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Opinions of Thursday, 30 April 2015

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Re: Kumawu chieftaincy affairs: the true picture

Finding the propositional content of a publication on Ghanaweb by one Nana Kwame Afram alias James Charles London, an alleged principal member of the Kumawu Ankaase "royal" family, overflowing with distorted narratives, it is just prudent that I rebut it. This said publication was found under Ghanaweb's Feature Article of Tuesday, 7 April 2015, titled, "Kumawu chieftaincy affairs: the true picture"

In the opening paragraph, the writer alleges, "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 those interested in accurate narration of history or the truth, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is not the Overlord of Asanteman as fallaciously posited by the writer.

Who is an Overlord? An Overlord is a person with unrestricted powers and can behave arrogantly or dictatorially, lording himself over other lords. However, the powers to behave dictatorially by the Asantehenes were curtailed or removed by the British Colonial administration following the capture and exile of Otumfuo Nana Agyemang Prempeh I, the Asantehene, from Gold Coast in 1896 to Seychelles Island. When he was repatriated to Kumasi, Gold Coast, in 1924, his domineering powers were never restored. Asante Confederacy or Asanteman has from the date never lived under absolute monarchy but limited/Constitutional monarchy.

He was repatriated to Kumasi on strictest conditions. In page 40 of "The History of Ashanti Kings and the whole country itself" by Otumfuo Nana Agyemang Prempeh I, it states, "Guggisberg, however, submitted the following condition for approval:
(1) That ex-king Prempeh should be permitted to return to Ashanti after the new Native Jurisdiction has become law. (2) That he should return as a private individual. (3) That he should reside in or in the vicinity of Coomassie and that his movements should be confined to the Comassie Political District.

With this unanimity in Asante and colonial official opinion in the Gold Coast, it is not surprising that in his telegram of 8th April 1924, the Secretary of State accepted Guggisberg's recommendations and approved "the return of Prempeh and his dependents on conditions proposed". The final conditions for Agyeman Prempeh's repatriation, marked by a bond in the sum of £500 signed by 17 Kumase chiefs on 12 July 1924, were as follows:
(i) Prempeh remains a private individual holding no official status in Ashanti.
(ii) That he takes no part nor interferes in political matters.
(iii) That he does not call for or accept any of the Ashanti stool properties, insignia or treasure.
(iv) That he will reside in or near Coomassie.
(v) That he does not leave his place of residence in or near Coomassie.

In addition, the Kumase chiefs agreed to contribute an amount of £3000, while all other chiefs who signed the final petition for repatriation were to contribute another £3000 for Agyeman Prempeh's maintenance on his return and for the building of a house for him".

What is the new Native Jurisdiction, one may query? Referring and quoting from page 39 of same book, it says, "The first such was for a new Native Jurisdiction Ordinance to regulate and guarantee the permanent break-up of the Asante Kingdom into independent states since Prempeh's exile, and to prevent the immediate revival of the Confederacy on his return, while at the same time strengthening of the Kumase Division itself by providing it with a headship"

This view was re-enforced during the restoration of the Asante Confederacy in 1935. A Draft document by the Ashanti Confederacy Council signed on 21st day of March 1938 confirms the balkanization of the Ashanti Confederacy.

The document states among other topics the following, "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 Krontihene of Kumasi.

Having disproved the overlordship of Asantehenes since 1935 when they were reduced to Ceremonial Heads, where does Otumfuo Osei Tutu II draw his overlordship from, contrary to the assertions by Dr James Charles London?

Without Otumfuo Osei Tutu II having any absolute powers over any of the Divisions within Asanteman, formerly Ashanti Confederacy, as just established above, how can he order the banning of Akyempim Stool throughout Asanteman? When did he ban it and for what reasons? Did he ban it in his Kumasi Division alone or throughout entire Asanteman? As far as I know, the Akyempim Stool in Kumawu has not been banned by anyone. It cannot be banned by the supposed Asante Overlord, a Ceremonial Head of course, who has neither any Constitutional nor conventional mandate to remove any sub-chief or ban any Stool from Kumawu. He can only do so in his Kumasi Division where he is the proper Omanhene bestowed with such prerogatives.

