20.05.2004 Feature Article

Anlo Chieftaincy Saga: Minister Under Fire -Rejoinder

Anlo Chieftaincy Saga: Minister Under Fire   -Rejoinder
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I refer to three articles in THE CHRONICLE, issues of 28, 29th and 30th April 2004, two of which are with the above headline, and the third deriving from them.

I would like to state that very strange things are happening these days in and around Anlo and some people who know little or nothing at all are making uninformed statements about Anlo to sound like the truth. Most of these statements are simply misleading the public. It is true that not too many people can be well informed about deep-seated traditional practices, let alone the intricacies of the Chieftaincy Institution. Since a lot of us are ignorant about these issues, it becomes a great shame for these uninformed to sound authoritative on the question of appointment of a regent, or a candidate best qualified to occupy the Awoamezi. Indeed, their presentations are becoming a comic drama.

The Anlo State is made up of 36 settlements of different sizes, called Duta or Gbota. This is what is known as Anlo Gbota or "Duta blato vo ade". Each of these 36 settlements have a number of satellite villages and cottages around a bigger town, e.g. Klikor, Atiavi, Dzodze, Tegbi and Aflao, just to mention a few. Each settlement has a chief known as Dufia, and his sub-chiefs known as Fia, and Hanua.

Now, let us tabulate some hard facts of Anlo tradition and customary practices in Chieftaincy:

1. The Awoamefia is the Supreme Head of Anlo; he is both the spiritual and political leader.

2. The Awadada is the second in command to the Awoamefia, in times of conflict and peace.

3. It is only the Awoamefia and the Awadada who have all of the 36 settlements or "Duta/Gbota blato vo ade" (36) known as the Anlo State as their constituency, and therefore Mr.Sogbaka's statement that the Awadada has no constituency is very far from the truth and thus misleading.

4. The Awadada,though as the commander of the Centre Division, has command over all the other Divisions or Wings in Anlo war formation. The Divisional or Wing chiefs take instructions from him during war and therefore technically in peace times as well. For example because Togbi Addo VIII of Klikor belongs to Adotri or Dome, the Center division of the Anlo war formation, he reports directly to the Awadada. While Togbi Kporku III of Alakple reports to the Awadada through his wing Chief who is the Right wing Commander.That is the Woe or Dusifiaga. Togbi Fiti of Aflao belongs to the Mia (Lashibi/Krobo), the Left Wing division of the Anlo war formation, he reports directly to the Awadada. All instructions and messages from the Awoamefia are passed on to the chiefs and people of the 36 settlements through the Awadada of Anlo who swears oath of allegiance to the Awoamefia only.

5. The Dusifiaga who is the third in hierarchy has command over a section of some of the Duta 36 in addition to his own territory, Woe.

6. The Miafiaga is the fourth in hierarchy and also has command over a section of the Duta 36 in addition to his own settlement or Duta, Whuti.

7. By custom, the Awoamezi does not have regent nor stool father; the command structure is so well established that it is not very easy for a vacuum to surface; stools below the Awoamezi can have and do have regents and stool fathers. 8. Each of the other senior chiefs has command over just one of the 36 towns or Duta 36 of Anlo; they accordingly find their levels after the Awadada and the two wing chiefs. 9. The present Awadada was properly installed, outdoored, presented to the Anlo Traditional Council and gazetted as the legitimate Awadada of Anlo. He then took over the Acting Presidency of the Anlo Traditional Council from Togbi Nyaho Tamakloe IV when he was alive since the 16th of November, 2000.

I shall use the dilation that follows to throw more light on the points tabulated above:

First of all, what is true is that in absence of the Awoamefia, it is the occupant of the Kaklaku Stool, the Awadada of Anlo who automatically acts for him. By custom, he is the commander of the armed forces or the Awadada of Anlo. Therefore there is no question of the appointment of a regent for the Awoamezi in the real sense of the word. The clan of the dead Awoamefia may appoint a clans man to look after the stool itself and the regalia so as to hand them over to the next Awoamefia. This is the custom. It is not true that in the absence of the Awoamefia,it is either the Royal Adzorvia clan or the Bate clan who appoints a clan person to act for him as Messrs Victor Brown Agboada and Bliss Dei Sadika would want us to believe. That is only someone's imagination of logic, which is not tenable in the established customary practice of Anlo.

The selection or appointment of regent in Togbi Atia's case always been referred to is a distortion of history. This came about as a result of the death of the Awadada, Togbi Ahorlu I in 1883. For 16 years the next Awadada was not installed. This occasioned the brother of Togbi Atia, Atiasa who on the death of Togbi Atia after a short reign as Awoamefia declared himself Regent and eventually got himself enstooled as Togbi Atiasa. Thus interrupting the peaceful rotation of succession between the Adzorvia and Bate Clans. It was in retaliation to this action that the Bate Clan enstooled Togbi Letsa Gbagba and Togbi Amedor Kpegla in succession.

The wrongfulness of Togbi Atiasa's action was acknowledged in the settlement which took place in May, 1906 between the leaders of the two Clans, when it was agreed to return to the rotation of succession to the Awoamefia Stool.

If the Awadada is not available for any reason, then the Dusifiaga, (Woe Fiaga), the Right wing chief acts. In the event of his absence or incapacitation whilst the first two are also absent, then the Miafiaga (Lashibi or Klobor ) the Left wing chief acts.

