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17.07.2018 Opinion

Samori's Relations With Gonja, 1895 - 1897

By Iddrisu Mahama
Samori's Relations With Gonja, 1895 - 1897
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A name commonly heard among the people of Gonja, an ancient kingdom founded by "Mande warriors believed to have been led by Jakpa ... who has been credited with many legendary achievements" [1] , was Samori. His full name was Samori Toure. He was 'said' to have been invited to conquer the Kingdom of Gonja, which was located in an area "stretching for about three hundred and twenty kilometres from Bole [a town in Ghana] in the west to Basari [a town] in the present-day Republic of Togo" [2] . A greater part of this area was found between the Black and White Volta Rivers which Samori Toure, the ruler of the Mandinka Empire from 1870 to 1898, claimed was within his territory [3] . The political history of Samori Toure is still widely spreading among peoples in Gonja and is orally passed from generation to generation.

After listening to many different sections of people in Gonjaland about various aspects of their past and that, compared to pieces of information gathered from available written sources, in my opinion, there is the need to do a thorough re-investigation on Gonja history, particularly the activities of Samori in Gonjaland and the impact on Gonja and its people. The aim of this article, therefore, is to re-examine existing literature about Samori in Gonjaland and suggest why and how he came to be involved in the affairs of Gonja. This document hopes to address an ancient issue which continuously disturbs the peaceful co-existence of the people of Gonja, particularly between the people of two divisions, Kong and Bole. Then, the facts gathered about Samori in Gonjaland will be put in a more acceptable historical perspective for posterity. From these lines of thought there is the need to give a brief account of Samori Toure.

Samori Toure was a Diula trading in gold from Wassulu [a town in modern Republic of Mali] and cattle from Futa Jalon [a town in the modern Republic of Sierra Leone]. As a trader, he might have visited many places up to Free Town, the capital of Sierra Leone [4] . During his travels, he probably came into contact with al-Hajj Umar, the ruler of what was known at the time as the Tokolor Empire. Hence, following al-Hajj Umar's example by about 1870 Samori had brought all the many small states found in the Wassulu area under his authority. These petty states were organised into what came later to be known as the Mandinka Empire. This empire covered 115 square miles [approx; 184 square kilometres], and was the third largest political unit of the Western Sudan [5] . Revisiting what past Mandinkan kings did, Samori's objective appeared to do what Mansa Musa had done for their fourteenth century ancestors. Like Mansa Musa who developed ancient Mali to an enviable height, Samori also stood for the revival of Mandinkan greatness and emphasized on the development of Islam [6] . Unfortunately, his vision was cut short due to intrusions by external forces, particularly the activities of European powers namely Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

These European powers had met at Berlin, the capital of Germany, in 1884/1885 and were said to have drawn guidelines to conveniently share up among themselves Africa's territory without trouble. Immediately after the Berlin Conference, European powers mindful of the terms agreed upon raced in competition to "enclose their spheres of influence for effective occupation and administration [7] . In other words, every contesting European power took steps to settle and administer the territories already acquired into their respective dominions. European powers also adopted measures to ward off others from their interest areas. For instance, to ward off the French and the Germans from annexing territories in Northern Ghana and also to halt Samori Toure who was spreading his empire west of Bono-Ahafo [Brong-Ahafo] and the Northern Territories, the British rushed to acquire what is today Northern and Upper Region [Upper East and West Regions] of Ghana [8] . This is highlighted as following.

George Ekem Ferguson, a Fante [ an ethnic group in Ghana], and other Agents who were in the service of the British Colonial Administration, had already undertaken tours in 1892 and 1897 and successfully signed treaties of Friendship and Commerce with some chiefs in Northern Ghana but never reported about Samori and his Sofa [warriors] [9] . Rather, in 1895 Webster and others indicated that Samori had conquered Kong [in modern Cote d'Ivoire], and that meant Samori's territory then shared boundary with Asante [Ashanti] [10] . Then, in December 1895, Kwame Yeboa, the Chief Linguist of King Agyeman of Gyaaman, also mentioned to the British Governor in Accra about Samori's plan to attack the people of Bouna and Bole and after that, the Nkronsas and Kwahus [11] . These pieces of information about Samori's intentions, perhaps, warned the British and the French who took immediate steps to either contain or clear off Samori and his Sofas from the sub-region.

The British, based in both Accra [Gold Coast] and Free Town [Sierra Leone], were making inroads to control areas they had earmarked into her dominion. In 1896, for instance, it was reported that the British forces took over Ashanti and later dispatched a force to the North and there captured the entire territory Samori claimed was part of his second Mandinka Empire. They, the British, hoisted the Union Jack [British Flag] in a number of towns including Bole and Wa [12] . The French were also based in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and they operated along the Senegal River Basin with the ambition "to conquer the whole of the Sudan" [13] . This meant including the entire Northern Territories of Ghana. Similarly like the British, the French signed Treaties of Protection with Chiefs who needed, as Songsore puts it, "mutual protection from more powerful neighbours" [14] .

