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Opinions of Sunday, 7 December 2014

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

RE: Asantehene is the Overlord of Asanteman

For statement of fact, and for the records of anyone interested in history, the Kumawu Ankaase "royal" family in which Kumawuhemaa and Dr Yaw Sarfo belong is without any patrilineal or matrilineal lineage to Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I, the originator of the Kumawu Koduah Stool. However, Asantehene Osei Tutu II has purposively, but collusively erroneously in what is notoriously a "create, loot and share" ploy, rather made them the true matrilineal descendants from Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I. Established facts and history cannot be altered no matter how far one tries to. His motive has been alleged in most of my publications, and time, being the best judge, stands to vindicate me.

This publication is intended to rebut through correction, a threateningly audacious, but fallacious statements of convenience, connivance and diversionary issued by some Kumawu Ankaase royal. He caused the publication of his expressed views in the (Ghana) Chronicles and the Daily Guide newspapers. Nevertheless, I read them on the internet on Ghanaweb and Modernghana under the title," Asantehene is the Overlord of Asanteman".

Who is an Overlord? By Oxford dictionary: Overlord is "A person of great power or authority". From Cambridge Dictionaries Overlord is "a person in a position of power, especially in the past".
The verb overlord means "to rule or govern arbitrarily or tyrannically; domineer". Asantehene's overlordship was immensely curtailed during, and since, the repatriation of Nana Agyemang Prempeh I from his captivity in Seychelles.

He was sent back as a private person without even the right to become Kumasihene. But for the British indirect rule of the Ashantis to be more successful, coupled with the petition by the Kumasi chiefs to the colonial government in March 1926, Nana Agyemang Prempeh was appointed Kumasihene in October 1926. Without the colonial government acceding, he could never have been reinstated with even his delimited powers. Even though a Kumasihene will customarily also de facto be Asantehene, they have no exercise of overlordship on the other stools since the restoration of the Ashanti Confederacy in 1935.

When the Ashanti Confederacy was broken by the British in 1896, upon the capture and deportation of Asantehene Nana Agyemang Prempeh I, the British instituted the policy of balkanization. They broke the links between the six important nuclear states of the Asante Confederacy – Kumasi, Bekwai, Juaben, Mampong, Kokofu and Nsuta. (Balkanize means to divide (a country, territory, etc.) into small, quarrelsome, ineffectual states". Each was viewed as a separate state headed by its Omanhene.

During the restoration of the Asante Confederacy in 1935, the balkanization was somehow maintained as confirmed by a document of Draft by the Ashanti Confederacy Council signed on 21st day of March 1938.

The document states inter alia, "Arising out to the Council discussion on Item 7 of the Agenda the following declaration of custom is submitted to the Council for discussion and for signature if approved. 1) All land in Ashanti is the property of the stools of the various chiefs."

Nowhere in this document or elsewhere, was it, or has it been, stated, that Asantehene exercises overlordship on the various chiefs, their lands or subjects.

This said document was signed by Asantehene, Asantehemaa, Mamponghene, Juabenhene, Nsutahene, Bekwaihene, Kokofuhene, Adansihene, Kumawuhene, Essumenjahene, Offinsohene, Ejisuhene, Agonahene, Bandahene, Wenchihene, Nkoranzahene, Jamanhene, Mohene, Abeasehene, Berekumhene, Denyasehene, Asokorehene, Kumawuhene, Oyokohene of Kumasi, Kyidomhene of Kumasi, Gyasehene of Kumasi, Ankobiahene of Kumasi, Adontenhene of Kumasi, Benkum Clan of Kumasi, representative of Akwamuhene of Kumasi and Korentihene of Kumasi.

Asantehene has never had any customary right to destool any Kumawuhene and his sub-chiefs. To order their destoolment that has been executed by Dr Yaw Sarfo constitutes arbitrary exercise of his Ceremonial powers as Asantehene. It is as much illegal as it is irresponsible his issued, and carried out, instructions, to Dr Yaw Sarfo to destool those sub-chiefs. He is hiding behind his political affiliation with the ruling NDC government and his personal friendship with President Mahama to exercise such capricious or arbitrary powers. To him, I say, time changes!

The current Asanteman Council is a Union of loose states like that of the European Economic Area. Any state can pull out at any time when the majority of their inhabitants or citizens decide to. If that was not the case, why have Berekum, Dormaa Ahenkro, Techiman and most recently, Atebubu, pulled out?

