19.01.2024 Feature Article

Matters Arising from the Offinso Chieftaincy Affairs - Part II

Matters Arising from the Offinso Chieftaincy Affairs - Part II
19.01.2024 LISTEN

Further to the Asantehene:

  • insulting the Offinsohemaa (Nana Amma Serwaa Nyarko); and
  • imposition of an illegitimate chief, Amoako Poku on Ofinso people,

on 8 January 2024, Asantehene did the unthinkable by ridiculously announcing that he has destooled the Offinsohemaa. I wonder who are advising Asantehene or is it that he is not heeding good counsel. History teaches that good leaders do not abuse their powers but are guided by proper advice.

In his pronouncement of the destoolment of Nana Nyarko, Asantehene cited an act of insubordination. Incredibly, Asantehene wanted Nana Nyarko to appear before him after inhumanly running her down, demeaning and disgracing her in public and to the entire world. Asantehene thinks he possesses the power of the entire universe so he can do whatever he wants without any accountability. Clearly, Asantehene does not have any power to destool the Offinsohemaa because he was not the one who enstooled her.

In any case, Nana Nyarko has demonstrated that she is a woman of high integrity and deep conviction, respecting herself and cannot be compelled to comply with Asantehene’s draconian and irresponsible dictates. Posterity will judge her favourably.

Moreover, Nana Serwaa Nyarko, who has been the Queen Mother of Offinso for about 37 years, was only in her late thirties when Nana Wiafe Akenten II nominated her. At that time, she was a trained teacher living with her husband and young children in Accra. When she moved to Offinso as the Queen Mother, her husband and children continued to stay in Accra, indicating the enormous sacrifice she and her family had to make. Yet, the Asantehene in his widest dream claims, he has destooled her because of his aversion for her for not supporting his illegal agenda.

I wish to advise Asantehene that the Asanteman Council is a loose confederation and all the individual towns and places forming part of the confederation are invariably independent.

The Asantehene is losing his credibility and respect for the unnecessary abuse of power. He engages in questionable:

  • promotion of some chiefs as paramount chiefs even in Brong Ahafo; and
  • enstoolment and/or destoolment of chiefs and queens, some based on subterfuges.

There are several instances of the Asantehene meddling in the chieftaincy affairs of independent towns including some in the Brong Ahafo Region. For example, currently, Asantehene has selected a parallel chief for Sampa and the majority of the people prefer the one installed by their own elders. This has created a significant tension, which caused a mayhem in the town in late November 2023, during an installation of one of the two parallel chiefs. Several people sustained severe injuries from gunshots and one person died.

In December 2023, the MP for Jaman North, Fedrick Yaw Ahenkwah, called for Parliamentary probe into the chieftaincy dispute causing the death in Sampa, with the people pointing their finger at the Police.

Elizabeth Kabukie Ocansey, reporting for the Citi Newsroom, wrote that the Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery when answering question in Parliament, stated ‘But as of today, we are not aware of any appeal against the ruling of the Otumfuo, we are not aware of any hot actions to restrain anybody, and therefore the police were there to maintain peace.” Where is the maintenance of peace when a person losses his life?

Clearly, Asantehene is partly to be blamed for the Police brutalities because of his unnecessary and unreasonable involvement and interference in Sampa chieftaincy affairs, as it is possible that he might have sent the police there to help push his dubious agenda to have his preferred individual unreasonably installed and imposed as a chief on people of Sampa.

In March 2019, Professor Kwame Osei Kwarteng, a Historian and the current Provost of the college of humanities and legal studies at University of Cape Coast stated:

Recently I saw a report in the media cataloguing Asantehene’s achievement which included solving chieftaincy problems but that is where I fault him the most. Upon ascending the throne he destooled several chiefs and enstooled new ones. Even when he adjudicates on a chieftaincy dispute and one faction feels unfairly treated and wants an appeal of the ruling he doesn’t allow that saying he’s the owner of the stool and he decides who to give it to irrespective of who the person is. That is where I think the Otumfuo has not done well.”

Some of the stools in Asanteman have a great history, an example is the Akwaboah stool which was established by Okomfo Anokye and Osei Tutu but the Asantehene has taken the stool from the rightful family and given it to another family who claims late Asantehene Opoku Ware established the stool for them. But everyone knows that this is not true, some of these things make some people in Asanteman feel they’ve been hard done by the Otumfuo, which may reduce the level of their loyalty to Asanteman. So this is where I think the Otumfuo has to up his game and get some of these things right. If you are to go round interviewing people you’ll realize that several of them are not happy with certain decisions of Otumfuo but they are not able to speak up.

The Professor’s statement is spot on. The Asantehene is doing an extreme damage to the Asante confederation due to his usurpation of the right to nominate chiefs from those that have the prerogative to do so.

In any case, Asantehene is accusing the Offinsohemaa of an act of insubordination after disrespecting her to the world. Asantehene, let me ask you, if you were doing something right and people of Offinso support it, why did you send soldiers and police there to torment and intimidate the residents? What are they doing there, and who pays for their activities?

You are becoming too autocratic that even when “Wontumi” is making some “political talk” you and your followers have issue and demand he appears before you. What a joke, how many times do people attack President Akuffo Addo and past Presidents, and yet they do not bother about them?

In any case, you are behaving like you are spotless, but there are awful incidents, which unfortunately your name was mentioned. While I am not alleging that you were a culprit, it was deeply concerning that your name will be mentioned irrespective of whether you are innocent:

Missing cocaine from a fishing vessel
A portion of the Accused's statements tendered in court and published by the Ghanaian media including Ghanaian Times and Joy Online, on 17 January 2007, stated:

An accused person in the trial of the missing parcels of cocaine from a fishing vessel at the Tema Port is said to have admitted in a police caution statement that ACP Kofi Boakye told him about rumours that a co-accused person had taken the cocaine to the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi for safe keeping.