Accepting European protection, African states at the time believed by that they would preserve their individual independence. Most of the Chiefs who had endorsed European treaties were said to have occupied parts of territories al-Hajj Umar and Samori Toure, two African rulers, claimed were within their Tokolor and Mandinka Empires, respectively. Similarly, the main objective of both al-Hajj Umar and Samori Toure might have also been to preserve the areas under their authority and, given the least opportunity, to further expand their territories. Hence, al-Hajj Umar and Samori Toure would do everything possible in their powers to protect their areas of control.

It has been explained that in order to preserve his independence, Samori adopted the policy of playing the British against the French and in the end lost the whole of his territory [15] . In 1892, for instance, as a result of French military pressures Samori Toure evacuated from his home territory of Wassulu, and by that meant he had abandoned the whole of the old Mandinka Empire [16] . Samori re-located eastwards to what was known as the second Mandinka Empire. Its capital was at Dabakala, a town between Kong [in Cote d'Ivoire; which was already under Samori, See p.3 of this article] and Asante [Ashanti Region] in Ghana [17] . This territory, according to Adu Boahen, stretched from Bouna to Northern Ghana [18] . The new location had its own challenges which would not help the course of Samori. One major task of Samori was to open outlets through which Samori's forces could easily obtain their food needs and military supplies such as fire-arms, ammunition and horses. These were needed badly but were not readily obtainable at the new location due to uncontrollable obstacles which confronted the Samorian forces. These challenges are being discussed in turns following.

To the south was the forest which served as a major obstacle because Samori's cavalry could not conveniently operate there. Samori could no longer obtain guns from the Gold Coast in the south because the British would no more allow this if noticed. To the west and north the French were pushing into the hinterland and causing Samori to re-locate as already mentioned. At the North-West were the Lobi, who were described as the most hostile and turbulent lot, who successfully resisted Samori's attacks over the years and preserved their independence [19] . Therefore, the only areas opened to Samori were towns located between the Black and White Volta River basins. This was the area where are located the Dagaaba communities, the Gonja Kingdom, the Waala Kingdom, the Nkronza and Kintampo communities. However, available records examined indicate that many of the chiefs in major towns in the areas referred to above had earlier entered into treaties with the British. In 1892, for instance, treaties were signed with the chiefs of Daboya, Wasipe and Bole [20] . Again in 1894, reports showed that the Chiefs of Bouna, Bondugu, Lobi and Wa towns had also endorsed treaties with the British [21] . Similar treaties were repeated in 1896 for obvious reasons with some of the earlier chiefs mentioned. These treaties signed did not mean the establishment of formal protection over the chiefs and peoples of the territories that had endorsed them. However, the treaties endorsed by African chiefs bounded each ruler to refrain from making new agreements with, accepting the protection of or ceding their territories to any foreign power without the consent of the British Government [22] .

The terms of the treaties endorsed by African chiefs, perhaps, to the understanding of Samori Toure were not applicable to African rulers because African nations were not Foreign Powers. Hence, Samori Toure planned a series of attacks on territories he had earmarked in the following order: Bouna and Bole in April 1896; Sankana in June 1896; Dokita and Wa in April 1897. The reasons for each of these attacks are discussed in the order listed above.

The town of Bouna was first to be attacked in early April 1896. The simple reason given for the attack was that the Bouna Masa [the Chief of Bouna] refused to hand over to Samori refugees from Tieba Kingdom with which Samori was at war. Therefore, Bouna was invaded to serve as a punishment to the chiefs or leaders and their people [23] . This seems incorrect. From a critical assessment of available documents concerning the activities of Samori, Bouna was attacked because of its strategic position. Bouna stood as the barrier to Samori's bit to penetrate into the hinterland and was a centre of trade, which would supply some of the needs of Samori's forces if captured. Bouna was attacked and captured in April 1896. After Bouna the next town attacked was Bole.

Some sections of Gonja people hold the view that Samori attacked Bole as a result of the invitation of Kongwura Abdulai Jamani in 1896 to enable him win the paramount seat or the Yagbonwuraship which became vacant since 1891 and claimants disputed for it. This view is orally passed on from generation to generation, particularly among some sections of Western Gonjas. This accusation, on the Chiefs and people of Kong, seems not accurate and for this reason the discussion is being undertaken. Basically, this point has always being used by Gonja Kingmakers at Traditional Council Meetings to stop the claim by the Chief of Kong to be considered for appointment as Yagbonwura when a vacancy exists. This greatly impacts on the peace and stability of people of Gonja, particularly the people of Kong. It is, therefore, suggested that one task for scholars of the present generation, especially those completing schools of higher learning, should be to investigate into aspects of the history of Gonja from foundation to present. This will give scholars and readers the opportunity to understand how and why their ancestors took certain decisions. These essays, hopefully, will and should unearth the truth about 'allegations' such as the one being discussed.

