24.03.2010 Feature Article

Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., And The Asanteman Council, What Did He Say Wrong?

Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., And The Asanteman Council, What Did He Say Wrong?
24.03.2010 LISTEN

Newspaper reports indicate that "The Chief of Nsima in the Ashanti Region, Nana Nkansah Boadum Ayeboafo, has replied Kwesi Pratt Jnr., on some unsavoury remarks he made against the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu last week on a number of radio stations in Accra."

The reports continue that in an interaction with a cross-section of journalists in Kumasi, Nana Nkansah Boadum noted that "the attitude of Kwesi Pratt shows how disrespectful he is to the elderly in society adding that 'if that Pratt does not respect his chiefs, we respect our king and will not sit unconcerned for people like him to show disrespect to our King'”

The story says "He expressed the willingness and readiness of Asantes to defend the dignity of Asanteman and the occupant of the Golden Stool and would never allow Mr. Pratt to continue making such statements about their king."

Aparently, if the chief really want the chieftaincy institution to be respected, he would need to listen to what Kwesi Pratt is saying, if they are against running away and leaving their sandals behind!

"The Today newspaper is reliably informed that although the overlord of the Asante is not too keen on taking issues with Pratt and his ilk, others from his chieftain have sworn not to let the issue die. It is envisaged that the Asanteman council would be meeting this week to review the Tuobodom-Techiman chieftaincy issue and from very reliable sources, Kwesi Pratt's insulting behavior will be one of the issue that will engage the attention of the council."

What is wrong with what Kwesi is saying here below? Here is an attempt to translate the said radio discussion which appears in the : "Listen to the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. stating that it is high time we stopped glorifying our Chieftancy institutions, during a panel discussion on Peace Fm's "kokrokoo" programme" for all to see and hear what it is exactly Kwesi was talking about! I wish someone would ne kind enough to send a copy to to Nana Nkansah Boadum, for onward transmission to the Asanteman council in helping them in their deliberations over:

"Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr., who is the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper and a known social commentator, has been vilifying the Asante King any time an issue comes in relation to Asantes and their chiefs and warned that this time round they were prepared to take up issues with the anti-Asante journalist..."

What exactly did Kwesi say? Dear reader, read on and judge for yourself! Kwesi Pratt's point is that no one is above the law. It seems through these veiled threats, someone is thinking of confirming the exasperation of not only Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., but an overwhelming number of Ghanaians from all the four corners of the country! I have taken the trouble to do the transcription for those who undertand Twi to judge for themselves!

: Listen to the Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper,Kwesi Pratt Jnr. stating that it is high time we stopped glorifying our Chieftancy institutions, during a panel discussion on Peace Fm's "kokrokoo" programme

"We Are Fed Up With Our Chiefs" - Kwesi Pratt
KWWESI PRATT, JNR.: "If you go into history, the war between the Asantes and Techiman was due to the lies of someone. Someone, who was sent by the people of Techiman to carry gold and other precious stones to the King of Asante, went away and replaced the gold on the way. So, when they opened the sack, it was filled with worthless things. This brought that particular war about. It was due to their intermediary. The one who was sent to deliver the goods to Asanteman and rather changed the gift on the way, this is the one who brought that war about. Right now, the Tuobodom and Asante case that we are talking about, what is the main point in all this? The main point is that the chief of Tuobodom claims he has been kidnapped, he been made naked, and tortured and asked to swear he is not under the Asante King. In any case, the is this the truth? For all you know, these are not all the facts. It may be the facts, but for all you know, it may not turn out to be the facts. So, until investigations and fact-finding and something concrete to stand upon, can we stand on this and do what we are doing? Is this right?

The history itself does not guide us in this particular instant. So for me, this aspect disturbs me a lot. What is the principal issue of this case? The main issue is that some people decided to kill the chief of Techiman and actually fired shots which hit and wounded some of the members of his entourage, who are up till now, unable to walk. This is already pending as a case. You see what I mean? So, if you look at the case from the beginning to the end, it seems as though each and every protagonist in the case appears to have broken the law. I am intentionally choosing my words very carefully: "appears to have broken the law" because those who made the attempt to kill the chief of Techiman, who went to shoot, what has been said so far about that? What punishment has been meted against them? Those who, if true, broke the law and kidnapped the chief of Tuobodom to do wicked things to him, if true, that also is against the law.

Finally, finally, Master, what I am saying here is a bit heavy for my mouth, but I have to speak the truth. Finally, finally, the Otumfuo who organised a durbar into which he sat and proclaimed he would also kidnap the chief of Techiman, is this also according to the law? Is this a proper thing to do? That the Otumfuo claims to be giving the government an ultimatum, and that if the government fails to follow his ultimatum, and the chief of Techiman is found on within his territory, he would organise his kidnapping and be sent to his palace and so on, is this also good? In my opinion this is also not good! Some people are saying he spoke out of anger. Master, it behoves on our elders not to speak in anger! That is the difference between "elders" and the ordinary people. You simply do not speak in anger! Anyone who speaks out of anger does not speak well. So the fact that he spoke out of anger is no excuse to the kind of things he said.

Meanwhile, it is written in the 1992 Constitution that the chiefs must not interfere in politics. Otumfuo says the government has to choose between him and Tachiman. What is the basis of that? Why should any government choose between any people? Why should any government choose between the people of Apam and the people of Winneba? What is the basis of that choice? Why should any government choose between Tamale and Bolgatanga? Why? Where is this also from? I am disgusted by what is happ...! Because, as we all discuss this matter, before the last word is said, if we do not take care, as Master Kofi Juamah said, if care is not taken, it is a very big trouble that is coming. And this big trouble, the elders who are speaking in the way which could cause trouble, when the trouble comes, it does not touch them. When some youth of Kumasi picked up sticks and descended on the Tachiman station, no chief was injured, no child of a chief was affected. When the Techiman people got angry and retaliated, no chief sustained any injury, no child of any cheif was hurt. So in the long run, it is the ordinary people who suffer for nothing. They are just going to suffer for nothing because of the irresponsibility of some of our elders. In any case, Master, these chieftaincy affairs, we are tired of chieftaincy affairs! Why? March 2010, March, 2010, we are still glorifying the chieftaincy institution, what is that institution? The most undemocratic institution, how does one become a chief? It is based on blood relations. One's ancestor's went to conquer this one and conquered that one. They were slave-raiders and so on, and therefore one is a chief. That is the basis of selecting chiefs. No democracy in it at all!

All over the country, our chiefs, lands that our "Nananom" (ancestors) have left behind for us are being sold in order for them to indulge in frivolities! They sell them "by heart" (by rote, i.e "without thinking"), no accountability, ... then afterwards, they open their mouths, not to say things that even lead to peace and prosperity, they open their mouths and it is "War!" Go to Bawku today and see for yourself. Go to Yendi and see. There is fire everywhere why? If this is how they are going to behave, then as Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said, "A time would come when the chiefs would run away and leave their sandals behind"! We are fed up with all of this, how....?"

Transcript certified by Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro. Please help with translations! Send comments to my blog! I tweet some of my comments on facebook and on twitter. If you agree or disagree with me, you may follow my thinking and reactions in a more comprehensive manner by coming to I keep most of my comments in one place. You may leave comments directly at:

Forward Ever! Backwards Never!!!

Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.