was worthy of note:

(She was attired in a rich silk "country cloth" (kente) of great value, and her arms, from the wrist to the elbow, were covered with strings of gold ornaments and aggrey beads; gold anklets appeared on each leg, and her well-shaped neck was almost hidden by the mass of gold necklets which encircled it. 12 or 14 young girls, likewise bedecked with gold ornaments, attended her, bearing horse-tails with which to whisk away the impertinent flies.)

After his independent submission to Captain Glover on 10th February, 1874, Asafo Agyei never set foot in Kumase.(Not only Dwaben, the Mamponhene likewise refused, for a no one makes obeisance to a coward. Other principals also did see, formerly, unlike now, the Rulers of the other Asante states were not zombies)( Here, its worth pointing out, and correcting a fabrication: Glover's forces had many troops from Akim Abuakwa. There exists an accord b/n Dwaben and Abuakwa, not to fight the other...hence, Asafo Agyei was prevented by the resolute refusal of the Dwabenhemaa to perpetuate the fight, when it was discovered that Glover had Akyems in his force. Also, by the time Asafo Agyei gave up the fight, ordering his troops to withdraw to Dwaben, the Asantehene Karikari had already thrown in the towel. So then, what was the point in continuing the fight, when the Commander in Chief, has so shamefully thrown in the towel? Yet, they'll twist it around and blame Dwaben for Sagrenti's sacking of Kumasi....Nkwaseasem Ara Kwa!!....Nana Akrase)

(It need not be said that following his refusal to go to Kumasi, the prior cordial relations b/n him and Karikari and others and hence, Dwaben and Kumasi went downhill...N.A)

His strategy for extricating his Kingdom was well calculated. He seized the northeastern trade routes and cut off Kumase, Mampon and other traders to Salaga. This move assured for the Dwabenhene the support of his local akonkofo( Big Merchants). Asafo also exploited the religio-political complex that centred on the Dente oracle at Krakye and controlled the northeastern Bono.

Asantehene Kofi Karikari approached the Dwaben crisis with great caution partly because of the power of the Dwabenhene and partly because of his own humiliation and weakness after the war. In contrast to his bold threats to Adansehene Obeng, Karikari tried to win Asafo Agyei back with pleas and conciliatory gifts including a large sum of money at one point.

In June 1874 the Asantehene was reported to have offered the Dwabenhene "WHO WAS ONLY SECOND TO HIMSELF IN ASHANTI,....A HIGHER DIGNITY IF HE WILL RETURN".(Haven't I said, elsewhere, that I didn't find acceptable, the notion that the Mamponhene was the 2nd to the Asantehene in Asante?...This's yet, another proof...refer to my other posts on Say It Loud, entitled, "Truth Always Pops Up, No matter How Long Suppressed."...Nana Akrase)

When all the appeals and offers failed, Karikari accepted a British settlement arranged by Captain C.C. Lees, an emissary of Gov. Strahan. On 7 August 1874 in Dwaben and on 13 August in Kumase, Asafo Agyei and Kofi Karikari swore to Lees' articles of agreement granting complete independence to Dwaben.

The Kumasi Nsafohene voiced the strongest protests against the Asantehene's easy surrender of authority.( This is yet another example of how, these scums, descendants of war captives and outright slaves, always urge on, their Lord, to contemptuous action. In 1832, these scums, principally, brought about or precipitated the that encounter b/n the brother states of Kumase and Dwaben, who are forbidden by the Foundational Laws of Asante, crafted by Anokye, from bearing arms against one another....Nana Akrase)

Culled in part from Agnes A's write-up and own sources too.

Nana Akrase(Writer)