Similarly, and for instance, interestingly and unfortunately, some scholars continue to repeat the oral opinion of our ancestors without further and wider scrutiny. Quoting H. H. Tomilinson (1954), A. A. Illiasu, in his article (yet to be dated) The Gonja Revolution, mentioned that, "it was Abudulai Jamani who enlisted the aid of Samori's Sofa to further his claims for the paramountcy in 1894" [24] . Further, J. A. Braimah (1970) [25] and S. S. Tampuori (2016) [26] , two sons of Gonjaland, wrote the same view in their respective works. In a similar narration, Lepowura, M. N. D. Jawula (2010), in his article about the Yagbonwuraship remarked that:

Succession continued smoothly except in a few instances until 1830 when, Nyantakyi of Kong ascended the throne and on his demise it passed over to Tuluwe and then to Kusawgu. A dispute arose between Bole and Kong over succession and Kong did the unimaginable by soliciting external assistance from the notorious slave raider Samori and Kadia (Kandia). Samori and Kong people were defeated and this led to the expulsion of Kong and Kandia from the Kingship [27] . This is very incorrect for the reason that after Kusawgu, Kong was not eligible for the kingship and based on the rotation system put in place, Kong could not have put a claim. Using the year 1830 also seemed incorrect because Yagbonwura Nyantakyi ruled from 1858 to 1873 [28] .

The references made by some earlier writers, in the opinion of the writer of this article, seemed were quoted from a first oral version, probably, narrated by some chiefs who had the opportunity to be contacted by researchers or reporters for colonial administrations. The simple reason for making the later point is that, George Ekem Ferguson (a British Agent), who reported in 1892 and 1894 on the slightest vital issue affecting the region only indicated that, "the king of Gonja died about a year ago [1891], and there is anarchy in the country. The Kings of Kosod (Kusawgu), Gun (Kung) and Boniape (Tuluwe) were claimants to the stool" [29] . Similarly, another report said, "it was the turn of Abdulai Jamani but the other Divisional Chiefs disagreed with his candidature and therefore no election was held" [30] .

If so, and the question asked is why were the other Divisional Chiefs against the appointment and enskinment of Kongwura as the Yagbonwura in 1891 when the Yagbon skins became vacant? As Braimah mentioned, "there was a system of getting a Yagbonwura" [31] and why was that rule ignored? And yet for five years or more, Divisional Chiefs disputed over getting a successor onto the seat of the paramountcy until 1896, when Samori attacked Bole. After the war no report is yet found blaming Kong responsible for bringing Samori into the affairs of Gonja. For instance, Lieutenant Francis B. Henderson, another British Agent, who was directly involved in battles against Samori and also extensively reported on events in 1896/97 on the Northern Territories also failed to report on Kong and Samori alliance. In other words, Henderson's reports did not contain an important issue such as the invitation of Samori to Gonja. Perhaps, as will be discussed later, certain factors might have compelled some prominent Gonja Chiefs (particularly from Bole area) to frame a reason against the claim by Kong for the paramountcy.

Samori's attack on Gonja in 1896 made the Gonja Kingmakers to shelve the issue of getting a new King until the war was over. Towards the end of 1896, news heard were that Samori's forces were defeated at Sankana, a town in the present Upper West Region of Ghana [32] . The defeat at Sankana might have caused Samori to withdraw his forces stationed at Bole back to Bouna. The withdrawal of Samori's forces from Bole signaled the return of normalcy to the entire sub-region. Hence, the most important immediate issue confronting Gonja Chiefs and Kingmakers was getting a successor as the Yagbonwura. No report indicated that all the seven Divisional Chiefs met to choose a successor as the Yagbonwura. However, it was said that one Abudu, a prince from Bole was appointed Yagbonwura [33] . This was, perhaps and may be considered as, an indictment on Gonja customs for the simple reason that the immediate past Yagbonwuras, Dushi, Abudu and Saaka, were from Bole.

Therefore, various accounts by Chiefs and scholars on this subject matter need to be critically re-examined because, as already discussed, Ferguson and Henderson who earlier reported extensively on Gonja only reported the death of the King Seidu Dushi. The accusation leveled against Kong was not found in Ferguson and Henderson's reports, hence, the need for modern scholars to do an in-depth study and review portions of Gonja history like the Samorian attack on Bole. The simple reason for this assertion is that reports during past Gonja Council Meetings examined suggests that Bole Chiefs often vehemently opposed Kongwura any time he puts up a claim for the Yagbon skins [34] . This is still happening. The opinion and stand taken by Bole Chiefs which catches up with Bole youth does not go down well with other Gonjas. The question worth asking, with the apology desired, is why should the other chiefs continue to be silent or unconcerned on this matter? This question is asked from the simple understanding that knowledgeable older members of the other Gonja Divisions contacted refused commenting on the Kong-Bole-Samorian affair [35] . Hence, the need to do this research and point out the vital or main reasons for which Samori invaded Bole. These reasons are explained in turns as follows.

