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13.04.2007 Regional News

Succession To The Ga Stool — Confusion Rages

The controversy and confusion associated with who should ascend the Ga Stool deepened yesterday with the nomination of yet another Ga Mantse.

Two days to the coronation of King Tackie Tawiah III as the Ga Mantse, the groups which claim the right to nominate a new chief have emerged to either support or oppose it.

At a ceremony in Accra, the Abola Piam We, one of the four stool houses of the Ga State, nominated Nii Tackie Obli II, known in private life as Henry Nii Ayitey Ayitey, a 57-year-old publisher, to be the next Ga Mantse.

That is against the backdrop of the planned coronation at the Ga Mantse Palace tomorrow of King Tackie Tawiah III, who has already been nominated and installed as the Ga Mantse.

The confusion also brought in its wake the emergence of two rival Dzasetse of the Ga State, Nii Yaote Oto-Ga II and Nii Tetteh Quaye II.

While Nii Oto-Ga and his group have vowed to use all the power at their disposal to prevent the purported coronation of King Tackie Tawiah, Nii Tetteh Quaye, on the other hand, has assured the President of the Republic and all Ghanaians that the proposed coronation of the new Ga chief will come off as scheduled and that it will be peaceful.

Nii Quaye cautioned all those attempting to foment trouble in the Ga State to stop inflaming passions because "they are wasting their time".

The Dsasetse, who said this at a press conference organised in Accra to render his support to the new chief of the Ga State, therefore, implored all Gas to unite behind the new chief so that he could help to develop the Ga State.

Nii Quaye said currently there were a lot of good policies being introduced by the President on chieftaincy issues, adding that "instead of fighting against one another, we should join hands to ensure the development of the nation".

He also urged the Ga people to preach peace and also pray for the peace of the Ga State by supporting the coronation of King Tackie Tawiah.

Nii Oto-Ga, for his part, said the purported coronation "is alien to Ga custom and usage, since the customary rites for a Ga Mantse, by Ga custom, are performed only at Amugi Naa or Mojawe”, adding that “this is another attempt to legitimise the wrong process”.

He further argued that “the traditional council has no mandate in Ga custom to pick and choose a candidate for induction into the council as a member, other than the candidate presented by the Ga Dzaase”.

The Dzasetse enumerated the processes, including the confinement of the candidate by the Dzaase and subsequent enstoolment on a date to be determined, which must fall on the night of a Saturday.

“The following chiefs should be present, in accordance with custom and by tradition, to witness the ceremony: the Abola Mantse, the Gbese Mantse, the Asere Mantse, the Otublohum Mantse, the Sempe Mantse, the Ngleshie Mantse, the Akamajey Mantse and Nai Sakumo and Korle Wulomei,” Nii Oto-Ga said.

The GaDangme Council, for its part, has appealed to all parties concerned in the processes to enstool a new Ga Mantse to abide by all the laws relating to the matter.

A statement signed by its President, Mr K. B. Asante, and issued by the council in Accra said it was aware of a number of suits pending before appropriate adjudicating authorities for determination in relation to the enstoolment of a new Ga Mantse.

“It is the view of the council that the pending proceedings should be allowed to take their normal courses and nothing should be done by anyone to interfere with the administration of justice,” it said.

It expressed the hope that allowing justice to take its course was the surest way of maintaining peace and stability in the GaDangme State.

Nii Tackie Obli, who will later be presented to the Dsasetse and then enstooled as Ga Mantse today, went to six of the seven houses to be confirmed by elders of those houses.

The nominee went to the Dantu, Asene, Nii Kwaku Fi Tii, Klokloto, Frimpong and Ardey Akwa houses, where the elders of the houses confirmed him, after which a sheep was slaughtered.

The visit to the seven houses, according to sources, was an essential ritual which a nominee performed prior to his being sworn in and installed as King of the Ga State.

The yet-to-be-sworn Nii Tackie Obli, who was accompanied by some elders of the Abola Piam We, including Mr Adu Quarcoo, the Head of the Abola Piam We, Mr Adu Kotokro, the Ga Sentse, and D. C. Nartey, who are also elders of the Abola Piam We, will visit the eighth house, which is the Sakumono We, some time next week for the final confirmation ceremony.

The Spokesperson for Nii Obli, Mr James Lamptey, said the nomination had become necessary since three of the four stool houses had enstooled two successive chiefs. It was, therefore, the turn of the Abola Piam We to also have its turn in nominating a person.

At all the houses, women and the youth who were dressed in white and had smeared themselves with powder received the nominee amidst songs and jubilation.

In a related development, Mr Willie Amarfio, counsel for King Tackie Tawiah, has dismissed claims by members of the Abola Piam We that it was their turn to nominate a candidate for enstoolment as Ga Mantse.

He said the custom of the Gas pertaining to the rotation of the kingship required that the mantle of a newly- enstooled Ga Mantse was passed on to the next ruling house to serve as evidence of its turn to rule.

According to Mr Amarfio, the mantle of the late Ga Mantse, Boni Nii Amugi II, had been in the possession of the Teiko Tsuru We for more than 39 years now “so it is not the turn of the Abola Piam We as they claim”.

He told the Daily Graphic that the protests being made by various groups against the propriety of the enstoolment of King Tackie Tawiah did not hold water, pointing out that “they are only changing the goalposts to suit their whims and caprices”.

Story By Kofi Yeboah, Charles Okine, Becky Duho and Augustina Tawiah.