The chieftaincy dispute in Kwabeng in the Atiwa District in the Eastern Region has deepened, with two personalities parading themselves as chiefs of the town.
Kwabeng, which is the Gyase Division of the Akyem Abuakwa State, has been without a substantive chief since 2009 when Daasebre Darkwa Woe passed on.
Yesterday, police from the Eastern Regional Command stormed the town to prevent a possible clash between the two factions when reports filtered through that Daasebre Oti Bonku was to be installed as the chief of the town and Gyasehene of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area.
The police arrested Daasebre Bonku and eight others yesterday for attempts that threatened to breach the peace of the town.
Daasebre Bonku, known in private life as Colonel Kojo Abede Asomaning Awuti, was last week paraded through the principal streets of Kwabeng as the new chief of the town.
About two weeks ago, the Kokobeng Family also installed Daasebre Oware Aboagye Nkwantabisa I, known in private life as Professor Aboagye Kyei, a lecturer at the University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, as the Kwabenghene.
Daasebre Bonku hails from the Akanewen Family which had been on the Kwabeng Stool since 1701, as against the Kokobeng Family which has never occupied the stool.
The police gave the names of the eight people who were arrested as Kojo Frempong, Kwabena Ntonin, Osahene Antwi, Enoch Oteng Danso, Kwadwo Sandi, Kofi Asomaning and another whose name was only given as Breman.
They were arrested with the chief in the stool house when they were about to perform some rites.
At the time of going to press, Daasebre Bonku had been sent to the Eastern Regional Minister, Mrs Helen Adjoa Ntoso, to see how best she could resolve the problem, while the rest were being kept behind the counter at the Eastern Regional Police Headquarters in Koforidua.
A court recently ruled in favour of the Kokobeng Family and the family took Daasebre Nkwantabisa through the necessary rites outside the palace before parading him through the streets of Kwabeng and then to his private house.
On the other hand, Daasebre Bonku had his rites performed in the palace before being paraded through the town, with hundreds of people lining up the streets to catch a glimpse of him.
When the Daily Graphic visited Kwabeng yesterday, all the rooms in the Akanewen Family Stool House, as well as the palace, had been locked, just as those in Daasebre Nkwantabisa's private house.
Policemen have also been positioned at vantage points in the town, although there has not been any confrontation between the two groups.
An elderly woman at the Akanewen Family Stool House, Obaapanin Akosua Adei, stated that Daasebre Bonku and the eight others were picked up in their rooms in the morning.
She claimed that Daasebre Nkwantabisa could not be a chief, adding, 'Where were they for the past 300 years?'
The Mmamahene of the Akanewen Family, Nana Boakye Darkwa, also expressed surprise at the arrest of Daasebre Bonku and his group, since they were not doing anything outside the stool house to disturb public peace.
At Daasebre Nkwantabisa's private residence, his elder sister, Obaapanin Abena Okraa, said her brother had gone through the rites, including swearing before the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin.
She said it was the turn of the Kokoben Family to occupy the Kwabeng Stool and explained that one of its royals, Opanin Kwadwo Amankwa, who attempted to occupy the stool about 30 years ago, died under mysterious circumstances, for which reason nobody from the family attempted to occupy it ever since until her brother gathered courage to do so this year.
At the Eastern Regional Police Headquarters, the Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr Akuribah Yaagy, said although those under arrest claimed they had only been in the stool house without doing anything to disturb public peace, the police would carry out investigations into the matter.
He said the police had to act to fulfill a High Court order restraining Daasebre Bonku and his group.
By A. Kofoya-Tetteh/Daily Graphic/Ghana