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Darkness In Berekum

Feature Article Darkness In Berekum
FEB 16, 2022 LISTEN

According to historians, the greatest Asantehene who has ever lived was Otumfuo Opoku Ware I. He ascended the throne after his uncle, Otumfuo Osei Tutu I was killed by the Akyems while crossing River Pra.

Historians say that Opoku Ware was a ferocious fighting general, a conqueror of Hannibal and Julius Caesar proportions, even on the heels of Alexander the Great.

At the time of his death, circa 1731, the Asante Empire was three times the size of geographical Ghana today. Can you imagine that? Opoku Ware the First – don't go near him!!!

His two greatest enemies who were always worrying him were the two Akwamu brothers living in Domaa and Gyaaman. They were too troublesome warlike enemies, so Otumfuo, the Asantehene decided to set up a permanent espionage camp at a strategic location to give him early warning signals of Domaa-Gyaaman military movements.

So, Otumfuo the Asantehene sent for the Chief of Asokore and gave him military orders to go and build a permanent espionage camp to give him early morning signals of troop movements of his two arch enemies.

The Asokorehene sent his own direct junior brother, Agya Osei, to lead an expeditionary force drawn from all over the Asante Empire and they moved to a location that finally became known as Berekum (so named by a hunter because at that site, there was water but, he suffered before he got game to kill – Bere-Kum).

So, Berekum came into existence, a typical Asante town, comparable to Mampong, Ejusi, Juabeng, Obuasi and so on – the ruling traditional authority currently are Asantes.

Berekum lies geographically in a very strategic location. To its east is Seikwa Wenchi Techiman; to its north are Jaman Drobo and Sampa while to the west, is the famous Domaa where my Lord Justice of the High Court, Justice Daniel Mensah, sits flamboyantly as Osagyefo Agyemang Badu II.

They are typical NLM-Matemeho UP tradition people. They are rich cocoa farmers, and the current generation of tough managing businessmen. Do you know that the owner of M Plaza Hotel is from Berekum.

Berekum is largely a city of 'foreigners' – every stranger who goes to Berekum ends up staying there to build a family. When a certain lawyer left law school, he was posted to Berekum to do National Service, he fought against the postings until his brother said “Look here, take this money, take STC to Berekum, Friday, survey the place and come back on Monday, then we talk.”

The lawyer went to Berekum Friday, fresh from the law school, then Saturday, Sunday, Monday – he did not come back.

One week passed and his brother called and asked “Hey brother! Are you safe? What is wrong with you? Are you alright?”

For more than thirty years, the lawyer is now part and parcel of Berekum society.

The greatest period of my life was when I was MP for Berekum – I confidently spoke regularly in Parliament because I knew I was representing a boisterous solid community.

You will be surprised to hear that the crime wave in Berekum is very low, so low that policemen who get posted there end up as businessmen, running around enjoying life.

Naturally, for a city of 100,000 people, you should expect that once in a while, some confusion will erupt somewhere, human nature being what it is.

Reader, there is a book I commend to you – Shogun where Lord Toranaga says “Poison, betrayal, treachery are all age old weapons of war.

The Police Administration have opened a small police post (almost a kiosk size) at Thursday market area and at about 4pm on Saturday, 15th January, 2022, a certain lady walked to the police joint to report that a guy has threatened her.

“Which guy? 'Yaw Peprah', the money lender? The ex-convict who just came from prison last December? Where are you? Sergeant Annobil – go and invite Yaw Peprah to the station.”

Sgt Annobil answered, “I have never seen, but he is one of three sons of my client, Chief Inspector Annobil (retired) who is running a marathon legal battle with everybody who is IGP over some High Court Judgment I got for him per Her Lordship Mrs Justice Mensa Datsa, now Justice of Appeal. Two of his sons are all soldiers, and the third is the police officer (like father like son) stationed in Berekum for fourteen years running.”

Sgt Annobil went and easily got Yaw Peprah to the Police Station, followed by a little crowd of onlookers and area boys. One of them shouted a mocking obscene language, and, strangely, suspect ex-convict Yaw Peprah drew a knife and drove it to the shoulder of Sgt Annobil, twice, so speedily that even before Sgt Annobil could realise what was happening to him, the blood flow knocked him out of consciousness, dying en route to the Holy Family Hospital in Berekum.

Oh God, what a tragedy!

The killer took to his heels; darkness had fallen, so visibility was weak. Highly enraged police squad gave him a good chase and sprayed him with bullets to death.

Police boss IGP Dr Dampare ordered that the remains of Sgt Annobil should be brought to Accra – for what sir? For autopsy at Police Hospital? To establish what?

Anyway, don't be worried. We all know that the greatest man in history Julius Caesar was assassinated on 15th March, 44 BC at the Senator House in Rome.

As many as 15 conspirators, each of them, drove their swords through his body, but according to the pathologist who established the cause of death, it was the sword wound inflicted by his son, Marcus Brutus, according to William Shakespeare….”this was the most unkindest cut of all”…………………….

Reader, as a lawyer from Berekum, interested in criminal law, what are my comments?

First and foremost, why must any policeman stay more than five years at one station? Annobil has been in Berekum for 14 years. They end up becoming so close to the people that professionalism is completely sacrificed. I wasn't there but I guess Sgt Annobil went to arrest Yaw Peprah in plain clothes, not even armed with pistol.

IGP, as a rule, let no policeman be at any station for more than 5 years. Maximum should be four years.

Secondly, why was Yaw Peprah shot to death? Why, was he not merely arrested? Just because he has killed a policeman? The arresting squad who killed the suspect must give statements to explain themselves against possible prosecution for murder.

That is all for now. This gloom of darkness will disappear in a matter of hours and Berekum will return to be as the city of Happiness – Berekum?

Make money and go and spend it in Berekum. You are welcome to my hometown!

By Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey

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