There was the complain by Samori that Bolewura prevented his agents from purchasing horses for his cavalry at Bole market and even treated them in "a very unfriendly manner" [36] . Secondly, that, caravans bringing horses from Mossi to him (Samori) were often intercepted by the Gonjas, the Grunshi and the Dagombas [37] . Sarankye Moro, Samori's son and leader of the expedition against Bouna also indicated that Bole refused to surrender refugees from Bouna back to him at Bouna and even killed some of his people [38] .

Another grievance was that, Bole Chiefs envisaging Samori would attack Bole secretly sought the help of Babatu. Babatu was the leader of an organised Zabarima group which encamped at Kassana, a village near Tumu town in the Upper West Region [39] .This allegation might have been true because, a report said, Babatu had stationed his forces along the banks of the Black Volta River, between Bole and Bouna, and that his arrival held Samori's forces in check [40] . The invitation of Babatu might have also infuriated Samori, who saw the need to immediately annex Bole. The attack on Bole was largely linked with a far-reaching objective, the need to find other outlets where firearms, ammunition and food supplies could be obtained. As pointed out earlier, the forest and the British were obstacles to the south, the French were at the northeast against Samori and the Lobi were at the southwest and prevented Samori's forces from getting access to places where they could obtain their needs. Therefore, Samori's direction turned eastwards and that was the only option. Thus, the direction on which Bole, the nearest lucrative commercial centre, was located.

Therefore, in April 1896, it was said that Samori's forces crossed the Black Volta River at Ntereso, a village on the old Bondugu road, and attacked Bole. It was also reported that every capable person in Bole went down and opposed the Samorians crossing at Ntereso. The battle initially on both sides could not be decided. But, later additional forces for Samori arrived and Bole was defeated. The defeat turned into a rout for many Bole people were killed and the environs of the town became shambles [41] . This horrible situational reported is still remembered among Gonjas and should be condemned by all. Thus, the task on scholars and students of history is to critically and fairly re-examine issues in Gonja oral history such as the discussed for the benefit of generations yet unborn.

After Bole, Samori's forces were grouped into three parts. Each part was assigned a direction and it was said that they began to overrun towns such as Buipe and Debre (in Gonja), Sankana, Dokita and Wa at the far northwest. These towns, as should be understood, were big commercial centers where Samori's forces would obtain food supplies, firearms, ammunitions, horses as well as strong energetic men. In June 1898, for instance, the Wa Naa, Seidu Takora, was said to have reported to Captain D. Mackworth (a British officer) why Sankana was attacked. The Wa Naa said that the Dagaaba towns were within the Kingdom of Wa but had asserted their independence in a series of wars against the Waala. That, attempts made by the Waala to bring the Chiefs and peoples of Kaleo, Sankana and other surrounding villages under the rule of Wa Naa failed. Therefore, Sankana was attacked [42] .

The reason the Wa Naa gave for the attack of the Dagaaba at Sankana, seemed untenable. This assertion is made because there were other big Dagaaba commercial towns namely Kaleo and Jang (Zang), which are very close to Wa but were sparred, and yet Sankana, which is located far in the interior, was rather attacked. By this example, it should be understood that both Samori and Babatu targeted lucrative commercial towns as well as densely populated areas where it was possible to raid and capture the young energetic youth as fighters. The remaining captives found not fit for military operations were sold as slaves. For such reasons Samori or Babatu would accept invitation from chiefs who seemed were struggling to stamp their authority on hitherto independent communities nearby. However, it seems the chiefs in quest of help were not careful with the kind of deals they contracted.

In fact, the Wa Naa very anxious to conquer the Dagaaba was said to have first invited Samori and promised to return all refugees in his custody and those in Dagaaba communities who escaped during Samori's wars with Bole and Bouna in 1896 [43] . Later, when the Wa Naa was reliably informed that Samori could not be predicted or trusted, the Wa Naa immediately sent a second invitation to Babatu and promised to reward him with 2,000 slaves if he assisted him to conquer the Dagaaba who he believed were previously part of the Waala kingdom. This assertion is yet to be investigated and clarified. Babatu was a slave raider who had encamped at Kassana, a village near Tumu, in the present Upper West Region [44] .

The Wa Naa, however, failed to stop Samori. Therefore, Samori's forces came to Wa across the Black Volta River and were camped at the present site of St. Francis Xavier Seminary School [45] . Babatu's forces also came from the east direction of Wa and were at the site now occupied by a cluster of villages: Yibile, Yaroo, Kpare, Gudaayiri, etc. [46] villages near Wa.