Even in a video recorded on 24 February 2014, posted on YouTube titled, Asantehene involves in corruption" one can clearly see the Kumasi Akyempimhene make a condemnatory submission on the unfolded acts of corruption masterminded by Kumawuhemaa Nana Abenaa Serwaah Amponsah. However, he finally seconded the preposterous view expressed by the other Amanhene to still proceed to allegedly install Dr Yaw Sarfo as Kumawuhene, an apparently prejudged decision so collusively taken by shameless Asanteman chiefs.

I am sorry to state that the writer is either not knowledgeable about the Asante Confederacy after its restoration in 1935, or he is simply acting ignorance. Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, like his predecessors, has absolutely NO RIGHT to destool any chief, irrespective of their status ( paramount chief or sub-chief), in Kumawu. All Asantehenes have been divested of their despotic powers of doing as they want when they want since the restoration of the Asante Confederacy in 1935. This bone of contention, factually of course, is buttressed by the Constitutional monarchy in practice in Ghana since Gold Coast became republic with a name change to Ghana.

In this regard, it is an act of display of absolute ignorance, if not totally criminal, on the part of the writer, James; to continually ascribe Asante Overlordship to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. In pursuance of his colluding selfish motives, he wants the entire members of the reading public to believe that Asantehene is permanently vested with autocratic powers to do as he wants when he wants. It is never true, the views sadly expressed by the writer.

Let me define Constitutional monarchy. Constitutional monarchy is a monarchy governed according to a constitution that limits and defines the powers of the sovereign. Better still, it is a form of national government in which the power of the monarch (the king or queen) is restrained by a parliament, by law, or by custom. (Several nations, especially in modern times, have passed from absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy, including Belgium, Britain, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden). Is the monarchy in operation in Asanteman, ceremonially headed by Asantehene even a national government? No, but let me give him the benefit of the doubt because chieftaincy is in practice all over Ghana, with their powers regulated by law.
In R. S. Rattray's book, "The Law and Constitution of Ashanti", it is nowhere stated that the MAIN responsibility of Kumawu Aduanahene is to see to it that the dead body of a Kumawuhene is bathed by a bathroom attendant and the kinsmen as gleefully mockingly stated by Dr James Charles London, a supposed principal member of the Kumawu Ankaase family. However, Rattray states in page 232 of his book, "The body of a Chief was bathed by the bathroom attendants, the Aduana Hene and the abusua (kinsmen)". Is it not normal in the Akan custom for "abusuapanin" to be around to ensure the "abusua" treat the body of their deceased family member with utmost care, according the dead the due last respect right from bathing through to laying the body in state to burial? What is wrong if the Kumawu Aduanahene, the Head of the entire Kumawuman Aduana Clan, plays that periodic role as does by any other Akan family head? Does that make him the derided Head of mortuary men as opined by James? This clouded view by the writer in his publication that I am rebutting has already fully come under my microscopic lens, dissected, examined and refuted in my publication on Ghanaweb, Modernghana and Spyghana titled, "Is Kumawu Aduanahene Really the Head of Mortuary men?" Refer to the underlying web link for full details.

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=353674

I find almost the entire publication by the writer overflowing with complete lies and fabrications hence normally pointless rebutting it. Nonetheless, I have to, or else, he will get away with blue murder. At no point did the assembled Kumawu kingmakers at the late Kumawu Kontrihene's residence reject any claim by the allegedly destooled Kumawu Aduanahene. The writer says, Aduanahene's claim that by Kumawu's custom, the queen must consult him on the nomination, selection and introduction of the candidate for enstoolment as Kumawuhene was rejected by the sat Kumawu kingmakers. It was rather during the invocation of the Asantehene's Great Oath ("Asantehene Ntamkese") on Kumawuhemaa and the about-to-be vetted candidate (Dr Yaw Sarfo), challenging the credibility of the entire process of selecting the queen's candidate, when Aduanahene made his views or reason(s) known.

