Opinions Tue, 28 Nov 2017

Review of the Novel 'The Legacy' by Kwasi Koranteng

Published in 1991, the novel The Legacy written by Kwasi Koranteng brings into light the conflict that follows the death of Opanyin Kwaku Abora the once rich businessman of Dimpa. The authors’ plot as is evident throughout the novel plugs all the characters and the conflict that ensues among them into proper context to show the collision between tradition, modernity,and greed, breach of trust, corruption and theft in a single family.

Set in the 80’s,The Legacy traces every bit of the conflict between a businessman, philanthropist, and a die-hard matrilinealist, Kwaku Abora and his children while alive and the events surrounding the attempt by family members to cut pieces of the dead man’s success to themselves.

The novel exposes readers to the scheme of connivance between an heir-apparent, the favorite nephew and the overseer of the deceased numerous businesses Diako, and the greedy elders of the family. However, the three oldest children of the deceased, Gyadu, Saka and Kanawu are bent on defying the death wishes of their father to take over his estate.

The novel projects the intestate succession law set in motion 32 years ago by the then military government of Ghana’s former president Jerry John Rawlings.

Dubbed the PNDC Law III, it became the premier law that halted previous traditional succession norms, especially among the matrilineal family system. Before the new law, the estate of a deceased person wasdistributed among the extended family instead of the widow and the surviving children. Under the PNDC Law III, the widow and the children received the greater proportion of the deceased estate.

InThe Legacy, Kanawu the feisty third son of the late businessman Kwaku Abora upon burning the red note book which contained the business listings and the wishes of his father, leaned on the new law to stake a claim to all the estate of his late father.

Medea, the second wife of Kwaku Abora felt least useful and neglected by her late husband and as such anticipated the worse after the death of her husband. She was with him a few days before he passed and succeeded in sneaking out with three pieces of gold ornaments meant to be distributed among the three surviving wives upon his death.

Medea saw her possession of the ornaments as her safety net since she couldn’t trust anyone with her well-being after the death of her husband.

Simaa, the third wife of the dead businessman was age mates with her husband’s oldest children. She also kept a private affair with her husband’s beloved nephew Diako.

Simaa never hid her dislike for her rivals especially Medea and the children of Eno with Kanawu being her least favorite. He Kanawu, later became a party-pooper in her future life with Diako the biological father of her child.

Eno, the first wife of the deceased was the last person to leave her husband’s chamber the day he passed.

She was older and all her children were now old and have children of their own. As the first wife, she was privy to snippets of information concerning her dead husband’sbusinesses but her memory is now faint and doesn’t seem to figure all of it out. Upon the death of her husband, Eno found a red notebook that had the handwritten will of his wishes and who to succeed him.

The notebook later became the bludgeon that would secure the future of her children and all the surviving members of the Abora family.

Gyadu and Saka the first and second borns’ of the late Kwaku Abora and Eno, and though older never had any fire amongst them to push for what is rightfully theirs. Kanawu the third son on the other hand was a fighter, hot headed, an agriculturalist and an up and coming businessman.

He was poised to fight to the dead to stake a claim to what is duly his and that of his siblings and the entire family. It was his acquaintance with the intestate succession law that restored all the estate of his dead father into the trust of the children and the surviving wives rather than Diako the nephew.

Diako is the beloved nephew of the late Kwaku Abora the businessman.

He was away when his uncle passed and missed the opportunity to lay hold of the red notebook that had a list of all the Abora businesses and the wishes of his uncle to become the heir to his estate. Diako realizing the threat to his reign as the boss of his uncles’ estate, devised a plan to secure his future by diverting huge amounts of checks into his personal account, along with a herd of 50 cattle’s into his secret ranch.

Papa Jericho, a retired police officer, and Papa Siamono are brothers of the deceased, who pilfered from the safe in the chamber of their late brother the day he passed away. They stole huge sums of money along with the golden ornament that was meant to be buried with their deceased brother. The two crooked old men connived with Diako who was generous towards them to succeed his uncle with the promise of a continuous flow of monthly stipend to insulate them from hunger and poverty.

In the grand scheme of things, the nation Ghana can be viewed as an extension of the Abora legacy. In that among families nuclear and external, communities, and society at large, there are spouts of secret schemes to outwit each other to have the best and larger portions of the communal cake. For example, our democracy that has witnessed successive, peaceful change in governments the last 25yearshas indeed become an iconic beacon towering above Africa. However, it has also a route for leadership, politicians and their associates to loot andhoard national resources into their private volts as security in anticipation of dry season ahead.

Outside politics, there are many avenues of corruption and connivance among diverse groups of persons and sections of society to rob the nation of money which could be channeled into improving the lives of Ghanaians by way of building hospitals, schools, good roads, state of the art sanitation systems throughout the nation and a lot more. In the final analysis, there is no trust. There is no honesty.

Each is looking for a way to lord over the other by fair or foul. It is thus fair to say an impoverished mind has no conscience and will slander, kill or support and attempt to kill just lick a drop of a corrupt honey drop.

The reviewer is a graduate of both the Ohio University in Athens Ohio and the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.
Columnist: Benjamin Adu Kumi