This fourth in command acting for the Awoamefia happened in our recent history just a few years ago when in the absence of the three senior chiefs, viz the Awoamefia Togbi Adeladza II, the Awadada, Togbi Ahorlu II and the Dusifiaga, Togbi Gbordzor II. Togbi Nyaho Tamakloe IV, the then Miafiaga acted for the late Awoamefia , Togbi Adeladza II until the current Awadada, Togbi Agbesi Awusu II was installed. In accordance with the custom, Togbi Nyaho Tamakloe IV as the then Miafiaga handed over the acting presidency to the Awadada, Togbi Agbesi Awusu II. Since then, the Awadada has been acting as the President of the Anlo Traditional Council. This is since the year 2000. Can't we remember, reflect and maintain the truth? A firm order exists.

It is absolutely ridiculous and absurd to say that the Awadada of the whole of Anlo is equivalent in rank to the awadada of a section of Anlo, say Klikor or Dzodze. That is a sub-chief of one of the 36 settlements of Anlo and therefore he is at the beck and call of the Divisional chiefs or chiefs of some dutawo. We do not need new and untested positions from anyone. By the way who are those so called "paramount" chiefs who attended the meeting at Sogakofe before going to see the Regional Minister at Ho, as claimed by Mr. Sogbaka? If what he is saying is true then their names should come out.

As of now, there is only one Establishment for a Paramount Chief in the Anlo Traditional Area, and that is the Awoamefia. Attempts however are being made to elevate some others such as the wing chiefs and some divisional chiefs to paramount status. Until that is done, no one should deceive himself by calling himself Fiaga or paramount chief of say Anloga or Klikor, Atiavi, Dzodze or Tegbi. All these settlements and others are just some of the 36 settlements of Anlo, therefore a section of it. The proposed paramount status being contemplated is not to be misinterpreted as an autonomy from Anlo and anarchy.

It is also not true that it is the Awoamefia himself who personally puts sandals on the feet of chiefs and therefore when he is dead, then no one could be sandalled as a chief. Sandalling of a chief is done by qualified persons who are appointed to perform the rituals after which the new Fia is presented to the Awoamefia through his wing chief. The sandals are First consecrated and then left in the Kaklaku stool room for one "aza" or a period of 7 days after which they are conveyed to the Awoamefia's palace for the final stage of the sandalling ritual. In the past when the Awoamefia was hardly seen in public, this final stage of the ritual of sandalling was done in the Awadada's palace. So how can we have an Awadada in whose own stool room various chiefs' sandals are consecrated not being sandalled himself. This is preposterous.

Finally, when a regent is appointed to any stool rather than the Awoamezi, the person is called Fiadomegatala and he takes the stool name of the last chief whom he is acting for but without the number. If the chief is not deceased but only too young or ill or absent for a while then the regent is called Fiatefenola e.g. Togbi Gbanaglo tefenola. I have also never heard that a regent takes the name of a chief who had never existed as Mr. Francis Nyonyo Agboada is doing. Togbi Sri III is yet to be installed. As matters stand now, until the Awoamefia , Togbi Sri III is installed, the Awadada, Togbi Agbesi Awusu II is the one acting legitimately for the last Awoamefia, Togbi Adeladza II. This is exactly what happened in the period between the death of Togbi Amedor Kpegla I in 1906 until Togbi Sri II was enstooled in 1907 in succession to him. The Awadada, Togbi Katsriku II acted as Fia Amedor. And again in the period between the death of Togbi Sri II in 1956 and the installation of Togbi Adeladza II, it was the Awadada, Togbi Katsriku Awusu II who acted as the Awoamefia until Togbi Adeladza II was enstooled. In any case all recognized leaders of the three gates of the Royal Adzovia clan have disassociated themselves from the regency of Mr. Francis Nyonyo Agboada.

Even if a regent should be appointed as being erroneously claimed by Agboada and Dei Sadika, then it is logical that the regent should come from the Bate clan and not the Adzovia clan since the last Awoamefia was a Bate.

In conclusion, let it be clear that anybody who is ignorant and not well informed about Anlo traditions should keep quiet from now on. If you want to learn and know, ask from the authentic sources. Very elderly senior citizens of the land, who know the traditions, are there to learn from. Litigants and avaricious persons among us have done so much harm to the chieftaincy institution in Anlo. They should find something else to do; their spineless actions and utterances have blackmailed and intimidated innocent people. Over ambitious chiefs and some persons who are anxious to establish their places as kingmakers must spare us more agony of waiting for Awoamefia. There are so many ways by which those who fund these heinous distortions can use their wealth productively. At least l can recommend the establishment of libraries and museums for the Traditional Council and scholarship schemes to assist less endowed students. For how long should over ambition and peddling distortions go on?. Let us endeavour to leave a legacy of truth, togetherness and dedication as solid foundations for socio economic development to posterity. To be a chief by my understanding is to serve the people and not for personal aggrandizement, that is why the Anlos aptly describe a chief as someone "sacrificed" on behalf of his people. Col. A.K. Amuzu (Ameamu Gakpleazi) 102, Farm Vivian P. O. Box 3048 Accra.

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