Hardly had the queen (Nana Abenaa Serwaah Amponsah) announced her intentions of coming to Kontrihene's residence with her selected candidate when her arranged macho men physically manhandled, and threw out Aduanahene, Ananangya's family Head (Nana Kwabena Darkwa) and others out of the house. As soon as they were allowed back in, they invoked the Great Oath of Asantehene on the queen and her candidate, Dr Yaw Sarfo.

In the mentioned video posted on YouTube on Asantehene involving himself in corruption, does one not see that after all the hullabaloos in vain attempts to rubbish Aduanahene's claim, he finally performed his very Kumawu dutiful custom in relation to the introduction of a nominated candidate to the Kumawu kingmakers? Now, we have seen from the video that Aduanahene has other vital customary responsibilities other than the ridiculed one (Head of Mortuary men) put out by the writer.

Being conversant with Kumawu tradition and custom, I do not agree with Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Asanteman presiding over the Kumawu Stool dispute, let alone, conducting themselves prejudicially as could be seen in the video recorded on 24 February 2014 at Manhyia Palace. However, the Aduanahene's role played and captured on camera goes to expose the lack of knowledge of Kumawu history by James.

How does the writer (James) understand it if someone tells him, "Kumawu is not the backyard of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II where he can proceed to ease himself (defecate) after fully filling his stomach with food, or overfeeding himself in Kumasi and feels the urge to attend to nature's call?" I shall expound whatever answer he gives to the question in my future write-ups. Can his Asante Overlord not wield the power to defecate wherever he wants when he wants to? This question is without any intent to ensnare him but he will surely get ensnared in the end.

Does the writer know that there are bits of differences and not only similarities among the traditions and customs of the various Divisions within Asanteman? If it was not so, the Divisional Chiefs would not have been graded into Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3 etc. categories.

For the attention of the writer who exhibits not only ignorance but also, propagates purposive lies, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has no mandate to order the destoolment of any sub-chiefs in Kumawu. Therefore, those that he constantly refers to as ex-sub-chiefs are indeed, legally recognised sub-chiefs with all the rights to call, and behave, themselves, as such. Subsequently, they have the right to install any TRUE royal of the people's choice as the Omanhene of Kumawu.

It is an open secret that the writer has been colluding with Asantehene, Kumawuhemaa and Dr Yaw Sarfo to arrange the DCOP Kofi Boakye's police to harass their perceived opponent, Barimah Tweneboah Koduah V, the more popular and famous Kumawuhene. Why is he doing that? What are they afraid of about him that compels them to behave so maliciously towards him?

DCOP Kofi Boakye is not the finest or the rare gem in today's Ghana police force as claimed by the writer. From the previous behaviours of DCOP Kofi Boakye before the incident of the Tagoe cocaine case, and his involvement in Tagoe's case as an investigator, a friend or an accomplice, coupled with his recent attitude towards the Kumawu Stool dispute, one can without mincing words say that he is rather an unprofessional, biased and corrupt police officer. DCOP Kofi Boakye, a Masters Degree holder in Biochemistry and probably Law, knowing very well that the police are by law, and by the ethics of the police profession, not allowed to involve themselves in chieftaincy issues, has rather openly taken sides. He claims that in Ashanti region, the laws operate differently. This culminated in my publication on Ghanaweb, Modernghana and Spyghana titled, "COP Kofi Boakye Threateningly Takes Sides In The Kumawu Chieftaincy Dispute", on Sunday 22 February 2015 (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=347504). The fact that DCOP Kofi Boakye is abusively backing the side of the writer in the chieftaincy dispute, does not automatically grant the writer the licence to be that petty; asserting through his opaque lens that Kofi Boakye is the finest police officer in Ghana.

