Otumfuo Goes Hard
…Destools 5 Chiefs Within 4Months Over Galamsey, LandsSale, Others
- Odike Vindicated
Barely a year after some traditional leaders from the Kumasi Traditional Council descended heavily on businessman Akwasi Addai, popularly called “Odike,” for linking them to illegal mining, recent actions by the Asantehene appear to have vindicated the businessman.
The overlord of Asante, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is angrily firing from all angles, de-stooling a total of five of his chiefs within a period of four months, on charges of illegal mining, otherwise called galamsey, multiple sale of lands and a violation of the customs and traditions, among others.
The fallen traditional rulers, some of who are childhood friends of the Asantehene, had their royal slippers removed in the full glare of cameras, signifying their destoolments.
They are Nana Kwame Owusu Agyeman, Chief of Antoa; Nana Nketia Boampong II, Chief of Kwaso; Nana Saforo Koto, Chief of Bekwai-Abodom; Nana Osei TiriAbabio, the chief of Aduamoa and the Abuontemhene, Nana Kwaku Duah III, the latest, who was de-stooled just this Monday, August 21.
Odike, who is also founder and leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), was banished from the seat of the king, Manhyia, in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
In August 2022, the politician was berated by scores of chiefs from the Kumasi Traditional Council (KTC) for linking the revered palace to illegal mining, which has destroyed water bodies and lands.
He was also accused of threatening to incite the youth to rise against chiefs if they fail to play their roles in curbing the illegal mining menace.
Led by the Bantamahene, Baffour Owusu Amankwatia VI, the KTC had a ram slaughtered and its blood poured on some deities to signify that Odike was not needed in Manhyia.
The dreaded traditional rite was performed at the palace.
Odike, who, after he was declared persona non grata, went into hiding, made the comment at the Kumasi-based Oyerepa FM, following which the station went to Manhyia to apologize, but they were allegedly ordered to shut down for days to show remorse.
Of course, Manhyia later denied ordering for the shutdown of the station, even though record shows they ceased operations, effective Friday, 26th August, 2022.
But exactly a year on, after the issue generated heated arguments on both traditional and social media platforms, Odike appears vindicated, following the ousting of the errant chiefs, some of whom were captured in video, looking miserable and disgraced, while their royal slippers were being removed.
The removed chiefs had been warned by the revered king, after their subjects leveled serious allegations of sale of lands, illegal mining and failure to perform traditional rites in their respective areas, as customs demand.
Their removal was performed by the Asantehene himself, who is the highest order when it comes to the hierarchy, at Manhyia, after several warnings to them fell on deaf ears.
On the day of their destoolments, the accused on separate days brought before the king to defend themselves over charges brought against them and their accusers made to lay their facts.
After failing to defend themselves, their removals were announced and their sandals removed, signifying that they were powerless and cannot hold themselves as chiefs of any town.
The marathon destoolments commenced in May, when Otumfuo, in a ruling, destooled the Antoa chief, following a number of offences, including multiple sale of lands, he committed.
The ruling was delivered by the great king, on his first sitting on Monday, [May 29, 2023] after his trip to the United Kingdom (UK) for the coronation of King Charles III.
Chief of Antoa
Nana Kwame Owusu Agyeman was the chief of Antoa, a popular town known for its deity, Antoa Nyamaa, for 23 years. He reportedly tried installing his nephew as the next chief after him.
When he was confronted by his kinsmen and elders to seek the permission of Otumfuo, he reportedly ignored them.
After hearing his case on the said date, Otumfuo Osei Tutu Ababio ruled against him and ordered his destoolment immediately.
Chief of Kwaso
Two weeks later, Nana Nketia Boampong II, the chief of Kwaso, a town in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality, was also removed by the king, after the tribunal of the Asanteman Traditional Council sitting at the Manhyia Palace, found the Kwasohene guilty of defrauding some royals of Kwaso.
The young chief allegedly solicited some amounts of money amounting to GH₵300, 000 with the promise to give his associates a vacant chieftaincy position.
According to reports, he initially denied the accusation, but further investigations by the Council found him guilty of the charges.
Nana Boampong was also implicated for his involvement in multiple sales of lands.
He was subsequently de-stooled for fraud and perjury.
Chief of Bekwai-Abodom
Following the Kwasohene was Nana Saforo Koto, the chief of Bekwai-Abodom, who also engaged in indiscriminate sale of lands to illegal miners.
He was removed from the stool, after failing to prove his innocence of about 20 charges made against him by some community members.
He was also accused of abandoning the community for seven years, which resulted in non-performance of the essential customary rites and rituals at the stool house, among other things.
Nana Saforo Koto’s sub-chiefs accused him of flagrantly violating customary rites, as a chief, per his action.
At a meeting of the Council, Otumfuo’s linguist, Kwaku Owusu, informed the overlord that the ousted chief failed to respond to all charges brought against him during a committee hearing where he was given an opportunity to defend himself.
After hearing from the various chiefs, Otumfuo found Nana Saforo Koto also guilty of all the charges levelled against him, and, without wasting time, de-stooled him.
Chief of Aduamoa
On Monday August 14, Otumfuo struck again, this time on the Nana Osei Tiri Ababio, the chief of Aduamoa in the Afigya Kwabre District.
The de-stooled chief was allegedly involved in multiple land disputes with other chiefs and violating some customary procedures.
He had been warned as to what lay ahead of him, but did not heed and so while delivering his verdict during a sitting of the Kumasi Traditional Council on Monday, August 14, 2023, the Asantehene said the chief did not listen to the warnings.
To symbolize the destoolment, the chief, who is a close friend of Otumfuo, had his royal slippers removed upon the Asantehene’s order.
Making the pronouncement, Otumfuo said, “We have been walking and serving together since childhood, so you feel pampered to act anyhow. You have not been visiting your stool in Kotei to perform the necessary rites up to now. I was waiting for you to die, so today you have been de-stooled.”
Nana Kwaku Duah III
Last, at the time of going to press yesterday, was the destoolment of the Abuontemhene, Nana Kwaku Duah III, for his alleged involvement in the illegal sale of lands under his jurisdiction.
This decision was announced during a crucial meeting convened at the Manhyia Palace on Monday, August 21.
Like the others, the decision to strip Nana Kwaku Duah III of his position as a divisional chief was rooted in the fact that serious accusations were brought against him by other sub-chiefs.
He was accused of disregarding directives of the Asantehene not to engage in the sale of disputed lands, and had been issued a trespassing warning by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II himself.
Again, the then embattled chief was accused of encroaching upon territory belonging to others and facilitating land sales without proper authorization.
But reacting to these allegations, Nana Kwaku Duah III denied the specific accusation of using Otumfuo’s name as leverage for his actions.
However, he did acknowledge his presence on the land, but asserted that he had allowed others to work on it with his permission.
For fairness, the Asantehene gave the sub-chiefs, who levelled the allegations against their colleagues, the opportunity during which they all repeated their claims and unanimously called for his removal.
Without delay, the great king, who said the action of the chief has defied his orders, told him, “For me saying that nobody should go to the said land, and for you to go there, you have disrespected his lordship, of which you can no longer remain a chief. Tell them for them to know that even sitting on that throne, you are not from the royal family.”