In the 21st Century, no-one can go to war to force anyone to remain in the Asanteman Council. It is only by the various chiefs respecting each other, being honest, truthful, and Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II eschewing his fondness of lies, insatiable greed, that the longer cohesion of the Asanteman can be guaranteed.



The self-confused role played by Kumawuhemaa; her public confession of engagement in corrupt and extortionist practices leading to the presentation of Dr Yaw Sarfo to the Kumawu kingmakers as her chosen candidate, to be vetted for ascension to the Kumawu Kodua Stool, coupled with Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Asanteman Council's confirmation and acceptance of Dr Sarfo's selection is the apogee of corruption and criminality.

At the time Kumawuhemaa and Dr Sarfo performed the rites of payment of traditional drinks to the kingmakers as evidenced in the video tape, Dr Sarfo was not a chief-elect, but a mere nominated candidate awaiting vetting. Someone has put the video on YouTube under the heading, "Asantehene involves in corruption"

The chief-elect makes a donation (aseda: token of thanks) to the elders when he is offered the stool. Then there is "abradie", the customary sums or drinks a new chief distributes to his principal elders and other chiefs of his clan or wing to "inform them that he has come to sit in the place of his ancestors" – refer to pages 212 and 213 of Dr K. A. Busia's book titled THE POSITION OF CHIEF IN THE MODERN POLITICAL SYSTEM OF ASHANTI".

Additionally, referring to page 233 of a book titled ASHANTI LAW AND CONSTITUTION written by J. S. Rattray and published in Oxford in 1929, it states under the chapter KUMAWU: Selection of the new Chief: The successor would generally be the heir apparent. He would take his oath before the Elders fifteen days after the death, possibly on a Monday following a "Kwesi Adae". The "Aseda" was paid on a Tuesday, and on the Thursday following they would take their oath of allegiance before him"

J. S. Rattray was an anthropologist appointed by the colonial administration (Governor Guggisberg) to find out about "the history of the Sika Agua Kofi (the Golden Stool) and anything in connection with the subject..."

From these two official sources, as well as genuine empirical observations of Asante's traditions and customs, one can conclude without fear that the installation of Dr Yaw Sarfo as Kumawuhene is as illegal as it is shrouded in illegalities and abuses of power. This is because the related traditional rites of payment of drinks as we may choose to call it are performed AFTER, but not BEFORE, one becomes a chief-elect.

Therefore, the claim by Kumawuhemaa in public to have performed those rites as captured on video tape before the vetting and selection of Dr Yaw Sarfo as Kumawuhene-elect constitutes bribery. She said to have given Kontrihene 150 million Cedis, Akwamuhene 100 million Cedis, Nifahene 100 Million Cedis and Gyasehene 50 million Cedis. Further to that, her assertion to have paid 70 Million out of 500 Million Cedis claimed by the four kingmakers (Kontrihene, Akwamuhene, Nifahene and Gyasehene) constitutes her complicit involvement in an act of extortion.

Find below the existing applicable laws, both traditional and conventional, that are in place with regard to acts of corruption and bribery in relation to the selection of a new chief. They go to negate not only the selection of, but the installation of, Dr Yaw Sarfo, as Kumawuhene. Subsequently, I personally do NOT recognise him as Kumawuhene no matter his views and that of his few supporters including the collusive Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Asanteman Council.

In the video, look at how Asantehene prejudicially exercises the discretionary powers conferred upon him by traditional and statutory laws. His actions are in total breach of Article 296 of the 1992 Republican Constitution. Further to that, his actions and those of Kumawuhemaa and Dr Yaw Sarfo, the supposed Kumawuhene, are in contravention of Warrington Notes on Stool Disputes (Article 13), Ghana Criminal Code ACT 1960 (Act29) – Sections 239 to 247and traditional laws accepted by Asante Confederacy which became applicable laws since 1938.These are comprehensively explained in Dr K. A. Busia's book titled, "THE POSITION OF CHIEF IN THE MODERN POLITICAL SYSTEM OF ASHANTI".

Article 296 of the Constitution states: Where in this Constitution or in any other law discretionary power is vested in any person or authority – a) That discretionary power shall be deemed to imply a duty to be fair and candid; b) The exercise of the discretionary power shall not be arbitrary, capricious or biased whether by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike and shall be in accordance with due process of law; and c) Where the person or authority is not a judge or other judicial officer, there shall be published by constitutional instrument or statutory instrument, regulations that are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution or that other law to govern the exercise of the discretionary power.

