If you knew Asante history, you wouldn’t accuse Asantehene of the wrongdoings of other Ashanti chiefs

For lack of knowledge, my people perish, so the bible says. Similarly, for lack of historical knowledge amid abundance ignorance, some Ghanaians accuse Asantehene and do hold him accountable for the obvious multitude of wrongdoings by his Asante chiefs. On the other hand, out of sycophancy, partisanship and quest to associate with so-called important persons and institutions in the hope of acquiring fame, some Ghanaians do rally behind Asantehene and his chiefs whether rain or shine. They do not analyse and treat each issue or occasion on its own merit but jump at the gun.

First and foremost, be it known to all Ghanaians that Asantehene does not have any binding authoritative power, be it traditional or legally written, vested in him, over the paramount chiefs of Ashanti region, or to be precise, the Asanteman, formerly the Asante Confederacy or Asante Kingdom. He is outwardly seen by many and acknowledged as the Overlord of Ashanti, but indeed, he is simply a Ceremonial Head of Asanteman.

Before proceeding any further, let me define the words CEREMONIAL and NOMINAL.

Ceremonial means “(of a post or role) conferring or involving only nominal authority or power” and Nominal is defined as “(of a role or status) existing in name only”.

Such is the reality of the position of Asantehene since the return of Asantehene Otumfuo Agyemang Prempeh I, from his exiled captivity in Seychelles in 1924. In order not to bore down my readers who might neither have read nor taken interest in my Ghana internet news portal publications with any lengthy narratives, let me quote excerpts from my previously published article on the present status of Asantehene. Asantehene here is not only referring to the current occupant of the Golden Stool, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II (born as Kwaku Duah) but any occupant of the Golden Stool.

My said article was published on both Modernghana. Com and Ghanaweb.com on 25 January 2015 under the heading, “Kumawu & Other Stools Can Break Away from Asanteman”.

“When the British conquered and captured Asantehene Nana Agyemang Prempeh I in 1896, deported him to Sierra Leone and then to Seychelles Island, the Kingdom collapsed as per the intent of the Colonial British government of then Gold Coast. When the Ashanti Confederacy was broken by the British in 1896, upon the capture and deportation of Asantehene Nana Agyemang Prempeh I, the British instituted the policy of balkanization. They broke the links between the six important nuclear states of the Asante Confederacy – Kumasi, Bekwai, Juaben, Mampong, Kokofu and Nsuta. (Balkanize means to divide (a country, territory, etc.) into small, quarrelsome, ineffectual states”. Each was viewed as a separate state headed by its Omanhene.

When the British captors released Nana Agyemang Prempeh I from his captivity, he was repatriated to Gold Coast as a private citizen in 1924. He was later granted permission by the British Colonial government to become Kumasehene in October 1926. This was even upon the sole idea of effectively implementing their indirect rule over the Asantes.

During the restoration of the Asante Confederacy in 1935, the balkanization was somehow maintained as confirmed by a document of Draft by the Ashanti Confederacy Council signed on 21st day of March 1938.

The document states among other things, “Arising out to the Council discussion on Item 7 of the Agenda the following declaration of custom is submitted to the Council for discussion and for signature if approved. 1) all land in Ashanti is the property of the stools of the various chiefs.”

This said document was signed by Asantehene, Asantehemaa, Mamponghene, Juabenhene, Nsutahene, Bekwaihene, Kokofuhene, Adansihene, Kumawuhene, Essumenjahene, Offinsohene, Ejisuhene, Agonahene, Bandahene, Wenchihene, Nkoranzahene, Jamanhene, Mohene, Abeasehene, Berekumhene, Denyasehene, Asokorehene, Oyokohene of Kumasi, Kyidomhene of Kumasi, Gyasehene of Kumasi, Ankobiahene of Kumasi, Adontenhene of Kumasi, Benkum Clan of Kumasi, representative of Akwamuhene of Kumasi and Korentihene of Kumasi”

Kumawu & Other Stools Can Break Away from Asanteman

 

Subsequently, it is wrong for anyone to insult or attack Asantehene for failure to exercise some autocratic powers to call his errant, greedy, myopic and self-centred Asante Council chiefs deeply involved in the ongoing devastating illegal surface and alluvial mining, thus, galamsey, on their soils, to order. He has no power over them to compel them to do anything. They are independent members of a loose organization, if I should put it rightly so. This is why he has never been able to put his foot down to stop the chiefs from allowing the ramification of destructive galamsey activities on their soils, in case he is not involved in it himself or supportive of the activity.

However, he can be chastised for not convening a meeting of his chiefs, thus Asanteman Council, to deliberate and collectively agree on terms to fight galamsey from their soils. Asantehene, who is rightly Kumasihene, can only exercise absolute traditional powers over Kumasi same as any paramount chief exercises power over their divisional paramountcy.

You can attack, insult or advise the individual chiefs on whose watch galamsey is taking place on their soils. Asante lands were demarcated to the paramount chiefs by Fuller during the colonial days.

Rockson Adofo