Based at the two different locations, Babatu and Samori supported the Waala to attack Sankana. It was said that, the Dagaaba, under the leadership of the Chief of Kaleo, a town eight kilometres north of Wa, mustered every capable man and attacked the Waala-Babatu-Samorian forces at Sankana. Towards the end of December 1896, it turned out that the Waala-Babatu-Samorian forces were defeated. Despite the defeat of Waala forces by the Dagaaba, it was reported that Babatu still asked the Wa Naa to pay to him the promised compensation of 2,000 captives [47] . When the Waala were unable to pay, Babatu turned round and attacked Wa, setting fire to parts of the town and left [48] .

Samori, who had earlier demanded for refugees who escaped to Wa and some Dagaaba communities during the war against Bole and Bouna, was said to have rather retreated temporally from Wa without asking for his reward. This was due to the humiliation they suffered at Sankana. The temporal withdrawal of Samori's forces from Wa enabled Henderson to enter Wa without encountering any obstacle. The news of the defeat of the Sofa at Sankana and their withdrawal from Wa hastened the withdrawal of the Sofas stationed at Bole [49] . This situation, and with the presence of British troops, might have signaled to people of the return of peace to Bole. Hence, a Bole prince, Abudu, who had taken part in the series of wars against Samori was enskinned as the Yagbonwura. Thus, the six years disagreement as to who was to become the Yagbonwura was then over. All previous claimants for the throne: Kusawgu, Kong and Tuluwe, as custom demands visited at different times and showed their respect to the Yagbonwura, who was temporally based at Bole. They pledged to support the 'new king' day and night [50] . There was no adverse reference or report found made by the Yagbonwura against Kongwura.

Basing on what has been discussed so far some remarks are made in connection with Samori's adventures in Gonjaland, particularly in Bole. The common assumption that Kongwura, Abdulai Jamani invited Samori and as a result Bole was attacked seems incorrect. The simple reason for making this assertion is that, Kongwura, Abdulai Jamani, was an in-law to Bole and had his children living in the town. The question to all Gonjas is, how can an in-law plan war against his own children's uncles? This, if done, was an abomination and customarily wrong and should be condemned. The ancestors of the people of Kong also continue to inform generations that there was rather a hidden opinion which led to the accusation leveled against the Chiefs and people of the Kong division. The unknown facts or opinion concerning the operations of Samori Toure in Gonja, specifically against Bole regarding the false accusation, are explained.

In 1908, it has been established that Yagbonwura Abudu had died and Bolewura Saaka became his immediate successor as the Yagbonwura. The seat of Bole then went to Bolewura Mahama. However, miraculously Yagbonwura Saaka, died at Sawla on his way to Nyanga to be ritually installed Yagbonwura. Immediately, an electoral college elected Bolewura Mahama to succeed Yagbonwura Saaka [51] , a position which he declined. Bolewura Mahama was said to have declined to be installed as Yagbonwura on two counts. First, the two previous Yagbonwuras, Abudu and Saaka, came from Bole. His acceptance would therefore mean going against the custom. Secondly, Bolewura Mahama feared he might also not live long. Therefore, Bolewura Mahama had to convince the other chiefs, particularly Divisional Chiefs, to allow him nominate amongst them a successor.

Having successfully or unsuccessfully convinced all the Divisional Chiefs, Bolewura Mahama was said to have persuaded the District Commissioner, Captain Aglionby to allow him to appoint a successor to Saaka. Captain Aglionby agreed and Mahama appointed one of his sub-chiefs Suripewura Lanyon. This dashed away the wishful thought of any chief. Hence, it was reported that a number of chiefs led by Mandariwura Yahaya disagreed with Lanyon's elevation on two counts: not a divisional chief and was the son of Kongwura who they said had enlisted the aid of Samori to attack Gonja. This explanation seems unconvincing. The simple reason for making this assertion and, probably the question to be asked was that; were the chiefs who were against Lanyon's appointment not aware that he was the son of Kongwura Abdulai and yet they made him a sub-chief in the Bole division?

The above question is suggested to highlight issues for readers to understand how and why Samori came to be involved in Gonja local politics. Despite the initial opposition, it was reported that Lanyon, the son of Kongwura, Abdulai Jamani, was enskinned as Yagbonwura in 1908, twelve years after the episode of Samori in 1896. This meant Gonja Kingmakers over ruled the accusation by Mandariwura Yahaya and other chiefs and installed Lanyon as the Yagbonwura. For two years his (Lanyon's) opponents were said to be on the ground planning and seeking the support of other chiefs and their subjects against the appointment of Yagbonwura Lanyon's. This was an issue which needed strong and convincing points to win against the customary decision. Thus, Divisional Chiefs and King-makers in 1908, many of whom were participants in the wars against Samori agreed for and witnessed a Kong-prince to be appointed as Yagbonwura, then, where laid the import of the allegation against members of the Kong Gate? To a large extent, in the writer's opinion, there was no merit in pursuing the case any longer and should be have been dropped.

