Invoking “Asantehene Great Oath” Saved Kumawu from Bloodbath
Kumawu in the Ashanti region came under siege by a fifty-eight heavily-armed military personnel, about a hundred police personnel and a score of so-called macho men on Monday, 9 December 2013. This happened through the crafty arrangements by the queen of Kumawu (Kumawuhemaa).
She had secretly informed the security powers that be that she was going to install a new paramount chief for the Kumawu Traditional Council area and hence, needed their robust assistance to protect lives, property and to prevent crimes.
In truth, that day was the occasion for her to exercise her traditional right of presenting her first choice of the royal candidate to the Kingmakers, but not to enthrone a chief as she mischievously misinformed the security personnel and her friends.
Crowds of people had gathered in Kumawu in the early morning of Monday, 9 December 2013. They had come from Woraso, Bodomase, Besoro, Temaate, Nkwanta, Abenaso, Anyamesere, Amanforom, Abotanso, Wonoo, Pepease and Kumawu itself, including busloads of Kumawu citizens from Accra.
They were holding placards specifying the illegalities, the nonchalance and the deliberate inflictions of developmental annihilation on Kumawu and her traditional area by the Kumawuhemaa and her departed brother, Barima Asumadu Sakyi II. Subsequently, they would not have such a person without any love for the area choose a person of her kind, someone with equal hatred for the area, for them as their chief.
Let me go on to tell exactly what happened when the only three remaining Kingmakers sat to hear from Kumawuhemaa, intimidatingly surrounded by soldiers, policemen and macho men. The tradition is, when the queen presents her first choice, members of the royal family and the kingmakers may reject him if any adverse findings are made against him on the premise of e.g. he having committed murder before, slept with someone’s wife, stolen something (a thief), etc. The candidate will be accepted in the event of no adverse findings against him and he being acceptable to the subjects.
How could the queen rightly justify the invitation of people and the security personnel as did happen yesterday, to witness the enthronement of a new chief when that major process of scrutinizing the candidate had not even taken place?
When they sat, with the security personnel intimidatingly demonstrating their prowess both within and outside the palace, cowing the public but still with the crowd chanting songs and bracing themselves for any eventual onslaught, something happened.
Before the queen could lay her case for summoning the kingmakers, the members of the royal families and the invited guests, she did the unthinkable. She ordered the macho men to cast out of the palace and from her presence the Ananingya royal family head (Abusuapanin), Nana Darkwah. They indignantly bundled him out, with his legs wobbling in agitation and his cloth falling off him. What a disgrace?
She again ordered for the Aduanahene (Joe Fry) to be thrown out. The macho men held him high up, banged his knee against a wall and chucked him out as instructed by their lordship, the Kumawuhemaa. As we speak, Aduanahene is hopping about with a swollen knee.
Let me quickly tell the world what happened without further commentary from me. Kontrihene informed those gathered inside that unless Nana Darkwah was brought back, the meeting could not continue but be dissolved for the day. He said he could not go against the orders of the Overlord of Asanteman, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. His Overlord had specifically instructed that Kumawuhemaa, Nana Darkwah and Kumawu Kontrihene in concert with the elders of Kumawuman are to find a candidate acceptable to the people to be crowned as the Omanhene (paramount chief) of the area.
Without Nana Darkwah, a quorum could not be formed for the deliberation, Kontrihene informed the queen and those present. The queen then sent her emissaries to go outside, plead with Nana Darkwah to come inside which, he did gladly but grudgingly, I suppose. Nana Aduanahene also forced himself back in after much ado of resistance.
To save the day and the occasion from degenerating into utter pandemonium, Nana Darkwah invoked the “Ntamkese” (Asanatehene Great Oath) on Kumawuhemaa from pursuing her nefarious agenda. Why should both the queen’s and the king’s thrones still go to the same royal home that has monopolised the monarchy for over the past fifty years if there are supposedly three royal homes or gates in Kumawu, he might have argued?
Nana Aduanahene also invoked the same oath on the queen. He might have alleged of having no knowledge of how the queen came by her choice of candidate. In Kumawu, tradition demands that Aduanahene plays a vital role in the selection of the candidate before the queen presents him to the Kingmakers but this tradition was not followed thoroughly through.
One Paa Joe, a royal family member from Ankaase, a younger brother to my friend, the late Kofi Dadzie of ever cherished memory, also invoked the same oath on the queen. He said, “The queen’s candidate (Dr Sarfo) for the occupancy of the paramount throne cannot be possible. He is 50/50, “Obo3 fa dadee fa” and then pointed to the public, “Look, there sits his father in fuugu (smock/cassock).
His father had come with two busloads of his family and friends to witness and support his son’s enthronement. In the end, look how things were unfolding not only to their embarrassment but proving how the queen might have lied to them.
Finally, one Opanin Krapa also from the Ankaase royal family also invoked the same oath on the queen. He said, “The queen’s candidate is not known to the entire Ankaase family. He is not our choice. We were not consulted so he cannot be the choice of the family contrary to how the queen is presenting him. She only settled for him after consultation with only one or two members of the family”.
At this point, the news got out to the public outside and echoed through the entire homes, the valleys and mountains in Kumawuman that the queen had not been able to install the Omanhene of Kumawu by imposing her candidate on them as she had anticipated. What a shame?
I shall continue to write about what happened in full so stay tuned. I am not feeling well but once I recover, you will hear me discuss this in detail on Sources radio UK where I sit on a panel to discuss programmes and issues of vital concern to Ghana whenever I am free.
I dedicate this true story to the memory of the late Kofi Dadzie and her sister Nana Akua for the selfless good job she is doing to bring about the prevalence of justice among the people of Kumawuman. I salute Paa Joe!