Alhaji Issah Abass, the accused alleged that ACP Boakye, former Head of Operations of the Police Service, told him at a meeting at the Police Headquarters that he suspected that another accused person Kwabena Amaning, also known as Tagor, had taken the narcotic substance to Manhyia from where he was selling it.

When Justice Dotse, the trial judge, asked him [Detective Inspector Justice Oppong) whether he extended his investigations to Manhyia, Mr. Oppong said, "I did and that is why Alhaji Moro was brought in for interrogation".

While there is no evidence suggesting that the Asantehene had anything to do with the issue, it was profoundly disturbing that the Accused's statements cited the Asantehene’s Palace as the repository for the missing cocaine. This clearly indicates that in the least, one of the accused may have been his friend. In addition, I am not aware of any other Paramount Chief in Ghana, whose palace has been associated with such a serious illegal activity.

The Stolen of Asanteman Valuable in Norway.

In October 2012, it was reported that a suitcase of Asantehene containing important valuable was stolen from him. The suitcase was said to have been snatched from the lobby of the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel.

While the Asantehene’s secretary Kofi Owusu Boateng was quoted as saying "Anyone carrying something of great personal value will understand what a great loss it is when it is stolen,", he later told the BBC's Newsday programme it was "not such a big deal" and that only some rings and headgear were taken.

It is believed the stolen items were extremely valuable and the Secretary only sought to downplay the enormity of the issue due to concerns expressed at home. It is claimed that some Asante Chiefs such as Nana Osei Bonsu at Mampong were very disturbed by the loss of such important items. While some Peruvians were tried for the stealing, it is unclear whether the items were ever recovered.

My concern however is, why such important items in a suitcase was not properly attended? Given Asantehene travels with many people, how is that none of them actually held it for him? It clearly shows their carelessness including Asantehene himself, if the story was to be believed at it was reported.

Issue surrounding £350,000 and $200,000 transfers in UK

The Asantehene was reported in British newspapers to have given physical cash of £350,000 and $200,000 with consecutive serial numbers to a banker, Mr Arthur, to be deposited on his behalf at the Ghana International Bank Plc (UK), according to Tribunal documents. While Asantehene was cleared of any wrongdoing, particularly, in relation to money laundering, it is still strange that he could carry such significant amount to UK without using a bank transfer from Ghana or wherever he got the money from. It was an irresponsible act for the Asantehene to undertake. In the least, he brought the name of Asanteman and Ghana into disrepute and Mr Arthur lost his job as a result of feeling pressured to help him.

Andrew Amenyo in his article criticised Asantehene on this issue ( Asantehene’s conduct is indefensible ( )

Ostentatious lifestyle
In comparison with his predecessor, Nana Opoku Ware II, the current Asantehene is living an opulent lifestyle to the detriment of the people of Asanteman. He is always seen in a large convoy, sometimes longer than that of the President.

He flies in Chartered airplanes and when attending events such as the one in Brekum, accompanied by at least 20 VIP buses. The question is, how does Asantehene finance all these while no development is taking place in his own backyard Manhyia?

About a year ago, while passing by Manhyia I saw Prisoners weeding the large bushy area attached to his Manhyia compound, I asked myself, how much was he going to pay them? Or were they being used without receiving any decent pay?

Asantehene, despite you fly in chartered flights and etc, I find it appalling that you have not been able to build a decent auditorium at your own palace and that temporal shed have to be erected when you are sitting.

It is even shocking to see people using “papa” (local fan) to provide Asantehene with cool temperature and some wiping sweat on your face and armpit with handkerchief. Please do not tell me it is a tradition. Your fore uncles used that because at that time there were no fans and air conditioners. With the abundance of fans and air conditioners, why can’t you consider using them instead of someone disgustingly wiping your sweat in public, or is another way of showing your power and prominence? Frankly speaking, it is demeaning. Please consider using your status and power to build an appropriate auditorium with fans and air conditioners installed, or at least, a professionally designed permanent shed.

It is alleged that in the initial part of your reign, you forced all Kumasi homeowners to make some payments to you. You also forced all commercial building owners in Adum and other areas to pay exorbitant amounts to renew the leases on their properties. Please what did you use the colossal money collected for, or is that they are being used to finance your flamboyant lifestyle?

In conclusion
As explained above, Asantehene is autocratic, and his actions are causing disaffection in many places. Since he came into power, he has had confrontation with Tachimanhene and currently has ongoing issue with Dormaahene. His actions have alienated Attebubu, which has seceded from the Asanteman Council. According to a social media video, the people of Tanoso have warned him not to make any attempt to elevate their chief to a Paramount Chief because they serve Tachimanhene.

So Nana, where and when will you stop your autocracy? We live in a democratic era and the use of “bugabuga” to intimidate people and your questionable interference in local chieftaincy matters and etc, are negatively affecting your image and the cohesion of the Asanteman Council. What legacy will you leave behind once you are no more?

Your fore uncles such as the Osei Tutu with the help of Komfo Anokye, sacrificed tremendously to build Asanteman. Some died in wars and others like Nana Osei Agyemang Prempeh and Yaa Asantewaa were sent exile to Seychelles against their will for the sake of Asanteman. Yet, you are only interested in living extremely opulent lifestyle and abusing power, and gradually causing the disintegration of the Asante confederation.