Rightly suggested however, two years after Lanyon's appointment as Yagbonwura, it was reported that, Mandariwura Yahaya and forty-five chiefs petitioned the Northern Territories administration for the deposition of Yagbonwura Lanyon [52] . Following the discussion, it should be understood that the deskinment of Lanyon was therefore planned by Manderiwura Yahaya at the time for his own interest. He had the hint that Bolewura Mahama's interest was not to move to Yagbon any time the vacancy exists. If Bolewura Mahama failed to move to Yagbon, then, Mandariwura Yahaya, who eyed Bole, would not be enskinned as the Bolewura because the incumbent Mahama will remain there. Hence, Manderiwura Yahaya was said to have planned what to do if Mahama failed to move to Yagbon and also decides on a different candidate. The plan of Manderiwura Yahaya worked perfectly when Yagbonwura Abudu died and the issue of who occupies the Yagbon skins again came up.

Among many claimants, but, through the effort of Bolewura Mahama the throne went to Lanyon, who was then the Chief of Suripe, a town in the Bole division. This did not go down well with Manderiwura Yahaya and some other Bole Chiefs. Failure to enter Bole or Yagbon, Manderiwura Yahaya was said to have led forty-five chiefs who petitioned the British Colonial Administration against Lanyon's appointment on the concocted reasons that: Lanyon was a prince of Kong and his father brought Samori to attack Bole [53] . This was how the accusation leveled on the Chiefs and people of Kong began from about 1908. The main aim was just to get Yagbonwura Lanyon removed. Manderiwura Yahaya wishfully thought that by that he would be enskinned as Bolewura or Yagbonwura. Hence, Manderiwura Yahaya and the other petitioners concocted that convincing story for the attention of the British Commissioner: his father enlisted Samori to attack Gonja. Thus, this incorrect view point soon won the hearts of many other Chiefs and people in Gonja and tension was building up in several sections. Hence, the British Commissioner, having failed to critically investigate the issue, perhaps for lack of sufficient time and for the fear of local routings, in 1910 deposed Lanyon as the Yagbonwura [54] .

On 21st June 1910, the forty-five chiefs who petitioned against Yagbonwura Lanyon were reported to have constituted an electoral college and thereby appointed Bolewura Mahama as the new Yagbonwura. This was against the wish of Yagbonwura Mahama who was said to have remarked that his election was "irregular because both Kusawgu and Tuluwe had refused the skins of Yagbon" [55] , and Kong was unfairly and unjustifiably implicated. Yagbonwura Mahama, further remarked that, "he was convinced that it was because Yaya coveted the skins of Bole that he was kicked upstairs. People disliked me, he told Major Kortright, and therefore chose me for the skins. Someone wanted Bole skins and that is why it was done. Yaya, the present chief of Bole was the man" [56] .

It is also worth mentioning that none of the many reports studied indicated that there was a contract between Samori Toure and Abdulai Jamani. In other words, what was Samori Toure to gain from Abdulai Jamani after the war? This view point attracts several salient questions as follows: was the invitation of Samori Touri free? If not, what was the benefit for taking such a risky adventure? Did the people of Kong fight alongside the Samorian forces? Was Bolewura Mahama, an adult at the time of the Samori war, not aware of the alleged Kong involvement and yet appointed a prince from Kong as a Yagbonwura? The above, and similar other questions if addressed sufficiently would inform present Gonja Kingmakers what to do with Kong. Considering that mercenaries fight for gains in the case of Samori in Gonja no such deal concerning some sort of payment was found in the many reports examined. In the case of Wa, for instance, it has already been mentioned that Babatu was promised 2,000 captives and Samori was to receive refugees who had escaped during the Bole and Bouna wars of 1896 and were living in the Waala and the Dagaaba communities.

In conclusion, the above discussion explains the antecedences as to how and why the descendants of Kongwura Abdulai Jamani are implicated in Samori's adventures in Gonjaland. This brief account shows how the writer understood and interprets various sources of information of what happened in Gonjaland at the time. Readers should be their own judges regarding this ancient story about Gonja and Samori. It is hoped that many Gonjas after reading this article will serve as agents of change and educate the unfortunate majority who are unable to read in English to understand the ideas discussed. Enlightening the unfortunate majority Gonjas should be the best way to resolve the century old claim against the Kongwura and his people, the descendants of the first son of Ndewura Sumaila Jakpa, founder of Gonja [57] . The Kongwura and people wish to be back onto the Gonja Kingship list, a good reason to consider based on the common adage that says that the old man's mouth may be rotten and smells but not his words [58] . In other words, the ideas, decisions and actions earlier considered by Yagbonwura Mahama, who ruled Gonja from 1912 to 1937, concerning the re-instatement of Kong are still relevant.

