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16.02.2009 Regional News

Brong-Ahafo Region is 50yrs… But planned celebration in danger


The absence of a substantive Regional Minister, is thwarting efforts by the chiefs and people of the Brong Ahafo Region, to plan the Golden Jubilee celebration for the creation of the region. Ghana's first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, on April 4th 1959, created the Brong Ahafo Region.

The President of the Regional House of Chiefs, Osahene Kwaku Aterkyi, told The Chronicle in an interview in Sunyani recently, that the house was yet to put in place a Planning Committee, due the absence of a substantive Regional Minister.

Osahene Aterkyi, who is the Omanhene of the Kukuom Traditional area, said since the region had no Minister, and the leadership of the House of Chiefs was also new, the planning of the anniversary had been delayed.

He was however quick to add that by the end of February, measures would have been put in place to plan the celebration, and called on all the people in the region to contribute their quota to ensure a successful celebration.

Osahene Aterkyi also called for peace and harmony among the people, especially chiefs, to help reduce chieftaincy disputes in the region.

History indicates that the Brong Ahafo Region was created on 4th April 1959 (by the Brong Ahafo Region Act No. 18 of 1959), the Act defined the area of the Brong Ahafo Region to consist of the northern and the western part of the then Ashanti Region, and included the Prang and Yeji areas, that before the enactment of the Act formed part of the Northern Region.

Before the Ashanti Empire was conquered by the British in 1900, the Brong and Ahafo states in the north and northwest of Kumasi, (the capital of the Ashanti Empire and the present Ashanti Region), were part of it.

Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III traces his ancestry to King Akumfi Ameyaw I, under whose reign the Brong Kingdom, with its capital at Bono Manso, grew to become the most powerful kingdom of its time.

Indeed oral tradition has it that nearly all the different groups of the Akans, including the Asante, trace their origins to Bono, after migrating from the “north”.

The first remembered King of the Bono Kingdom is King Asaman, who is credited with leading his Akan people from, what may be present day Burkina Faso or even further north, to Bonoland (Buah, 1998). Later migrations led to the Asantes, Fantes, Denkyiras and other Akans settling in their present locations.

Nana Akumfi Ameyaw is credited with the creation of gold dust as a currency and gold weights as a measure, later developed and adopted by all the other Akan groups, particularly the Asante. Legend has it that he even supported his yam shoots with sticks made of pure gold.

It was when King Opoku Ware of Asante defeated the Bono in 1723 and destroyed Bono Manso, that the capital was moved to Techiman (Takyiman).

Techiman and other Bono states therefore came under the Asante Empire until 1948, when Akumfi Ameyaw III led the secession of Bono from Asante, supported by other Bono states such as Dormaa.

The most significant change the British administration in Ashanti brought to the people of the Brong and Ahafo states until 1935, was that it made them independent of the Kumasi clan chiefs (Busia, 1951, pp. 165-166).

The British administration worked out a strategy that severed the interference of the Kumasi clan chiefs with the internal affairs of the Brong and Ahafo states.

When the Ashanti Confederacy was restored in 1935 by the British administration, however, most of the Brong and Ahafo states saw that their independence from Ashanti was being threatened, because by restoring the Ashanti Confederacy, they were to revert to their former overlords in Kumasi.

Though the Brong states joined the Ashanti Confederacy, most of them were not happy with the re-union, because they felt their long historical association with Ashanti had brought them nothing.

The opportune time came, when in 1948 Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III, the Omanhene of Techiman, led Techiman to secede from the Ashanti confederacy. The secession of Techiman was supported by some of the Brong states, and this led to the formation of the dynamic Brong political movement, the Brong Kyempem Federation.

The movement was formed in April 1951, at Dormaa Ahenkro, under the auspices of the Dormaa State, with the main objective of struggling for a separate traditional council, and a separate region for the Brong Ahafo states.

The name of the movement was later changed to the Brong Kyempem Council. In March 1955, the Prime Minister informed the National Assembly that the government was considering “the possibility of setting up a Brong Kyempem Council,” to fulfill the desire of the Brongs for the establishment of a development committee for their area, and that the government would “examine the case for the establishment of two administrative regions for Ashanti.”

In March 1959, the Brong Ahafo Bill was passed under a certificate of urgency by Parliament, the Brong Ahafo Region Act was enacted after receiving the Governor General's assent, and Sunyani was made the capital of the new region.