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30.07.2019 Feature Article

Has Chieftaincy Become A Curse To The People Of Ahanta Instead Of Blessings?

Has Chieftaincy Become A Curse To The People Of Ahanta Instead Of Blessings?
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Ahantas are very ancient people who have survived all forces of nature and threats of extinction to have come this far. We did not fall from the skies to settle between Pra and Ankobra rivers, presently in the Western Region of Ghana. No! Our forefathers wagged battles and conquered their way to our present areas of settlements, stretching from river Pra to river Ankobra. Our forefathers carried the Ahanta nation on their shoulders and at the perils of their lives, they moved through thick and thin to bring us this far. They shed their blood for Ahanta and so it is very disheartening to see the mighty Ahanta in her present condition with no strong traditional leader.

Our forefathers moved from the old Nubia kingdom through Egypt and settled at Western Sudan and later to the old Ghana empire, to Kong and circumvented the Tano river to Takyiman in the Bono kingdom before descending further down the Sahara to cross the Pra river in 1229. It is actually the crossing of the Pra river which resulted in us being named Ahanta or Ayinda. Legends and myths narrates that after crossing the Pra river, our forefathers decided to dry their clothes and warm themselves in the sun and so the neighbouring Fantes named them Ahatafo - people who warm or dry themselves in the sun.

For Ahanta to have survived up to this time is not by mere chances and lucks of survival but responsible leadership which was key and critical as exhibited by our forefathers particularly by the chiefs and kings who led the people. Chiefs and queens who were responsible and accountable to the people brought us this far. Chiefs and queens who were very sensitive to the plights of their people and were ready to sacrifice their own comforts and pleasure brought us this far. Our forefathers were mighty and great people who fought their way through thick and thin to bring Ahanta this far and so it is so shameful and disgraceful when one looks at the present situation of Ahanta and her people. It hurt to see Ahanta bedeviled with disunity, petty land litigations , poverty and diseases even though we have people who parade themselves as chiefs of Ahanta.

Our forefathers faced diseases and pestilences, crossed rivers and streams and at many times they came face to face with death and died when the need be just for sake of their future generations. A lot of them sacrificed their lives and died painfully for the sake of Ahanta and so we have responsibilities as their descendants to continously hold on to the pride and dignity of Ahanta. Many tribes and languages have died but Ahanta has survived all these threats of extinction up to date and that is because we had abled chiefs, queens and people who placed their lives in line to protect Ahanta and its identity.

Ahanta naturally hated to be ruled by others and so when the kingdom of Nubia fell, our people just like all Akans migrated and settled at Western Sudan and during the Muslim invasion of Sudan, Ahantas put up a fierce battle and later joined waves of Akans who were migrating from Sudan to curb Islamic influences. Together with all Akans they formed the old Ghana empire where they traded in gold, salt and ivory. They were industrious and prosperous people in the old Ghana empire. The old Ghana empire collapsed and again, the Ahantas did not want to be ruled and dominated and so they left for Kong as many Akans were migrating there. They circumvented the Tano River and settled at Takyiman in Bono kingdom. They further moved down the Sahara with the Fantes and in 1229, they had reached the Pra River and crossed it.

We have come from far. Isn't it? All these were possible because we had chiefs or leaders who were committed to safeguard the future of their generation and those who were yet unborn. We had chiefs and people who did care so much about their own well-being but were much concerned about the future generations and so they placed their lives on line and handed over the baton of leadership from one generation to another without fail. They had challenges came their way but they were steadfast. They did not disappoint their people as far as leadership is concerned.

The current situation of Ahanta is a betrayal to our ancestors and forefathers who toiled their blood and sweat to bring us this far. Our chiefs and people have lost it completely and dimed the flames of hope that our forefathers lit with their sweat and blood to guide us. Traditional leadership has become a complete failure and more of a curse to Ahanta than blessings. Baidoo Bonso, the overlord of Ahanta and the only Ahantahene and the first ever Otumfour has lost his place in the kingdom of Ahanta. He has grown very cold in the crisis of Ahanta and has failed to assert his power and authority as the only legitimate king of Ahanta. The mighy whale of Ahanta must shake the sea and flap its mighty tail in the sea to for the smaller fishes to give way.

Nana Kobina Nketsiah IV has also metamophosed into something else to extent that he and the people of Essikado celebrate Kuntum and pride himself with it instead Kundum. I remember how we used to look up to him in our childhood days and pride ourselves that we had an Ahanta in the person of Nana Kobina Nketsiah IV only to grow up to see how cheaply he is auctioning the values of our culture, customs and practices. How sad when the torch bearers themselves have missed their way home and misleading many Ahantas particularly the people of Essikado to reject their pride and dignity as Ahantas.

If there is an institution which has failed Ahanta woefully in recent years, it is chieftaincy. Our chiefs have woefully failed to live up to the mark of able leadership. We could not have come this far if we had our present chiefs leading us from wherever we migrated from. We would have lost our way on the desert or possible drown in the Pra when our forefathers were crossing it. We are fast losing hope and confidence in our chiefs when we look at how others chiefs somewhere are doing to bring growth, development and prosperity to their people. Our chiefs have woefully failed us and it is time we redefine chieftaincy in Ahanta both in concept and practice.

Chieftaincy in Ahanta appears to be curse than blessings to the people of Ahanta. It appears to retard the growth and development of Ahanta instead of unity and prosperity. It has rather rendered Ahanta disorganized. Chieftaincy in Ahanta is usually about few people around the throne selling lands to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses. It is all about petty land litigation among Ahanta chiefs themselves making it very difficult for Ahanta to attract investments and other developmental projects. This must stop and it is actually time that chieftaincy becomes more people centered than some individuals who are enriching themselves at the expense of the masses.

That is our woes as people when chieftaincy in other places are evolving and revolving to be more progressive. We are fast losing our identity as distinct people because our chiefs have failed to rise to the occasion as far as leadership and responsibilities are concerned. Our chiefs have failed to assert themselves progressively and mobilise our people in masses for growth and development. There is a wide gap between the chiefs and the masses rendering Ahanta acephalous.

Chieftaincy in Ahanta now appears to be a curse to the people of Ahanta than blessings. Our forefathers may be turning in their graves.

Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III
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Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III 
Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III , © 2019

The author has 54 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: AhantaApemenyimhenebaKwofieIII 

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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