The new Ga Mantse, King Tackie Tawiah III, known in private life as Dr Jo Blankson, has been accepted by the entire Ga Traditional Council minus the Sakumono Wulomo.
King Tackie Tawiah, a member of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), who was enstooled barely a month ago, was presented to the council, which sat in state at the Ga Mantse's Palace, in a simple but colourful ceremony.
All the members of the council, led by its acting President, Nii Tetteh Kpobi Tsuru, the La Mantse, warmly received the new King of the Ga State.
Those present included the James Town Mantse, Oblempong Nii Kojo Ababio, and the Nai Wulomo (Chief Priest of the Ga State), who performed a simple traditional ceremony before the new king was presented to the acting President by the Head of the Nii Teiko Tsuru We, Nii Akropong III.
Earlier, before the presentation, a group of young men opposed to the ceremony blocked the entrance to the palace to prevent the entourage of the new king from entering.
While they stood at the gate, the members of the council entered the palace, one after another, through the same gate.
The announcement of the installation of Dr Blankson brought in its wake sharp disagreements as the three other royal houses described the purported action as a violation of Ga custom.
Dr Blankson was installed on June 11, 2006 by Nii Akropong III, the Head of the Teiko Tsuru We, one of the four clans of the Ga State, to succeed Nii Amugi II, who passed away two years ago.
The three other houses, Amugi We, Piam We and Tackie Komme We, distanced themselves from the purported installation, describing it as unlawful and against the traditions and customs of the Ga State.
They, therefore, asked the public to ignore the announcement, while efforts were being made to get the right person to succeed the deceased king of the Ga people, who is also yet to be buried.
At about 11:00 p.m. yesterday, a large convoy, led by the Asafo group of the king makers, entered the gate leading to the palace without any opposition.
The opposition which was expected to greet the entry of the new king into the palace was completely absent as he entered the gate amidst drumming and dancing by a group of women clad in white clothes.
When he finally emerged from his car, he was warmly received by Nii Kojo Ababio, who ushered him to his seat.
The young men attempted to cause some commotion after the new Ga Mantse had entered the palace but they were stopped by the armed policemen detailed to ensure peace at the palace.
Minutes after the new king had sat with the council members, which initially included the Sakumono Wulomo, Nii Sakumono, the police ordered that Nii Sakumono be arrested for fomenting trouble.
He was reported to be calling his people on his cell phone, apparently to disturb the rather peaceful ceremony, but the police would not take any of it.
The police also arrested one of the men who opposed the presentation ceremony. He was alleged to be carrying acid in a bottle meant to be poured on the new king to deface him.
After the presentation and a few traditional rites performed, the council members in turn advised the new king to stay calm while the council worked on modalities to bury the late Nii Amugi.
King Tackie Tawiah was later paraded round the palace, after which he left in his convoy, amidst cheers from members of the public who had gathered by the roadside to watch the unfolding events upon hearing the tooting of horns by the convoy.
When the convoy reached Ga Mashie, it was received by a large crowd which said, “Alas, we have a new leader to carry us through.”
The crowd, which was made up mostly of old women, fisherfolk and children, sang and cheered, while some spread their cloths on the ground for the king to walk on.
Having been prevented by the crowd from moving, King Tackie Tawiah emerged from his car, with a piece of broom in his hand, and walked majestically and waved to the people, a signal of peace and unity.
As he did so, he whispered to the Daily Graphic reporter, “I am for peace and I am here to unify the people and redeem the image of the Ga people.”
A press release signed by the acting heads of the three houses and issued in Accra last month said, “It has come to the notice of three of the four ruling houses of the Ga Royal Dzaase, namely, Amugi We, Tackie Komme We and Piam We, that on Sunday, June 11, 2006, one Dr Jo Blankson, aged 63, was purportedly installed as the new Ga Mantse under the stool name King Tackie Tawiah III by Nii Akropong III, the Head of the fourth ruling house, Teiko Tsuru We.
“The three ruling houses mentioned above wish to dissociate themselves from the above installation, as it was done without their consent and the fact that the said installation was not done in accordance with Ga custom and usage.”
“Customarily, the deceased Ga Mantse Boni Nii Amugi II should be laid to rest before the installation of his successor,” the release added.
The Secretary to the Ga Royal Dzaase, Niibi Anyah Tackie-Yarboi, said the four houses had met and agreed to nominate five members each to select the Dzaase who would preside over the burial and installation of the new chief of the Ga State.
He expressed surprise that the other house had ignored the due process to announce the installation of a chief for the Ga State, thereby flouting laid down customary processes which had been used since time immemorial.
Sqd Leader George Tagoe, a member of one of the three other houses, said, “We must stop making mockery of ourselves because the right things have to be done to avoid any controversy.”
“The selection of five members each from the four houses was enough testimony of how peaceful the process was to be carried out to avoid any misunderstanding,” he added.
Sqd Leader Tagoe said it was now time for the Piam We to install a chief and that would be done by a Dzaase who would be expected to select the right person and later install him as chief of the Ga State.
The Head of the Nai We, the House of the Chief Priest of the Ga State, Numo Tumomli Yartey II, on his part, requested the public to recognise the new chief who had been installed.
He said it was the turn of the Teiko Tsuru We to occupy the stool because when the late chief was installed, the cloth he wore was passed on to that house, “and by tradition the house which has that cloth is the one to select a successor to the throne”.
Story by Charles Benoni Okine