By: Iddrisu Mahama (Ph.D.),
14th July, 2018.
[email protected]
PRAAD, Accra, ADM 58/5/6, Bole District Record Book, Vol.1, p.450

PRAAD, Accra, ADM 56/1/27, Monthly Report, Black Volta District, 1894;

PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/2, Collection of Treaties with Native Chiefs in West

PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/15, African West, Mission of Mr. G.E. Ferguson into the Hinterland in Enc.1 in No.39, 1892

PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/16, African West; Report from War Office to Colonial

Office, 27th August, 1894.
PRAAD, MFA 4/20, Ferguson's Missions into the Hinterland, 1892; 1894

PRAAD, MFA 4/20 Correspondence relative to Boundary Questions with France

in the Bend of the Niger, Enc.2 in No.3 W. Maxwell to J. Chamberlain,

December 17, 1895
PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, Enc. 1 in No.3, Statement by Officer Dambaru,

[Agent of Samori Toure], dated October 1895
PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, African West No.448, Pro. Co. 879/38, Enc. 1 in

No.45, Ferguson to Governor, 9th December, 1892. PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20,

Enc.1 in No.5, Henderson to Maxwell, January 1, 1897.

PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, Enc.2 in No.3 Statement of Kwesi Yeboa, dated

December 15, 1895
PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, Enc.1 in No.52, Henderson to Colonial Secretary,

January 1, 1897
PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, Enc.1 in No.3, Statement of Officer Dambaruu

[Agent of Samori], dated October 1895
PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, Enc.1 in No.52, Henderson to Maxwell, dated Bole,

January 1, 1897
PRAAD, Accra, C. O. 879/52, Enc.1 in No.382, Report on Wa by D. Mackworth,

June 6, 1898
PRAAD, Tamale, NRG 8/2/12, Native Affairs, Western Gonja

Information gathered at the chief's palace when members of

Gates or Wards pay Courtesy calls to a newly appointed King.

Boahen, Adu Topics in West African History, Schools Edition, London, Longmans, 1966

Buah, F. K.., A History of Ghana, London, Macmillan Press Ltd., 1980

Braimah, J.A., The Ashanti and Gonja at War, Accra, Ghana Publishing Corporation, 1970,

Dougah, J. C., Wa and Its People, Legon, Institute of African Studies, 1966

Levtzion, Nehemia. Muslims and Chiefs in West Africa: A Study of Islam in the

Middle Volta Basin in the Pre-Colonial Period, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1968,

Tampouri, Solomon Salifu. Gonja: The Mandingos in Ghana, London, Lightning Sources, U.K. Ltd., 2016

Webster, J. B. (e.t.a.l.) The Growth of African Civilisation: The Revolutionary Years: Africa

since1800. London, Longmans, 1967
Wilks, Ivor. Wa and the Wala; Islam and Polity in North-Western Ghana, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989

Holden, J. J., "The Samorian Impact on Buna: An Essay in Methodology", in African Perspectives, edited by C. Allan and F.W. Johnson,

Illiasu, A. A. "The Gonja Revolution: The Trail of Yagbongwura Mahama and Six Others", (undated)

Lepowura M. N. D. Jawula, "Succession in Gonja ... Demise of one King, Entry of the next", in Modern Ghana, February 4, 2010

Mahama, Iddrisu."Wa under British Colonial Rule, 1898-1957",(M.Phil. Thesis, Department of History, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, 1999)

Mahama, Iddrisu. A History of Wa, 1500-1900, (Unpublished. PhD. Thesis, Cape Coast,

University of Cape Coast, March, 2017)

[1] F. K. Buah, A History of Ghana, London, Macmillan Press Ltd., 1980, p.34.

[2] Ibid
[3] J. B. Webster, A.A. Boahen and H. O Idowu, The Growth of African Civilisation; The Revolutionary Years; Africa since1800. London, Longmans, 1967, pps.55-56

[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] Ibid
[7] Ibid
[8] F. K. Buah, A History of Ghana, p.34
[9] PRAAD, MFA 4/20, Ferguson's Missions into the Hinterland, 1892; 1894

[10] Webster,& Others, The Revolutionary Years; p.56

[11] PRAAD, MFA 4/20,Correspondence relative to Boundary Questions with France in the Bend of the Niger, Enc.2 in No.3 William Maxwell to Joseph Chamberlain, December 17, 1895

[12] .Webster,& Others, The Revolutionary Years; p.56

[13] Ibid, pps. 49-51
[14] Jacob Songsore, Regional Development in Ghana: The Theory and the Reality, New Edition, Accra, Woeli Publishing Services, 2011, p.27

[15] Ibid, p.51
[16] Ivor Wilks, Wa and the Wala; Islam and Polity in North-Western Ghana,

Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,1989, pps.120-121

[17] Ibid, p.51
[18] Adu Boahen, Topics in West African History, Schools Edition, London, Longmans, 1966, p.133

[19] Iddrisu Mahama, "Wa under British Colonial Rule, 1898-1957",(M.Phil Thesis, Department of History, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast,1999), p.50 and p .61

[20] PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/15, African West, Mission of Mr G.E. Ferguson into the Hinterland in Enc.1 in No.39, 1892, p.35

[21] PRAAD, Accra, ADM 56/1/27, Monthly Report, Black Volta District, 1894; PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/16, African West; Report from War Office to Colonial Office, 27th August, 1894.

