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Opinions of Thursday, 7 November 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

This Is Not Good News For Ghana!

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

Whatever the full details of the circumstances leading to the brutal regicide of the chief of Seikwa, Nana Gyimah Ankoana, may be, it definitely is no good news for the institution of chieftaincy in the country, in general, and the Brong-Ahafo and the National House of Chiefs, in particular (See "Seikwa Chief Assassnated at Tain" 11/5/13).

It is quite clear that the murder of Nana Gyimah Ankoana is no happenstance. As of this writing (11/5/13), it had been reported that vehicles belonging to the slain chieftain had been recently torched in either the courtyard of the Seikwa palace, or on landed property owned by the monarchy. What we are interested in here regards whether the Minister for Chieftaincy Affairs knew about the brewing of apparent hostilities in the Tain municipality in which Seikwa is located; and if he did, what measures did Dr. Danaa take to ensure that such hostilities were stemmed and peaceably resolved.

Needless to say, it is one thing to be scholarly and academically knowledgeable about the evolution and development of the august institution of chieftaincy, and altogether another to be an effective monitor and administrator in the affairs of the same. Indeed, as most Ghanaians may be well aware of, the chieftaincy establishment is a very volatile aspect of our national and local political lives. Besides, this is not the very first time that I am writing about a chieftaincy crisis in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

About two, or so, years ago, I had the quite unpleasant occasion to highlight a chieftaincy dispute in the Kwame Danso township of the Brong-Ahafo Region. In that instance, also, a life or two were lost. I am also quite certain that the preventable volatility of chieftaincy is no more prevalent in Brong-Ahafo than it is elsewhere around the country. I also personally have a fondness for the people of Brong-Ahafo and their region. My maternal grandfather, the Rev. T. H. Sintim, of Akyem-Begoro and Asiakwa, and the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, even more significantly, spent a remarkable span of his adult-working life in such Brong-Ahafo municipalities as Berekum (where two of my elder siblings were born), Bechem and Dormaa-Ahenkurow.

The old man also spent time at Seikwa, where he struck fond and fast friendship with the father of Rev.-Dr. Kwasi Gyang-Duah, current municipal cleric of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Koforidua Assembly, in the Eastern Region. Not very long ago, Dr. Gyang-Duah narrated the touching story of how my grandfather encouraged his father to build a house for own his wife and children at Seikwa. The "poor" elder Mr. Gyang-Duah, or Mr. Duah, was at a loss over how to acquire roofing sheets for his house then under construction. It would be the Rev. Sintim, of blessed memory, who would approach the manager of the local UAC (United Africa Company) supermarket to have his friend promptly supplied with the requisite roofing sheets.

Dr. Gyang-Duah narrated this much-treasured story to me, in the presence of his wife, and also my wife and two boys, I should say, with a glint of tears in his eyes. I, in turn, assured the former clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana that my grandfather never ceased talking fondly about the great people of Brong-Ahafo until the very end of his life.

Anyway, we also know that Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the rambunctious General-Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) hails from Seikwa township. To what extent was the stentorian NDC scribe privy to the brewing chieftaincy hostilities in his home village? And what steps did Mr. Asiedu-Nketia take to facilitate the constructive resolution of the same? I ask these questions, obviously, because this is what good leadership and/or statesmanship is incontrovertibly about.

Then also, I just learned to my pleasant surprise that a Seikwa native by the name of Mr. Kwabena Sintim-Obeng, or Obeng-Sintim, had actually been named after the old man. The then "little" man, perhaps no more than seven or eight years old, had recently lost his mother. He would live with my grandparents and elder siblings and cousins in the Presbyterian Minister's Manse at Asante-Akyem Bompata for several years.

Ultimately, the cold-blooded assassination of Nana Gyimah Ankoana demands immediate answers and a lasting solution to the Seikwa chieftaincy hostilities. We are, all of us, the poorer for the brutal slaying of Nana Gyimah Ankoana.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
Nov. 5, 2013