…Charges Ansah Asare
A former Director of Ghana School of Law, has indicted President Nana Akufo-Addo for meddling in the Okuapeman chieftaincy matters by backing one of the two claimants of the Akuapem Stool by name Kwadwo Kesse who got a paltry two votes at a conclave of senior female elders of Akuapem against five votes obtained by Nana Obuobi.
Why and how the President of the land, would be backing the loser of the votes by conclave, is beating the imagination of the respected senior lawyer, Kwaku Ansah-Asare; and he insisted that the President, would have been impeached by now, if Ghana was a serious country because what he is doing was an impeachable offense against the Constitution.
According to Mr Ansah-Asare, he has a document in which the President vowed that he was going to ensure that Kwadwo Kesse, the loser of the conclave, was accepted as Akuapemhene, by all.
Last month, Kwadwo Kesse ,outdoored a sister of the President, as the Abrewatia of Benkum Kyeame Abusua of Akropong-Akuapem. It was attended by many state officials, including the President and his wife.
Mr Ansah-Asare, argued that that assurance from President Akufo-Addo, was “needless” as he does not have the power to select, nominate, elect, enstool and install anyone as Akuapemhene, because it is not part of the constitutional roles of the President.
That power, Mr Ansah-Asare said is the sole preserve of the senior female elders of Akuapem, as well as the Queenmother of Akuapem under Article 277 Clause 1, hence the President must stay away from the Okuapeman chieftaincy matters, including using the Police to frighten people who are against Kwadwo Kesse.
“I am not accusing the President, I am saying he is interfering, and I am also saying that he cannot deny that he is behind the chieftaincy crisis in Akuapem. If he stops, there will be no crisis. He is behind Kwadwo Kesse. Now the whole world should know that the person he is projecting has been convicted by the High Court for Contempt of Court, for disobeying the orders of the court not to do anything whilst the chieftaincy matter was pending”, he said.
Mr Ansa-Asare continued, “now if the matter is pending before the Supreme Court, can any gazette anyone as a chief? No! When he does that, he is violating the Constitution. If Ghana, were to be a serious nation, the President would have been impeached by now for violating the Constitution. I have said it before, he should not do that. Everyone must keep to his line. He should play his role and live a legacy.
He further charged at the President, saying “he is a lawyer, I am a lawyer. I respect him as the president of the republic, but I dislike his interference in chieftaincy matters. He can do whatever he likes but not with chieftaincy. We adore the chieftaincy institution. We came to find the chieftaincy as a repository of the cultural values and traditions of everybody. That is why in the constitution, Article 11 Clause 3, has identified the communities and granted them the customary rites to go about their customary duties to go about… no President, it is only God, only God who can terminate the life for the life of an Akuapemhemaa or Akuapemhene not the President. The President is like any of us”.
The former Director of Ghana School of Law, who is the lawyer for the petitioners in the Okuapeman chieftaincy dispute, stated that per a recent ruling of the Koforidua High Court there’s no Okuapehene.
According to him, Kwadwo Kesse, who is parading himself as Okuapehene, has not purged himself of contempt of court, after he paid his fine and is appealing the case in the Supreme Court.
The Ghana Police Service, filed a motion praying the Akuapem Mampong District court for an order to stop Odehye Kwasi Akuffo from parading himself as a royal at a funeral, thus creating tension in Akropong.
The motion was for the execution of bond for keeping the peace under section 22 of the criminal and other offences (Procedure) Act 1969, Act 30. The Police wanted to secure an order from the court to direct the respondent -Odehye Kwasi Akuffo to desist from parading himself as Okuapehene.
Lawyer Ansah-Asare, reminded the court that his client has filed a prohibition order at the Koforidua High Court to stop hearing of the motion at the district court which has been served through the Registrar.
He argued that there is no provision in the constitution of Ghana that prohibits a royal from dressing as such, therefore, the accusation that Odehye Kwasi Akuffo dressed and paraded as Okuapehene has no merit because he only dressed like a royal.
