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23.01.2015 Feature Article

Kumawuman not at war

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My mother Eno Darkwaah called me from Ghana and told me not to raise a voice on Kumawu Chieftaincy issue and I concurred with her but after sitting down for days, I thought I need to speak to the issue. It is proper to educate ourselves from the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the chieftaincy Act, 2008 on installation of chiefs in Asante in which Kumawu is a part.

The Article 270 section (3) sub-section (a) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana says the determination, in accordance with the appropriate customary law and usage, by a traditional council, a Regional House of Chiefs or a Chieftaincy Committee of any of them, of the validity of the nomination, election, selection, installation or deposition of a person as a chief. In addition, sub-section (b) says that a traditional council or a Regional House of Chiefs or the National House of Chiefs to establish and operate a procedure for the registration of chiefs and the public notification in the Gazette or otherwise of the status of persons as chiefs in Ghana.

Article 273 (1) states that the National House of Chiefs shall have appellate jurisdiction in any cause or matter affecting chieftaincy which have been determined by the Regional House of Chiefs in a region, from which appellate jurisdiction there shall be an appeal to the Supreme Court, with the leave of the National House of Chiefs or the Supreme Court. Section (2) the appellate jurisdiction of the National House of Chiefs shall be exercised by a Judicial Committee of the National House of Chiefs consisting of five persons appointed by that House from among its members.

Also article 277 declares that unless the context otherwise requires, "chief" means a person, who, hailing from the appropriate family and lineage, has been validly nominated, elected or selected and enstooled, enskinned or installed as a chief or queenmother in accordance with the relevant customary law and usage.

Article 57 section (1) of the Chieftaincy Act 2008, Act 759 says a chief is a person who, hailing from the appropriate family and lineage, has been validly nominated, elected or selected and enstooled enskinned or installed as a chief or queen mother in accordance with relevant customary law and usage

Sub-section 5 says that a person shall not be considered a chief for the performance of a function under this Act or any other enactment, unless that person has been registered for the performance of that function in the National Register of Chief and that person's name has been published in the Chieftaincy Bulletin.

Article 62 (2) also says that despite any provision of this act, an installation of a chief or queen mother is not valid unless at least fourteen days before the date of the installation, public notice of it, in accordance with the custom of the area been given.

The election and installation process in Kumawu

The election of Kumawu chief followed a pattern.
When the stool of Kumawu became vacant, the Okyeame and Gyaasehene ask the 'Ohenemaa' as the custom demands to give them person for the stool. The queen would ask for time and she would ask 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 do it 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. 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.

The Kumawu kingmakers goof
What happened at the Asanteman council indicated that the kingmakers failed Kumawu people. You cannot be A Christian and at the same time A Muslim. Watching the video tape on the proceeding of the Asanteman council one may question genuineness of the kingmakers. If the kingmakers knew, they did not want Dr. Sarfo why do they accept his thanksgiving drink. The kingmaker's double standard role has push kumawu into this mess that we are supervising now. Is time we change our king making system. The king makers in kumawu are the cause of all mess that we are supervising now. The video on the YouTube attest to this and it is very very disgraceful. The ritual demanded was very shameful act.

My question to Ghana Journalist
Is it Doctor Sarfo or Mr. Oduro who has gone through the above process? Is time we need to grow with customs. Customs and Traditions should be dynamic. Cultural Ethics is based in society. The moral judgment is shaped by those people experience when growing up and when entering other socializing environments. A journalist supposed to know the customs and Traditions in the environment he is operating in order to educate and inform the mass. Cultural Journalism practice is grounded in society as opposed to globalization and nature. Cultural Journalism practice holds that a journalist is shaped by his or her culture.

A problem encountered on journalism might be assessed in the context of the Ghana with all of its appropriate norms. As a journalist, you must be well vested with the cultural environment that you operate in. If not, you will always come into conflict with the society that you are serving. When it does happen, you will suffer the wrath of the society.

How can Kumawuman have two chiefs? Do we use violence in installing chief? Or without any process, can one call himself a chief, get journalists to report, and create panic in the system. Is quite unfortunate. Let stop this cheap and unjournalistic reporting about Kumawu .The media should be very careful and circumspect about some of the reports concerning the chieftaincy in Kumawu. One cannot just hide behind the media to create unnecessary anarchy in the area. Journalism is not about what you hear but what you have heard or seen and investigated. Is time the National Media commission, Ghana Journalists Association, National Communication Authority, the Security agencies and all agencies that matters take some of these cooked stories, analyze and call some of these reporters and media houses to order before they create confusion in that area. We cannot sit unconcern for some unpatriotic people to create tension there because of their egotistic interest. Edmund Lambeth proposed Ethical principle for committed journalism and some of them are tell the truth, behave justly, Act humanely, Behave responsibly, Don't cause harm, Act in a just manner and Try to make the world better. Each journalist is expected to go by this in order to make the world a better place. In addition, GJA code Article 11 talks about Separating Comments from Facts It states that while free to take positions on any issue, journalist should draw a clear line between comment, conjecture and fact. Reading about Graphic.com news on 19/01/2015 on ghanaweb.com about the unaccepted incident that happened in Kumawu One may question the unfairness and unprofessional journalism and how the media is helping to legitimate illegitimate. We have process and the 1992 constitution Article 277 and Chieftaincy Act, 2008 Act 759 states it, read and you will appreciate the kumawu Traditions very well. The police should look into some of the stories and invite some journalists for questioning. We use journalism to educate and inform.

To Self-acclaimed Chief Barima Tweneboa Kodua (Mr. Oduro)

Martin Luther king said, “Violence never solves problems but it only crates new and complicated ones. If we succumb to the temptation of using violence in our struggle for justice, unborn generations will be the recipients of long and desolate right of bitterness and our chief legacy reign of meaningless chaos”. Mr. Oduro, man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it and that is not right. Mr. Oduro Violence is an admission that one's ideas and goals cannot prevail on their own merits. Mr Oduro you submitted your drinks to the Queen mother of

Kumawu as the customs demand that you want to be a chief of Kumawu so if the process has failed you then you go through that

pocess again but you do not use aggression. In certain situations, manifesting anger is the right attitude; in others, it is not the right thing to manifest because it will only add to the violence. In the first case, anger unblocks the conflict and causes another to become more conscious. In the latter, it only adds to the unconsciousness and inflames the conflict. Is better you go back to the process that you tendered yourself in to correct any omission.

To the Security agencies
One cannot declare himself a chief of a Traditional area if he has not gone through formal customarily practice. The police could have stopped this mayhem that happened on Sunday because declaring yourself a chief of a Traditional area without going through formal customary practices is illegal in Ghana according to the Chieftaincy Act 2008, Act 759 . My question to the police is that can any Royal member gets up and declares him a chief in certain part of Ghana.

Kumawu do not want to experience another Juaso or Akyem swedru (Akyem Bosome Traditional Area). Any citizen who breaches the Public Order Act needs to be dealt with.

Alexander Afriyie,
Alexandria VA, USA

Alexander Afriyie
Alexander Afriyie, © 2015

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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