[22] PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/2, Collection of Treaties with Native Chiefs in West Africa.

[23] PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, Enc. 1 in No.3, Statement by Officer Dambaru, [Agent of Samori Toure], dated October 1895.

[24] A.A Illiasu, "The Gonja Revolution: The Trail of Yagbongwura Mahama and Six Others", (undated)

[25] J. A. Braimah, The Ashanti and Gonja at War, Accra, Ghana Publishing Corporation, 1970, p.44

[26] Solomon Salifu Tampouri, Gonja: The Mandingos in Ghana, London, Lightning Sources UK. Ltd,, 2016. P.56

[27] Lepowura, M. N. D. Jawula, "Succession in Gonja ... Demise of one King, Entry of the next", Feb. 4, 2010, p. 2

[28] Wikipedia, "List of Rulers of Gonja, a Kingdom located in the North of Ghana", Editor Vmavanti.

[29] PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, African West No.448, Pro. Co. 879/38, Enc. 1 in No.45, Ferguson to Governor, 9th December, 1892. See Also; Nehemia Levtzion, Muslims and Chiefs in West Africa: A Study of Islam in the Middle Volta Basin in the Pre-Colonial Period, Oxford, Clarendan Press,1968,.p58

[30] PRAAD, Accra, ADM 58/5/6, Bole District Records, Vol.1, p.450

[31] J. A. Braimah, The Ashanti and Gonja at War, Accra, p.44

[32] J. C. Dougah, Wa and Its People, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana,1966, pps.23-24

[33] J. A. Braimah, The Ashanti and the Gonja at War, p.44

[34] PRAAD, Tamale, NRG 8/2/12, Native Affairs, Western Gonja

[35] An opinion by many Gonjas questioned on the subject: who invited Samori to attack Bole? Their answer suggests: we cannot explain but rather go to the Baulas themselves.

[36] PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, Enc.1 in No.3, Statement of Officer Dambaruu [agent of Samori]. Dated October 1895

[37] Ibid, Enc.1 in No.52, Henderson to Maxwell, dated Bole, January 1, 1897.

[38] PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, Enc.1 in No.5, Henderson to Maxwell, January 1, 1897.

[39]PRAAD, Accra, MFA 4/20, Enc.2 in No.3 Statement of Kwesi Yeboa, dated December 15, 1895.

[40] Ibid
[41] PRAAD, Accra, ADM 58/5/6, Bole District Record Book, Vol.1, p.450

[42]PRAAD, Accra, C. O. 879/52, Enc.1 in No.382, Report on Wa by D. Mackworth, June 6, 1898

[43] Ibid
[44] J. C. Dougah, Wa and Its People, Legon, Institute of African Studies, 1966, p.26

[45] I Mahama, A History of Wa, 1500-1900, (PhD. Thesis, Cape Coast,

University of Cape Coast, March, 2017, p.203)
[46] Ibid,
[47] PRAAD, Accra, C. O. 879/52, Enc. 1 in No. 382, Report on Wa by D. .Mackworth, June 6, 1898

[48] PRAAD, Accra, C. O. 879/52, Enc.1 in No.382, Report on Wa by D. .Mackworth, June 6, 1898

[49] Holden, J. J., "The Samorian Impact on Buna: An Essay in Methodology", in African Perspectives, edited by C. Allan and F.W. Johnson, pps.95, 96

[50] Information gathered from a cross section of Gonjas privately. That is also done by members of the various Gates/Wards when a new chief is newly appointed and installed.

[51] H. H. Tomlinson "The Customs, Constitution and History of the Gonja People", (Unpublished Thesis, Legon, University of Ghana, 1954, p. 21)

[52]PRAAD, Accra, ADM 56/1/70, NAG, District Commissioner, Bole to Acting Provincial Commissioner, Southern Province, 20th May, 1910

[53] Ibid
[54] Ibid
[55] Ibid
[56] PRAAD, Accra, ADM 56/4/8, NAG. Complaints, Re-Chief of Yabon

[57] Emmanuel Forster Tamakloe, A Brief History of the Dagamba People, Accra, Government Printing Office, 1931, p.25

[58] A Common Figurative Expression in languages of Peoples of Northern Ghana

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