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03.03.2014 Feature Article

How Barima Stool of Kumawu is enstooled

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The election of Barima stool of Kumawu followed a pattern. Anytime Barima the Stool become vacant, all the individual Royal member who qualify and willing to ascend into the throne are encouraged to show interest

When the stool of Kumawu became unoccupied, the Okyeame and Gyaasehene ask the 'Ohenemaa' as the custom demands to give them person for the stool. The queen would asked for time and she would asked the royal family members to show interest.

Any royal member can appeal through any of the sub-chiefs in the palace for the stool.

When they get the people, the family would do some investigations about persons that they are presenting and the sub-chiefs will also do their after presentation.

The Gyaasehene or Okyeame can asked the kingmakers to give them chance to select their own person, if three persons were rejected by the kingmakers. They usually eliminate drunkards, thieves, murderers, womanisers, or person with bad moral character, which cause disgrace to the stool.

If they accepted him, he will be given to Gyaase or Ankobea group to look after him for 40 days then the chief will swear to the state elders and the sub-chiefs will advise him before he swears the oath.

It is worth to note that the succession to the office is through royal Aduana lineage. Kumawu decent is traced through the mother line, for traditional conception is that physical continuity between one generation and another maintained by blood, which is transmitted through her.

The lineage traces their descent in the matrilineal line to common ancestors. The king is appointed from the royal family (Adehye), which is believed to be the founding members of the town, or it was alternatively due to have the people of the state to this area that developed into autonomy.

The choice of King is most probably determined by the person bravery, intelligence, and capability of the individual to lead force of the community, all the time and he is the best individual undoubtedly the community could produce. In the old times, they selected a person who could fight, that is why his selection lay chiefly in the hands of the war captains, Kontire and Akwamu.

The person selected will take his oath before the elders about fifteen days after the death, possibly on a Monday following Akwasidae.

The Aseda was paid on a Tuesday and the following Thursday they will take their oath of allegiance before the blackened stool was brought to the market place where the oath was taken and they change his cloth, immediately in front of an “Asipim chair”, upon which the chief sat, he place his left foot upon the crown of the hands of his elders, who bowed before him taking the oath. The 'wirempefo' had returned the stool on payment of certain amount (E.4.13) at first.

The white stool of the late chief had been blackened by the abrafoo and the stool carriers (nkonwasoafoo). The new chief was an nkwankwahene until after the below mentioned ceremony, so far as his subjects were concerned, he became a full chief but until he had taken his oath before the Asantehene he was still nkwankwahene to that monarch and to other head chiefs divisions of the Asante.

Note: Barima Kwame Afram was an nkwankwahene to the Asante monarch when he first ascended the throne because he could not swear the oath of allegiance to Asantehene Prempeh I before he was exiled in 1896.

The Aseda sent to the king and other Amanhene was by way of announcing the enstoolment in their court, which served as a record of the event.

After all these rites, the chief is then acknowledged as the successor of his ancestor. He therefore takes on a stool name, usually that of an ancestor and he becomes the head of the division. He visits each village under his authority to thank his people and to show himself to the gods.

In Kumawu the new chief is paraded through the principal streets, in a palanquin. During the swearing-in-ceremony, the chief swear by pronouncing words such as ''I Nana (for example. Asumadu), I hereby swear that from today onwards if I am called by my people on any time of the day, I pledge to respond to the call except in sickness. If I refused to respond to the call of the people, may the ancestors and the gods deal with me''.

This is crowned with drumming and dancing, from that day onwards, the chief becomes the political leader of the Kumawu traditional area.

He performs judicial, executive, legislature, religious, social, culture functions and other roles.

The influence of the chief is only measured by the strength of his character, in terms of provision of schools, clinics, hospital pipe borne water, construction of road, and Educational Endowment fund to support brilliant but needy people.

After the formal introduction, the acceptance of the thanksgiving fees, the ''akyeame'' prompted the heads of the main sections of the political community, to give advice to the new stool holder on what he was expected to do or not to do as a rule.

For exmple. A typical advice recited by an Okyeame, runs as follow. We do not wish that he should reveal the origin of any person. We do not wish that he should curse us.

We do not wish him to be greedy.
We do not wish he should refuse to listen to advice.

We do not wish that he calls people 'fools'.
We do not wish that he should act without advice
We wish that he would always have time for advisers

We do not want personal violence
The most important meaning of this advice was that he should respect people and rule with the advice and consent of the governed.

Alexander Afriyie (Alexzoo) USA

Alexander Afriyie
Alexander Afriyie, © 2014

The author has 7 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: AlexanderAfriyie

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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