In his laborious attempts to emphasise the importance of unity among the various Divisions within Asanteman, the writer rather ended up totally self-confused. What much ado about nothing! One can see him downplay Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I who is historically renowned for self-sacrificing his life to save then Asante Confederacy from defeat and enslavement at the hands of the Denkyiras.

Yes, it was not only Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I, who self-sacrificed his life to save the Asante States from conquest by the Denkyiras. There were two other chiefs, Nana Asenso Kofi (Chief of Adumasekese) and Nana Dikopim (Chief of Edwiso, now Ejisu). Nonetheless, among all the three, Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I's stands supreme. Historically, he is the most talked about when it comes to discussing how the Asante Confederacy was able to wage successful wars against their enemies, especially, how they were able to subdue the Denkyiras, their arch-enemy. However, the writer, an acclaimed, although a false, royal, by all standards, and with neither matrilineal nor patrilineal lineage to Seni Fonton and Adoforowa Hyie, the great matrilineal ancestors of Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I, the originator of the Kumawu Koduah Stool, is seen in his publication to belittle the significance of the sacrificial-lamb's role played by Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I.

One finds under his sub-heading "ASANTEMAN AND DENKYIRA WAR OF INDEPENDENCE", stated inter alia, "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".

Are not almost all of our written Asante Confederacy histories first obtained through oral history? What is then different about that of Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I, from those of Nana Asenso Kofi and Nana Dikopim, without the author revealing by which account of history (written or oral) he obtained his information on the other two mentioned chiefs? Why does he say the method of Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I self-sacrificing his life is disrupted? If I have not misunderstood him or taken him out of context, DISRUPT means "to prevent something, especially a system, process, or event, from continuing as usual or as expected". Will the writer please give us further clarification of his position on Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I and his unqualified role played to save the United Asante States?

What was the writer's motive for citing those who self-sacrificed their lives to save the Union of Asante States, with the seeming belittling of the role played by Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I? Was it to tell how less important Kumawu Division is within Asanteman or how Kumawu cannot secede from Asanteman if the people decide to?

The alleged destooled Kumawu Aduanahene placed an injunction on the queen, Nana Abenaa Serwaah Amponsah. The injunction sought to oblige her to produce the doll ("abamoo"), booty from the conquest of Ataale Finam during the Kumawu/Guan war. Superstition maintains the doll had the potential to bring fertility to infertile women. It was with the queen when it disappeared from under her watch – probably stolen or sold by her or by someone else. Without the production of the doll, a precious booty, she could not initiate any processes of nominating, selecting and installing a successor chief to the late Barimah Asumadu Sakyi II, Kumawuhene, so was the view of Nana Aduanahene.

The move by Aduanahene was not based on the fact that the Ankaase "royals" have occupied the Koduah Stool for 250 years, therefore, it was now his family's turn to take it or ascend to the throne. He was following proper Kumawu custom and tradition. A thief or someone who cannot take proper care of the stool property should not be allowed to nominate, select and install a probably equally thief on Kumawuman as their Omanhene. The Ankaase family could not have occupied the throne for 250 years as stated by the writer in his attempts to pull wool over our eyes.

Yaw Dabo, their foremost ancestor to rule Kumawu as a regent, appointed by his brother-in-law, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Yaw Akoto, under doubtful circumstances, occurred in 1830 following the assassination of Koduah Kokoo, Kumawuhene. Otumfuo Osei Yaw Akoto ruled from 1824 to 1838 and was married to Okomfo Yaa Mansah, Yaw Dabo's sister. Assuming Yaw Dabo became a regent in the same year (1824) as his brother-in-law, from that time until today (2015), is 191 years. We have had instances of the true royals from the Ananangya family ruling, the last during the 20th Century being Barimah Tweneboah Koduah IV, popularly known as Nana Seth in private life, from 1940 to 1950. Yaw Dabo was never installed Kumawuhene in 1788 as alleged by the writer in his publication.

