It has emerged that, the members of the Concern Youth of Offinso, who recently held a press conference describing the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as an autocratic leader overstepping his traditional powers in the seemingly chieftaincy dispute in the area, were rented to do so.
The youth without mincing words kicked against Manhyia Palace’s decision that the kingmakers of the Offinso traditional area, should bring a new person other than the former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Dr Kofi Koduah Sarpong, to succeed the late paramount chief of Offinso, Nana Wiafe Akenten II, who has joined his ancestors.
At a press conference, the concerned members of Offinso Youth led by a “retired people teacher” said, “Offinso has taken note the Asante has taken advantage of the respect our queen mother has for him and therefore over-exercising his powers on our queen mother and making him powerless.”
“We can say emphatically that Otumfuo has no power to distool or enstool any paramount chief and he should allow Offinso Hemaa to do her work”.
The press conference, which was strangely held outside the Offinso township specifically at Kokoti, was in favour of Dr KK Sarpong, although the Offinso Traditional Council, had denied claims that the former GNPC boss had been nominated and accepted by them as a successor of the late, Nana Awiafe Akenten III.
Dr KK Sarpong’s selection which was captured in a viral video had been described as a “clandestine” and a media gimmick being employed by elements close to Nana Ama Serwaa Nyarko, the Queen-mother to push the GNPC boss through, despite concerns that he is not from Offinso and has no royal lineage permitting him to the powerful stool.
The Asantehene, on April 28, 2022, ahead of his departure to the United States, turned down a request from Nana Ama Serwaa Nyarko, to accept Dr. Sarpong, as her choice to ascend the Offinso stool, telling her to go and do the right thing as demanded by the tradition and the customary protocols.
But the Concerned Youth of Offinso, have accused Manhyia of over-exercising its powers on their leader.
The group, said the rejection of the Offinso kingmakers’ choice of a new chief, amounted to harassment of their queen mother, Nana Ama Serwaa Nyarko, who superintends over the choice and that it also robs her of her power to do so.
“Offinso is highly disappointed in how the pending chieftaincy dispute is being resolved by HRM Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
“Offinso has taken notice that Asantehene is taking advantage of the respect that our queen mother has for him and therefore overexercising his powers on our queen mother to harass and make her powerless,” part of their statement read in part.
The youth stated that 18 contenders were penned down for the vacant stool and were whittled down to three and finally, KK Sarpong, the Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) was chosen as a successor to the late Offinsohene.
“The kingmakers unanimously accepted the nominee in good faith. If the kingmakers had rejected the nominee, the queen mother would not have an option and we repeat, that there was nothing like an objection from our kingmakers,” they added.
According to them, necessary customs, traditions and aseda nsa (drink of thanks) were given to the relevant authorities in that respect only for the nomination to be rejected by Manhyia.
“We can state emphatically that Otumfuo has no power to enstool or destool any Omanhene and should allow the Offinso Hemaa and kingmakers to do their work,” they charged.
They rejected the often-cited reason for the rejection, stating that there was no spell cast on the Ahyiemu Royal family and that other reports had dispelled same, yet the same “fabricated lies” are being used to block KK Sarpong.
At the last meeting over the matter, Otumfuo had warned that he would never countenance any actions on the part of the queen and the elders that would undermine the tradition of Asanteman when it comes to the election and selection of chiefs.
“No one can arrogate powers that do not exist to themselves. None of the elders have the right to sell land when there is no Offinsohene, specifically when it is the Offinsohene who must sign off the sale.
“There is no such power. You are to take charge until a new chief is installed and then account for your stewardship.
“So be very careful in Offinso. I am very aware of all the things you’re doing at Offinso. You’re friends with Pitin Abontengdomhene and you have recorded a tape… I am very aware of your plot, that you will go ahead and install a new chief when I travel by Monday.
“Offinso Hemaa you are aware of this, be very careful… I would never allow you to cause the downfall of Offinso,” Otumfuo stated through his linguists in an audiotape of his Asantemen court sitting shared by Royal Palace Multimedia.
The demise of Nana Wiafe Akenten III has left a vacuum which has led to a struggle over who becomes his successor. Dr Sarpong was selected by the Queen Mother of Offinso with the support of some elders but was rejected by Otumfuo because Dr Sarpong was not from Offinso and not qualified by bloodline to ascend the throne per the report of a committee of some five chiefs he set up to delve into the confusion on the selection of Dr Sarpong.
Otumfuo has thus warned Nana Ama Serwaa Nyarko and the elders of Offinso to put forth another candidate through the appropriate channel or risk having him select a candidate for them on the 6th of November 2023.
Dr KK Sarpong, is said to have mentioned one Kyeiwaa as his biological grandmother who left Offinson to reside at Nsuta-Beposo, as his connection to the Offinso stool, but some three elders of Offinso namely; Appiah Osei, Opanin Kankam and Opanin Nana Bempa, came out to debunk his claim, saying the said lady although came from Beposo, was barren, hence could not be the ex-GNPC boss’ grandmother.