Nonetheless, he said the District Court has no jurisdiction on the matter, and described the motion for the execution of bond against Odehye Kwasi Akuffo as a ploy to rather disturb the peace of Akropong.
The Presiding Judge, Her Worship Felicia Anan-Antwi ruled that, under the circumstance of the prohibition order, the court stays the motion for execution of bond.
The court therefore adjourned the matter to October 17, 2023, pending the determination by the high court.
Lawyer Ansah-Asare, said the body of eminent Chiefs has asked parties in the Okuapeman Chieftaincy dispute to go back and follow the ruling of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, the Queen Mother of Okuapeman and the Asonahene since they are those clothed with the authority in selecting the next Okuapehene.
This means the installation process of who becomes the Okupehene must be started all over again. This has not been done.
He said this makes the man who carries himself as Okuapehene Nana Kwesi Akuffo III, so-called installation null and void.
Lawyer Ansah-Asare said last year the ‘alleged Okuapehene’ of Akropong-Akuapem, Odehye Kwadwo Kese together with one Abrewatia Lilly Agyemang were convicted of contempt by a Koforidua High Court in the Eastern Region, and they have not overturned it even at the Supreme Court.
The Koforidua High Court presided over by Justice Doris Dabanka-Bekoe, had sentenced them to a fine of GH¢10,000 for which they risked spending 14 days in prison if they fail to pay the fine within seven days of the court’s judgment, a fine they have accepted and paid.
That ruling came at the back of a suit filed by Nana Afua Nketiaa Obuo II, Okuapehemea, and Nana Kwesi Omenako II, Asonahene of Akuapem against the contemnors for blatantly ignoring the judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs.
The Judicial Committee in a ruling on April 30, 2020, nullified the nomination, selection, and enstoolment of Odehye Kwasi Akuffo as Okuapehene, on grounds that the processes leading to his installation were not carried out in accordance with custom, hence were null and void.
Subsequently, the committee directed the Queenmother of the Akuapem Traditional Area, bestowed with the customary responsibility, to nominate a candidate to mount the Ofori Kuma Stool as Okuapehene to recommence the process of finding and installing a new Okuapehene.
She was to reconduct the nomination and selection process of a new Okuapehene in consultation with the elders of the Sajyiabea family, Asonahene of Akuapem, on the grounds that, “the process of nomination and selection is a matter purely for the Adehye of the Asona Clan, and no other person or entity.”
Lily Agyemang on May 1, 2020, in blatant disregard of the orders of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs Judicial Committee, ignored the consequential order of the regional house of Chiefs nominated and selected Odehye Kwadwo Kesse for enstoolment as Okuapehene.
The High Court after hearing the matter determined that Odehye Kwadwo Kesse and Abrewatia Lilly Agyemang were guilty of contempt of court and hence convicted them to a fine of GHc10,000 each, or in default go to jail for 14 days.
As contemnors, they followed the court order and paid their fine. Until they challenge their conviction in court, they cannot do anything otherwise.
Despite the contempt of the court, last month, Oseadeyo Kwasi Akuffo, outdoored a sister of the President, as the Abrewatia of Benkum Kyeame Abusua of Akropong-Akuapem.
Marigold Nana Abena Oye Akufo-Addo’s ceremony, although a small gathering, was attended by a tall list of some high-powered dignitaries, including Ministers of State.
President Akufo-Addo, himself was in attendance, and a number of other very notable personalities were also in attendance.
Some of the personalities seen at the ceremony were; the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo; a former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings; a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu; and the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.
Other dignitaries were the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare; the Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery; the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal; the Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Attah; and the Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Acheampong.
Named after her great-grandmother Nana Oye Mansa, mother of Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa I, Madam Marigold, plays an active role in her Akuapem community by helping to solve problems and fostering unity.
She is often referred to as “Abrewatia a odi Amantrasa” in recognition of her civic leadership in Akwamufie, Okuapeman and Ahenease (Akyem).
“I stand on the shoulders of generations of matriarchs who have preceded me in serving Okuapeman and I will do everything within my power to help Okuapeman tap into the boundless possibilities that lie ahead,” Marigold said.