Here we go. Before the restoration of the Ashanti Confederacy in 1935 and up until 1949, laws were made and approved for the traditional governance of the Asante Kingdom. These laws were compiled, and passed on to the District Commissioners. They have remained legal since then. They were compiled by J.S. Warrington and are called Warrington Notes.

Article 13 of the Warrington Notes on STOOL DISPUTES states inter alia, "The offering and taking of bribes to influence an election by candidates, elders and young men was declared in 1941 to be illegal. If a candidate does so he loses his right to election on that occasion (only); and if a stool holder does so it is a ground for destoolment. The nomination, installation or election of a person not entitled to the stool is also a ground for destooling the person who does any of these acts".

From Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia's book, "THE POSITION OF CHIEF IN THE MODERN POLITICAL SYSTEM OF ASHANTI" the underlying has been stated on pages 210 to 212.

"1938. Item 5. The offering and accepting bribes in connexion with election and destoolment of Chiefs.

Asantehene: This subject was discussed at the last session of the Council, but at that time the Council had no power to make by-laws, therefore our decision in the matter could not have legal effect. As the Council has now been granted powers to do so, the subject is introduced again so that the necessary by-laws may be made.

Mampong Representative: the practice of offering and accepting bribes in connexion with election and destoolment of Chiefs is as bad as it is detrimental to the welfare of the country. It should, therefore, be prohibited and made a punishable offence. I suggest that by-laws be passed by the Council providing that any Chief found guilty of such offence shall be destooled and any young man found guilty of the same offence shall be imprisoned for six months with hard labour.

Juabenhene: I support the view of the Mampong representative. A trader always wants to gain on his investments; in the same way if a person is compelled to spend all his money and to borrow in order to bribe the Elders of a Stool before he is elected to that Stool, he would naturally try to pay off his debt with Stool money and to have some profit whilst he is on the Stool. Moreover, as he is conscious of the fact that he might be destooled on the least pretence, he thinks more of his personal interest than the welfare of the Stool. Such a state of affairs is deplorable, and therefore its cause which forms the subject of our discussion should be removed. In the olden days affairs were not in such a deplorable state as they are to-day, and destoolments were of very rare occurrence.

Nsutahene: Bribery in connexion with destoolments and estoolments is bad and should be stopped. I therefore support the previous speakers.

Agonahene: I support the views expressed by the previous speakers and would further suggest royals should not be allowed to contest for a Stool. If and when a Stool becomes vacant the Elders should approach the Queen-Mother for a candidate and in consultation with the Gyase and Ankobea Chiefs and the members of the Stool family, she should nominate a candidate and the Elders may accept or reject her nominee without allowing any of the royals to influence them in any way in their decision.

Nkoranzahene: In certain cases if a Stool becomes vacant, wealthy subjects of the Stool try to bribe the Elders concerned in order to gain election. Under these circumstances, the royals too start to give bribes in order to ensure election to the Stool. Whilst, therefore, agreeing with the previous speakers, I should like to suggest further that any subject of a Stool who tries to contest for that Stool should be banished from the Division concerned.

Oyoko Clan: We agree with the previous speakers and would add that certain Chiefs instigate the subjects of another Chief to destool their Chief. By-laws should therefore be passed to the effect that any Chief who is found guilty of such an offence will be destooled.

Asantehene: The matter under discussion is so important that I should like all present to listen attentively. It is a disgrace for any Chief to neglect to train his nephews who will succeed him in future. The practice of offering and accepting bribes in connexion with the enstoolment or destoolment of Chiefs is also very bad and should be stopped. I request the Committee which was appointed yesterday to deal with the question of the payment of annual 'sheep' in respect of cocoa-farms to deal with this subject also.

The committee appointed later submitted its suggestions, which the Confederacy Council adopted. 'After a lengthy discussion the Committee was of the opinion that the practice of people offering and accepting bribes to destool or enstool a Chief has become very common and has been the source of political unrest in this country.' It made the following recommendations:

1. It shall not be lawful for any member of a Royal Family to contest for a Stool whenever a Stool becomes vacant, and he shall not canvass for votes from any Elder of the Stool.

2. Any member of Royal Family who contests, offers, or accepts any bribe in any form in any enstoolment case shall be guilty of an offence and shall be struck off the roll of the Royal Family and shall forfeit his right of succession to the Stool.

