Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
THE Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs (BARHC) has decided to send a delegation to the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi next week to negotiate with the Asantehene over the raging Techiman-Tuobodom chieftaincy dispute.
“It’s definitely coming on. It’s crucial for us as a house because what is going on speaks volumes about a looming threat to the peace and stability of the nation. We need to move fast to save the volatile situation from exploding into something terrible,” the President of the BARHC, Osahene Kwaku Aterkyi II, told the Daily Graphic on telephone yesterday.
Osahene Aterkyi, who is also the Omanhene of the Kukuom Traditional Area, said the meeting, “which will be on the quiet”, would try to find ways of calming down tempers in the interim and also initiate moves to have a long-term solution to the substantive issue of allegiance.
At a charged Asanteman Council meeting at Manhyia last Monday, the Asantehene expressed his disgust at the kidnapping and subsequent torture of the Omanhene of Tuobodom, Nana Baffour Asare II, at the palace of the Techimanhene, Osabarima Akumfi Ameyaw.
The Tuobodom Omanhene had told the meeting that his hands and legs had been tied and that he had been confined to a small room in the Techimanhene’s palace where he had been asked by agents of the Techimanhene whether he would serve the Asantehene or the Techimanhene.
The Asanteman Council comprises all the paramount chiefs in the Ashanti Region, as well as some paramount chiefs from the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions who owe allegiance to the Golden Stool of Asante.
In perhaps his fiercest reaction to any issue ever since he ascended the Golden Stool about 11 years ago, Otumfuo Osei Tutu described the act of the Techimanhene as reprehensible and wondered why the security authorities and the government had refused to bring the Techimanhene to face the law.
He asked the government to take the matter seriously, especially when the Techimanhene had boasted that “his government is in power” and, therefore, he did not fear for whatever action he took.
The Asantehene chided the President of the BARHC, who owes allegiance to the Golden Stool, for fearing to tell the truth and said he was not going to sit down for anybody to take the Golden Stool for a ride.
In his interview with this paper, Osahene Aterkyi said the leadership of the BARHC was concerned about what was going on and gave the assurance that it would do everything to save the situation from deteriorating further.
Asked whether the membership of the delegation to be sent to Manhyia would include chiefs who did not owe allegiance to the Asantehene, the BARHC President said initially it would be made up of chiefs who owed allegiance to the Asantehene.
“This is not going to be a one-day affair so as time goes on we will add other chiefs who are not under the Asantehene. You will agree with me that all that we are trying to do is not a matter of whether the delegation will include this chief or another. We only want to have a lasting solution to this potentially dangerous development,” he stressed.
Osahene Aterkyi said in 1995, the BARHC started a process to find a solution to the Tano-Subin chieftaincy dispute, which included Tuobodom, but no conclusion was reached.
He stated that the issue went before the National House of Chiefs, but delays in ruling on the matter had contributed to the present situation.
In a related development, Nana Yaw Barimah reports that the Asantehene has appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, intervene in the case between Tuobodom and Techiman to avert any future clashes.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said the ordeal that the Tuobodom Omanhene, Nana Asare, went through at the hands of the Techimanhene was unacceptable and, therefore, urged the government to intervene to save the situation from deteriorating further.
The Asantehene, who was addressing a full house of the Asanteman Council in Kumasi last Monday, accused the Brong-Ahafo Regional Police Command of bias and poor handling of the case.
He questioned why the police locked up the chief when there was no justification for that action.
He poured out his displeasure after Nana Asare had formally informed the Asanteman Council about how he was kidnapped and maltreated by machomen allegedly hired by the Techimanhene.
The Asantehene and the other chiefs of the council, all clad in the traditional “Kuntunkuni” cloth, slaughtered a ram to traditionally signify their disgust at the events in Techiman.
Nana Asare said he was attending a court case at Wenchi when the machomen bundled him into a vehicle and sent him to the Techimanhene’s palace.
He said he was tied up, with both hands at the back, after which some of the machomen asked him whether he would continue to pay allegiance to the Asantehene, adding that when he answered in the affirmative, they started beating him in the presence of the Techimanhene.
Nana Asare alleged that the Techimanhene started raining insults on Otumfuo Osei Tutu, saying that he (the Techimanhene) had no control over any land in the area and, therefore, Nana Baffour could not claim allegiance to the Asantehene.
The Tuobodom Omanhene said he was again sent to another room where they asked him the same question, and when he affirmed his stand, the beatings continued.
According to him, he was at the Techimanhene’s palace when the Brong Ahafo Regional Police Commander and the Regional Crime Officer came to ask about some chiefs who had been arrested by some machomen.
The machomen told the police officers that those arrested were people who had connived with the Asantehene to steal their land.
Nana Asare said the regional police commander later took him from the palace and locked him up in cells at the Sunyani Police Station.
He alleged that the Techimanhene had stated categorically that the police in the region were on his side and that his government was in power so he could do whatever pleased him without fear.
Commenting on the issue, the Amanhene and Abrempong who spoke at the Manhyia meeting condemned the act by the Techimanhene and warned him to refrain from further acts that could generate into terrible disturbances.