A former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been accused by residents of Akwamuman of “fanning and funding” a protracted chieftaincy dispute at the Akwamu traditional area.
Addressing the media Sunday at Akwamu in the Eastern region, Godfred Akyea -Darkwa, chairman of the group alleged that Mr. Annan, who is the Head of the Yaa Ansaa family, a faction in the Chieftaincy dispute, provided funding for the long term ligation, and has planned to fund the family again to continue the litigation, despite a ruling by the Eastern regional House of Chiefs, which upheld the legitimacy of Akwamuhene, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III .
According to the group, the Chieftaincy dispute has retarded the development of the area, hence calling on the international diplomat to urge his family to accept the ruling of the traditional council.
The Eastern Regional House of Chiefs has upheld the legitimacy of Akwamuhene, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III after six years of litigation ending the 25 years of historic dispute in Akwamu traditional area between the Yaa Ansaa and Botwe Family from Aboabo .
On Wednesday, the Judicial Committee of the Eastern regional House of Chiefs Chaired by Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin ruled that, per the evidence, facts, history, custom and all the exhibits presented before the committee throughout the hearing, “to ascend to the black stool of Akwamu, a candidate must of necessity come from either the House of Yaa Ansaa or Yaa Botwe Family; that there is no established system of rotation in Akwamu to ascend to the Paramount stool, that as far as the history of the people of Akwamu is Concerned, the Office of the Queenmother is not alien to the people of Akwamu, that the first Respondent is one in the series of queenmothers of Akwamu, that the fourth Respondent (Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III ) was validly nominated, elected and installed as Paramount Chief of Akwamu in accordance with the custom and practices of the People of Akwamu”.
The 25 years Chieftaincy dispute in Akwamu resurrected in 2011, when the Queen Mother of Akwamu from the Botwe royal family, Nana Afrakoma, enstool Kwabena Owiredu now with stool name Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III) as Omanhene of Akwamu Traditional Area.
In a bid to stop the process, the rival Ansaa royal family, referred the matter to a High Court in Koforidua, but that did not stop the Botwe family from installing Nana Kwabena Owiredu as Paramount Chief of the Akwamu Traditional Area.
An arrest warrant was subsequently issued in 2012 for Nana Afrakoma and Nana Owiredu for contempt.
The matter was eventually referred to the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs for resolution, but the defendants, the Botwe royal family, accused the Ansaa family and the former UN Secretary General ,Kofi Annan– who is head of the Ansaa family – of unduly dragging the matter.
Reliefs by the Petitioners
The Petitioners (Yaa Ansaa Family) contended,historically,the Botwe Family is not part of the royal lineage buttressing that, out of the 14 Paramount chiefs reined in Akwamu, only 2 of them came from the Botwe Family of Aboabo which according to the Petitioners, the two Chiefs were allowed because there was shortfall of legible candidates from the Yaa Ansaa family The family hence instituted instant action as per their petition seeking the following reliefs :
Declaration that it is the turn of the Ansaa gate to nominate a candidate for the occupation of the royal balckstool of Akwamu.
B.Declaration that in Akwamu,nomination of a candidate for the black stool is not the exclusive preserve of the Queen mother.
C.Declaration that any nomination, election of Odeneho Kwarfo Akoto III is contrary to custom and practices of Akwamu and therefore null and Void.
Perpetual injunction to restrain the respondent from nominating, electing, selecting, enstooling or in any way installing the paramount Chief of Akwamu without the involvement of the Ansaa gate.
Perpetual injunction to restrain Odeneho Kwarfo Akoto III from Acting or Purporting to act as the Paramount Chief of Akwamu.
Perpetual injunction to restrain the Queen mother of Akwamu,Nana Afrakoma II, Nana Nyarkoa (Benkumhene and Nana Asomani (Amanguahene ), 1st 2nd and 3rd respondents from projecting, endorsing, encouraging or acknowledging Odeneho Kwarfo Akoto III (4th respondent ) as the Paramount Chief of Akwamu .
However , delivering the judgement, the Judicial Committee on Wednesday in Koforidua said “the petitioners failed to establish that, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III was not validly nominated, elected and installed as Paramount Chief of Akwamu adding that, per the evidence adduced ,the Odeneho Kwarfo Akoto III is a royal and validly nominated, elected and installed as Chief of Akwamu.
Background to the dispute
The two factions have been battling each other in the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs and the law courts since the demise of the Akwamu Omanhene, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto II( from Yaa Botwe family), in 1992, having ruled for 55 years from his installation in 1936, served as the chairman of the Presidential Commission of Ghana in 1955. The chief had occupied the stool on the ticket of the Botwe family.
But 25 years after his death, the two families have been litigating over who qualifies to occupy the vacant stool.
The Yaa Ansaa family attempted to enstool an Omanhene in the person of Kyeremateng Afranie, however, he was restrained by the queenmother, Nana Afrakoma, through a court injunction not to restricting him to operate as a chief.
Later, the Queenmother installed Kwabena Owiredu, now known as Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, from the Yaa Botwe family -an action the Yaa Ansaa family described as illegal beacused it did not involve the kingmakers of Akwamu.
Petitioners accuses Judicial Committee of bribery
The petitioners livid by the Judgement accused the Judicial Committee of taken bribe to circumvent the truth. Okeyehen Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, Chairman of the Committee and President of the Regional House of Chiefs before the ruling furiously cautioned against litany of unfounded bribery allegations against the Committee.
According to the Yaa Ansaa Family ,the judgement will be appealed at the National House of Chiefs and from that if not satisfy with the ruling, they will take it up to the Supreme Court for the right thing to be done.