Where does the writer get his source of history information from? The Ankaase family members are WITHOUT any matrilineal or patrilineal lineage to Barimah Tweneboah Koduah I, the originator of the Kumawu Koduah Stool. The Ankasse family does not descend from Seni Fonton and Adoforowa Hyie as falsified and found published in Fig 50 in page 235 of The Ashanti Law and Constitution by R.S Rattray. They rather descend from one AYOO, their foremost forebear to come to Kumawu. She was of humble origin. A slave girl, one may ask?

The falsified Ankaase family tree as appears in the "Genealogy of Chiefs and Queenmothers of Kumawu" was authored by Barimah Kwame Afram, the late ex-Kumawuhene during his reign, surely on the advice of one Captain Alex Norris, the District Commissioner at Juaso. Barimah Kwame Afram had given his niece's hand in marriage to Alex Norris, the grandfather of the writer of the publication come under attack by me. He, being a British Whiteman, and part of the Colonial administration, might have aided Barimah Kwame Afram to make that fake family tree, given it to Rattray to be published, and to be referred to in their defence should there be any future challenge mounted against their royalty as it's happening today. Barimah Kwame Afram ran to him when he was destooled for the first time during his reign. Therefore when he was reinstalled, he made that fake family table. For a comprehensive explanation on the said family tree and to get a copy, please visit the underlying web link:

http://www.modernghana.com/news/611996/50/kumawu-ankaase-family-seeks-royal-legitimacy-throu.html

It must be noted that at that time Kumawu was politically or administratively under Juaso.

Additionally, Alex Norris is suspected to have again assisted Barimah Kwame Afram to have authored and archived a second fake document in favour of the Ankaase family. This document is said to have been written by Nana Adwoa Serwaah, then queen of Kumawu from the Ananangya royal family. She was a daughter of Asantehene Otumfuo Agyemang Prempeh I. In this document, the writer claims it is stated "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". Why did she author that letter if indeed she wrote it? Under what circumstances did she write it? Who wrote it for her since she was herself illiterate? Who witnessed the writing of that letter and why was it archived? Was she forced to write it, and if yes, by whom? Did she write it willingly, and if yes, how and why?

In order not to bore silly the reading public, I shall not go further into this but to inform the public that the said document was 1) not thumb printed 2) it was not signed 3) the archive staff from where the said true copy form was obtained did not certify its authenticity by stamp and signature.

From the foundations of Gold Coast until today, all official documents are signed or thumb printed before they are accepted for proof of evidence. Secondly, any sensible person will ensure copies of documents, especially letters or the sort under discussion, are certified with official stamp as true copy forms of the original. In all three cases, the document was found wanting; a fake document planted in the archives by Barimah Kwame Afram, his agents and assigns. Can the writer dispute my assertions?

I find it unbelievably sad, the alleged opinion by the Asanteman chiefs that Nana Nti Kwakye, the late Ananangya family head (abusuapanin), succumbed to the fatal repercussions of false invocation of the Asantehene's Great Oath (Ntamkese). If this was truly their view, for a man dying at the age of 85, then they must be joking, if not living in the ignorance of their imagination. The attribution of Nana Nti Kwakye's death to Ntamkese is purely the writer's figment of imagination.

No Ankaase family member, be they chief or ordinary member, has ever been buried at "Mpaperem". Mpaperem is the cemetery where the Ananangya and the Odumase family members are buried. I can therefore not comprehend why the writer chose to tell such a big lie 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". This is blatant lie!

For the fear of people not bothering to read lengthy articles or rebuts, I shall end here to continue another day the points that I have not discussed fully today or have not touched at all.

In the ancient times things were different. People were each other's keeper but now things have changed greatly. When one did wrong, you had to man up and own up. Will Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II man up and own up that he has made a big cock-up in the Kumawu Stool dispute?

Rockson Adofo