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23.11.2009 Regional News

BLOODY CLASH OVER ODUMASE CHIEFTANCY DISPUTE… Three sustain gun wounds, 24 remanded into prison custody

By Isaac Akwetey, Odumase - Ghanaian Chronicle
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All hell broke loose at Odumaase, in the Lower Manya Krobo District of the Eastern Region, during the wee hours of last Friday, when members of the Pierngua Clan, resorted to the exchange of gunfire to address their long-drawn-out chieftaincy dispute, between the sitting Pierngua Divisional Chief of the Manya Traditional Area, Nene Tetteh Zogli III, and one Martin, a military personnel.

Residents of the area were held to ransom as the warlike and unscrupulous supporters of the two factions turned the area into a war zone, and in the process, three persons sustained various degrees of gun wounds.

But, for the timely intervention of personnel drawn from the Akuse and Greater Accra Police Commands, the situation would have been devastating, as the news spread like a bushfire, panicking residents who run helter-skelter for their lives.

In the process, 24 suspected persons were arrested by the police, and subsequently remanded into prison custody by an Odumase Magistrate Court, to reappear on December 2, this year.

This was confirmed by the Akuse District Police Commander, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Bernard Twum Barimah, when contacted by the paper shortly after sanity and peace had been restored.

He, however, declined to give detailed information as to what triggered the fight, since the police were still investigating the circumstances that led to the clash.

But, the paper's investigation revealed an interesting development.

The Chronicle was told that even before the enstoolment of Nene Tetteh Zogli III, who was customarily enstooled as the Divisional Chief of the Manya Krobo Traditional Area, and also a member of the clan some two years ago, there was one Nene Angmortey Zogli II, a divisional chief of the area from the same Pierngua Clan, who held that position

The paper gathered that, Nene Zogli III was enstooled on grounds that Nene Zogli II decided to voluntarily bring his kingship to an end, as a result of a misunderstanding between him and the Paramount Chief of the area, Nene Sackitey I.

According to news making rounds in the town, Nene Zogli II, who was then playing the dual role of an Acting Paramount Chief and Divisional Chief of the Manya Krobo Traditional Area, somewhere 2003, asked the elders of the Council to postpone that year's Ngmayem Festival, since the area was not having a substantive Paramount Chief, as well restrain Nene Sackitey from sitting in the royal palanquin.

This advice, the paper noted, did not go down well with Nene Sackitey, who had not been gazetted by then as the Paramount Chief of the area, and went on to celebrate the annual festival.

Due to this, Nene Zogli II decided not to join that year's festival, since he considered the celebrations as untraditional, and at the durbar, Nene Sackite declared that any chief who had absented himself from the celebrations, should not attend any gathering of the chief and people of the area from then on.

Nene Zogli II, upon that remark, decided to vacate his seat, and Nene Zogli III was subsequently enstooled as the next Divisional Chief of the area.

But this development did not go down well with some of the family members, who thought Nene Zogli III was not the legitimate person to be enstooled.

Thus the dissatisfied members decided to take the case to court for redress, but the Standing Committee of the Traditional Council had a different view, as they demanded for an out of court settlement.

The problem has not been settled until last Friday, when the dissatisfied family members also decided to outdoor one Martin, a military personnel, as the new Divisional Chief of the area.

Their happy moment was turned bloody when supporters of Nene Zogli III started opening fire on them just at they performed final customary rites at the family shrine.

In a related development, elders of five out of the six divisional clans of the Yilo Krobo Traditional Area, have also called on the government, particularly the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, to restrain Nene Tetteh Odonkor Tume, from parading himself as the Acting President of the area, as a matter of urgency, before disaster strikes.

Their bone of contention stemmed from the fact that Nene Tume I does not hail from any divisional clan, hence any attempt to impose him as the Acting President of the area, would lead to customary unrest, disunity, confusion, insecurity, and the possible breakout of violence.

This was contained in a press release, which was jointly signed by the Divisional Chief of Plau, Nene Tetteh Agbleze III, Stool Father of the Okper Aduman-Kordum Royal Clan, Odehebi Keklebesi Apana, and the High Priest of the Kotoklo Shrine, Wanomo Wetse Aseeni.

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