THE High Court in Kumasi has dismissed an application for an order to compel the National House of Chiefs (NHC) to delete the name of Osagyefo Kwamena Enimil VI from the national register of chiefs as Omanhene of Wassa Fiase Traditional Area in the Western Region.
The ex-Omanhene of the area, Odeneho Akrofa Krukoko II, who filed the application for mandamus also lost in his bid to get the court to order the NHC to reinstate his name in the national register of chiefs instead of Osagyefo Enimil.
In its ruling last Monday, the court, presided over by Mr Justice George Kingsley Koomson, said the applicant was not clothed with the right to compel the NHC to perform its statutory duty by way of mandamus.
It noted the long journey that the matter had travelled, adding that “the parties and the people of Wassa Fiase Traditional Area would like to see an end to this long-standing litigation, which, in my view, they deserve.”
According to the court, it might be true that the enstoolment of Osagyefo Enimil as Omanhene was void but unless his enstoolment was declared a nullity, it would be a difficult task for the NHC to alter the register without an order from a court of competent jurisdiction.
“In my view the applicant took the right step by challenging his (applicant) destoolment and the enstoolment of the interested party (Osagyefo Enimil) before the Judicial Committee of the Western Regional House of Chiefs.
“In my considered opinion it is only when the destoolment of the applicant and the enstoolment of the interested party have been set aside as being void and nullity by a court of competent jurisdiction that the applicant would be clothed with the right to compel the respondent its statutory duty by way of mandamus,” the judge said.
“On the whole the affidavit evidence adduced in the case, and on the preponderance of the probabilities, I am convinced that the application for mandamus to issue against respondent should fail,” the court added.
The court pointed out that for mandamus to succeed, it must be established among other things that the duty was of public nature and that there had been a demand and a refusal to perform that public duty enjoined by statute.
A brief facts of the case are that Odeneho Akrofa, then Omanhene of the area, was convicted of contempt by the High Court in Sekondi and sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment.
As a result of his conviction and incarceration, the kingmakers of the area destooled him and in his place Osagyefo Enimil was enstooled on April 23, 2002.
Dissatisfied with the conviction, Odeneho Akrofa appealed against the sentence, which was set aside by the Court of Appeal on April 17, 2003.
As a result of the Court of Appeal decision, Odeneho Akrofa mounted various actions at the Western Regional House of Chiefs challenging the enstoolment of Osagyefo Enimil but all the attempts to have his name reinstated in the national register of chiefs failed.
The court awarded cost of GH¢20,000 in favour of the NHC and GH¢30,000 to Osagyefo Enimil.