3. It shall not be lawful for any Elder or Elders to nominate, elect, or install any candidate on any Stool other than a member of the Royal Family of such Stool.

4. Any Elder or sub-chief who offers or accepts a bribe in an enstoolment case, or nominates, elects, or installs any candidate other than a member of the Royal Family of any such Stool, or breaks away from the Elders' meeting with the intent to prolong or delay the enstoolment of a Chief shall be guilty of an offence and shall on summary conviction thereof be removed from his office and destooled.

5. Any subject of a Stool who offers or accepts a bribe in an enstoolment case or interferes with or canvasses votes for any candidate shall be guilty of an offence, and shall on summary conviction thereof be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months with hard labour".

Please find below excerpts from ACTS OF GHANA: Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29) – THE CRIMINAL CODE (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2003 (ACT 646)

Section 239—Corruption, etc. of and by Public officer, or Juror. (1) Every public officer or juror who commits corruption, or wilful oppression, or extortion, in respect duties of his office, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour. (2) (2) whoever corrupts any person in respect of any duties as a public officer or juror shall be guilty misdemeanour.

Section 240—Explanation as to Corruption by Public Officer, etc. A public officer, juror, or voter is guilty of corruption in respect of the duties of his office or vote, if he directly or indirectly agrees or offers to permit his conduct as such officer, juror, or voter to be influenced by the promise, or prospect of any valuable consideration to be received by him, or by any other person, from person whomsoever.

Section 241—Explanation as to Corruption of Public Officer, etc. A person is guilty of corrupting a public officer, juror, or voter in respect of the duties of his office respect of his vote, if he endeavours directly or indirectly to influence the conduct of such public officer, or voter in respect of the duties of his office or in respect of his vote, by the gift, promise, or prospect valuable consideration to be received by such public officer, juror, or voter, or by other person, from person whomsoever.

Section 242—Special Explanation as to Corruption of and by Public Officer, etc. It is immaterial, for the purposes of section 240 or 241, that the person respecting whose conduct endeavour, agreement, or offer therein mentioned is made is not yet at the time of the making of endeavour, agreement, or offer, such a public officer, juror, or voter, if the endeavour, agreement, or offer made in the expectation that he will or may become or act as such officer, juror, or voter.

Section 243—Corrupt Agreement for Lawful Consideration, etc. It is immaterial, for the purposes of section 240, 241 or 242, whether the act to be done by a person consideration or in pursuance of any such gift, promise, prospect, agreement or offer as therein mentioned be in any manner criminal or wrongful otherwise than by reason of the provisions of the said sections.

Section 244—Acceptance of Bribe by Public Officer, etc., After Doing Act. If, after a person has done any act as a public officer, juror, or voter, he secretly accepts, or agrees or secretly to accept for himself or for any other person, any valuable consideration on account of such act, shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown, to have been guilty corruption, within the meaning Chapter, in respect of that act before the doing thereof.

Section 245—Promise of bribe to Public Officer, etc. After act Done. If, after a public officer, juror, or voter has done any act as such officer, juror, or voter, any other person secretly agrees or offers to give to or procure for him or any other person any valuable consideration account of such act, the person so agreeing or offering shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown, have been guilty of having, before the doing of such act, corrupted such public officer, juror, or voter, respect of such act.

Section 246—Explanation as to Oppression. A public officer or juror is guilty of wilful oppression in respect of the duties of his office if he wilfully commits any excess or abuse of his authority, to the injury of the public or of any person.

Section 247—Explanation as to Extortion. A public officer is guilty of extortion, who, under colour of his office, demands or obtains from any person, whether for purposes or for himself or any other person any money or valuable consideration which knows that he is not lawfully authorised to demand or obtain, or at a time at which he knows that he lawfully authorised to demand obtain the same.

The above quotations have been reproduced same as found without corrections, omissions or additions of whatever form or shape.

Asantehene is using his political affiliations and friendship with President Mahama to bulldoze his way through such illegalities but he shall be resisted. TIME CHANGES AND THERE IS AN END TO ANYTHING THAT HAS A BEGINNING!

This lengthy explanation goes to prove that Dr Yaw Sarfo's installation as Kumawuhene is absolutely illegal, and it has to be seen as such. It also proves how unprofessional, corrupt and disgraceful most Ghanaian judges are.

Rockson Adofo