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We welcome the new Otumfuo Kumase Akwamuhene - Akyamfuo Asafo Boakye Agyeman Bonsu

Wed, 30 Dec 2020 Source: Kofi Ellison

Known in private life as Dr. William Kwadwo Agyeman Bonsu, he serves as a Manager at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat, in Bonn, Germany.

He attended Boa (Bo) Amponsem Secondary School, Dunkwa, and continued at Konongo Odumase Secondary School. He had his university undergraduate and graduate degrees from KNUST, Kumase, and the Norwegian Institute of Technology.

The new Kumase Asafohene, who also serves as the head of the Otumfuo Kumase Akwamu Fekuo (Dvision), was enstooled under the Stool name Asafo Boakye Agyeman Bonsu. He drew the Mponponsuo Afena (Sword), and swore the Oath of Allegiance, before Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, on Thursday December, 17, 2020.

The Kumase Asafo Stool was formerly known as SOADURU during the reign of Obiri Yeboa who served as the Chief of Kwaaman State (Kwaamanhene) from about 1660 to 1688. The Kwaman State was one of several Twi-speaking States such as Kumawu, Dwaben and Mampon which were under the rule of the Dankyira Kingdom. These states later cooperated to liberate themselves from the rule of Dankyira in 1701.

The confederate states, then transformed the military alliance into a potent political federation know as ASANTEMAN under the leadership of Osei Tutu I, who became the first Asantehene.

The Soaduruhene under Nana Obiri Yeboa was a man known as Osahene Akyamfuo Awere. The Soaduruhene was the lead General (Osahene) for Obiri Yeboa's Kwaeman military forces. In the 1680’s Obiri Yeboa was defeated in a war, by Kyerem? Sikafo? of D?maa Sontreso which led to the eventual death of Obiri Yeboa from wounds sustained in that war.

Once Osei Tutu succeeded Obiri Yeboa as Kwaamanhene, he sent Amankwatia (Osei Tutu’s Stool Carrier “Nkonwasoani”) at the head of fighters to avenge the defeat of his predecessor Obiri Yeboa. The Amankwatia-led fighters, defeated and killed Kyereme Sikafuo, the Chief of D?maa Sontreso, then located in the general area of present day Suntreso-Prempeh College (Sofo Line). It was the remnant of those who fled from Domaa Suntreso who later founded Wam Paamu, now called Domaa Ahenkro in the Bono Region.

Following the victory over Domaa, Osei Tutu reorganized the military and administrative machinery bequeathed to him by Obiri Yeboa. He abolished the Soaduru as the lead military/administrative unit. In its place, he created KONTI and placed Kwame Amankwatia at the head of KONTI (Kontihene) because they were able to defeat Suntresu (Domaa), and eliminated Kyerem? Sikafuo.

Osei Tutu also gave the title BOAFUO to his former Stool carrier Kwame Amankwatia, and settled the KONTI Chiefs (Atuo Nson) primarily at the sacred town called BANTOMA. Boafuo has since been corrupted as BAAFUO, a powerful title that strikes fear. Ekonti or Konti (wrongly as Krontihene) simply means “I made you Chief because of your success in battle, EKO NTI ma si wo Hene.” It must be pointed out that each of the ATUON NSON have their own ancestral towns.

To placate Osahene Awere the former Soaduruhene under Obiri Yeboa, Osei Tutu created a new Stool for him. He named the new Stool, ASAFO meaning (Warriors), and placed them in a new settlement by the same name Asafo. After Osei Tutu created the Asafo Stool, he placed the Asafohene at the head (Fekutire) of the Fekuo or group of towns, that he put together to form a formidable coherent fighting and administrative unit.

Before Osei Tutu became Kwamanhene, he was sent to Akwamu to study statecraft under the Akwamuhene Ansa Sasraku I. It was in Akwamu that he met the Odeyifuo (Prophet) Anokye, better known historically as Okomfo Anokye from the town of Awukugua; and the rest is history.

Osei Tutu decided to honour Odeneho Ansa Sasraku I, the King of the Akwamu State (now in the Eastern Region), and his people for their kindness during his sojourn in Akwamu. So, ?sei Tutu named his newly created Asafo Fekuo (a group of towns administered by the Asafohene) after the state of AKWAMU. This explains how the Asafohene of Kumase came to be known known as Otumfuo Akwamuhene. Other states in Asante, (and Akandom), copied and created their own Kontihene and Akwamuhene. Asafohene Akyamfuo Awere became the head of the AKWAMU Division in the Kwaaman State.

Further, when Osei Tutu was recalled from Akwamu to succeed Obiri Yeboa as Kwaamanhene, Akwamuhene Ansa Sasraku I sent along over three hundred men under arms, mainly from the town of Anum, to accompany Barima Osei Tutu on his journey. The men became known as “Anumfuo,” or those from the town of Anum. Ansa Sasraku charged these men to protect Osei Tutu, and assist him in his new position as Kwaamanhene.

The Anum people were settled primarily in the Kwaman neighbourhood which was named after the Akwamu town of Anum. Their duties included maintaining pubic order and peace in the state. They are still better known for their role as traditional policemen, and as Abrafuo, or executioners of people who were sentenced to death after trial for serious criminal offenses.

The leader of the Anum contingent settled at Kwaaman was a man called Asamoa, subsequently known as ANUM ASAMOA. Osei Tutu created the Anum Stool for Anum Asamoa, and enstooled him as the first Anumhene (Adumhene) of Kwaaman. Osei Tutu then placed Anum Asamoa in the Kumase Akwamu Fekuo (Division) as second-in-command to the Asafohene.

Before long, the name ANUM was corrupted to ADUM. The Anumhene of Kumase is thus called ADUMHENE of Kumase. That settlement is now part of the vibrant Kumase business and residential district called ADUM. The name Adum is now used to cover other neighbouthoods such as Akyeremade; Pampaso; Atwereboana; Denkyemenaso, etc., which like Adum (Anum) were settlements in the town of Kwaaman.

The extensive police powers given to the Anum people caused much consternation among the citizenry. The frosty attitude towards the empowered Anumfuo is captured in the saying: “Y3te Adum yi, 3nye yenne Asamoa na enom nsa.” To wit, though we reside at Adum; Adum Asamoa (and his people) are not our drinking partners. It was thought wise not to commingle with the Anum people.

Kumase Akwamu's role is to complement the Kumase Konti Division, and operate as a team militarily, and administratively. Hence, the saying: "KONTI ne AKWAMU, yempae mu." To wit, the two are literally tied together, and therefore cannot be separated. The two must act in concert, and avoid any friction at all times.

Of course, after the formation of the Asante Nation in 1701, a new capital was created as part of new institutions set up to underpin and strengthen the new Nation. Kumase became the new capital of Asanteman. Kwaaman was abandoned. And, when a new position, that of Asantehene (King of Asanteman) was created as head of the united Aman or States, the Asafohene maintained his title as head of Otumfuo Kumase Akwamuhene.

It must be added that there used to be a separate "Adumhene" title in Kumase, the bearer of that title always happened to be the brother of the reigning Asantehene; and was also known as the Abakomahene. The last such "Adumhene" was Agyeman Badu, younger brother of Asantehene Prempeh I.

Nana Agyeman Badu was also known as the Abakomahene (heir apparent). He was therefore sent into exile in 1896, finally ending up in the Seychelles, along with Asantehene Prempeh I (Kwaku Dua III), and several top Asanteman leaders. He died there on September 28, 1917.

Mo Opeafo, Otumfuo Kumase Akwamuhene - Akyamfuo Asafo Boakye Agyeman Bonsu.

Columnist: Kofi Ellison