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08.03.2006 Diaspora News

Who is the next "Ohene and Ohemaa"?

By Nana Asare Bediako The Asantefuohene of Toronto
Who is the next

....Asanteman Council of North America (ACONA) Squanders a rare Opportunity to Redeem Asanteman in Toronto On January 14, 2006, when Asanteman met at the Scarborough Town Center with the Asantman Council of North America (ACONA) mediation team, we were afforded a golden opportunity to finally find a peaceful and rightful settlement to the election and subsequent handover dispute that has threatened the unity and dignity of Asanteman for nearly a year now. Unfortunately, rather than annihilating the impending damage of catastrophic proportions, ACONA chose to be complaisant with the status quo, and now is forced to set into motion, a propaganda machinery to give the appearance that all is well. It is amazing that all of a sudden, the ACONA Secretariat have all the time and energy to write letters that for months, we could not get the Executive Secretary to write for us and Nana Osei Acheampong is busy distributing them to radio hosts, print media, and now a new low level, the Ghana Mission in Ottawa. Since when did the High Commissioner become the adjudicator of issues pertaining to Asanteman Association of Toronto (AAT)? As if the invitation to His Excellency to be a part of the illegitimate election was not bad enough, you now want him to legitimize the illegitimate election of September 11, 2005. When are we going to realize that the truth and nothing else, is the one and only way.

As we are all aware of, the peace talks was directed by Nana Tepahene, Otumfuo's ambassador to ACONA. Consequently, if there are any concerns on the process, he will have to be in the know. Hence, as ACONA submits a report of the outcome, the Executive of AAT, under the leadership of Nana Asare Bediako, has registered our concerns on the mediation process to Nana Tepahene and the Asante Congress.

In line with this, a formal letter has been sent to the ACONA Secretariat advising our rejection of the outcome of the January 14, 2006 mediation on the following grounds:

First and foremost, we made a lot of progress with the mediation by Ghana Union. ACONA in failing to act on that report and progress made a serious error in judgment. Instead of consulting with the Ghana Union and or, including them in the mediation team, people in a conflict of interest position were rather considered. This in our estimate is tantamount to a snob. It is a known fact that Nana Fredua Mensah, Otumfuo Gyaahintuahene (Tuntuhene), Nana Fiakye Dadie, Ayigya Nifahene, Nana Kwabena Asubonteng, Abrakaso Sanaahene, and Nana Yaa Abrafi, actively participated in the September 11, 2005, illegitimate and unconstitutional election that disregarded Nana Tepahene's directive and the authority of Manhyia Palace. It was quite disappointing that people who are stool occupants in the Asante Kingdom and who should be advising and warning the rebel group of the serious consequences of ignoring our classical Asante value of respecting our Kings, elderly and indeed authority, are in cahoots with them. It is sad and regrettable that, these chiefs after taking part in an election that totally disrespected the ACONA resolution and institution and most importantly, Nana Tepahene's directive were now coming to sit in judgment at the peace talks.

Haven protested their inclusion to the mediation team and despite assurance to the contrary, they were involved in the secret and private deliberation of the submissions. Where then is the fairness and justice when agents of the rebel group who were at the mediation table solely to satisfy the interest of the rebel group and not for the fair and just settlement of the matter, are allowed a vote on a decision to cancel and declare the illegitimate election of September 11, 2005 null and void?

Furthermore, the constitutionality of the September 11 2005 meeting by the rebel group and which resulted in the selection of an Ohene and Ohemaa was not even discussed. This however, is central to the conflict. According to Article 10 (iii) of the constitution, it is the President /Ohene and, in this case, Nana Asare Bediako who presides over all general and executive committee meetings. Nana Asare Bediako did not call this meeting nor did he preside over it. Abusuapanin Kwabena Agyekum has no constitutional authority to call and preside over a general assembly meeting especially when the said meeting was against the advice of Nana Tepahene's directive and the ACONA resolution of September 4, 2005, let alone conducting an election.

By not discussing the constitutionality of the election, evidence that are supported by constitutional provisions and specify who qualifies to contest for the position of Ohene and Ohemaa and who does not were not taken into account. This indeed, is what is at the root of the conflict. We are in this predicament because Nana Agyekum and Nana Acheampong attempted to circumvent the constitution to qualify some prospective candidates who are not in good standing for them to be able to contest in the general election and to have Nana Ama Serwaa whose term of office has expired, hang on to power; and yet, it was swept under the carpet.

The truth is, for almost five years, some of the contestants of the illegitimate and unconstitutional election of September 11, 2005, have not honored their monthly and other financial obligations to the association. In 2004, the year in question, most of these candidates did not even meet the minimum attendance record. The constitutional requirement of seventy-five percent minimum attendance record is not a new law. It is a law that has been in existence since the constitution was ratified in 1983.

Thirdly, Nana Agyekum, Nana Acheampong and their rebel group, haven failed to justify their arrogant and flagrant disrespect of the ACONA resolution and Nana Tepahene's directive, were made to concede wrong doing of serious implications and were found guilty of gross misconduct and gross insubordination to the ACONA institution, Nana Tepahene and to a larger extent, Manhyia Palace. Accordingly, Nana Kwabena Agyekum, Nana Osei Acheampong, Nana Ama Serwaa and their rebel group ware chastised and made to pay among other things, a compensation of $.3,000.00 for dragging the good name of Asanteman in the mud.

Ironically, rather than publicly declaring the illegitimate election null and void and pronouncing a proper and a constitutional election to be held at a later date, the mediation team was pleading for the illegitimate election to stand. Adding that left to them alone, Nana Agyekum, Nana Acheampong and Nana Ama Serwaa will not be allowed to hold their respective positions but their hands are tied by the directives of Nana Tepahene and the Asante Congress.

This may not or may well be the case. Nonetheless, if we allow this hostile and illegal takeover to stay, not only will we be setting bad precedence and tarnishing the image of Asanteman, but we will further be denying others who have played by the rules in the hope of contesting in a legitimate election, the opportunity to serve Asanteman in this capacity.

It is therefore, no accident that all of these have clouded the minds of not just those concerned but the general Ghanaian community and has created the unfortunate impression and perception that the case was prejudged, smacks of bribery and injustice and that, the truth and fairness needed for the progress of Asanteman did prevail.

As was concluded by Nana Asare Bediako at the peace talks, the Executive of AAT harbors no malice despite the rebel group's campaign to let everyone believe otherwise. Haven made the facts and the truth available to Nana Tepahene, we now await his final decision on the matter.

Source: Nana Asare Bediako The Asantefuohene of Toronto / President and the Exectives of The Asante Canadian Multicultural Association of Toronto)