The Supreme Court by a unanimous has declared the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family, the rightful owners of the Black Stool “Amanpong Gua” of Akwamu in the Eastern Region setting the stage for what might be the end of the reign of Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III as Akwamuhene or possible negotiations to hold until further notice.
Shortly after the Supreme Court verdict, the camp of Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III from the Yaa Botwe had jumped into wild jubilation creating the impression that they had been victorious and that the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family had been conquered, but a summary of the Supreme Court’s decision obtained by The Herald, painted a different picture.
The five Supreme Court judges led by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, had affirmed two judgements from the Eastern Regional House Chiefs in Koforidua and the National House of Chief in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region which had emphatically declared Yaa Ansaa Royal Family rightful owners of the Black Stool “Amanpong Gua” of Akwamu.
The justices had declared in their judgment dated May 4, 2022 that “after assessing the rival traditional evidence and of the two rival testimonies, on the balance of probabilities, the Yaa Ansaa family is the rightful family which owns the Akwamu Amanpon Gua Black Stool” but candidates from the Yaa Botwe family are only considered for the stool in the absence eligible male candidates from the Yaa Ansaa family.
The judges who heard the case were justices Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, A.M.A Dordzie, Nene A. Amegatcher, A Lovelace-Johnson and Emmanuel Yonni Kulendi.
The apex court had explained that “by the age old traditional of the Akwamu, whenever a vacancy occurs in the paramountcy, it is the Abreawatia of the Yaa Ansaa Family who in consultation with the Abusuapanyin of the Yaa Ansaa Family nominates a candidate for approval and installation by the Kingmakers”.
It added that “in making the nomination, the Abrewatia may consider candidate from other houses including the Yaa Botwe gate in line with the practice developed over the last two centuries to permit male candidate from other gates to ascend to the paramountcy in the absence of eligible male candidates from the Yaa Ansaa Family”.
This, the Supreme Court said, is because “ascension to the paramountcy of Akwamu is not rotational”.
According to the Supreme Court, “the Akwamus developed in the last two centuries a customary system whereby ascension to the stool was opened to the eligible candidate from other gates such as the Yaa Botwe gate.
“The system led to the installation of Kwafo Akoto II from the Yaa Botwe gate who ruled for 55 years and later Kwafo Akoto III who is the 4th Respondent. According to the 4th Respondent from Yaa Botwe gate, having been properly nominated and installed by the kingmakers according to that customary practice, his enstoolment as the paramount chief of Akwamu would be confirmed”.
The position of the apex court is that “…after his tenure, nomination to the Akwamu Paramountcy shall be made from any of the eligible candidates by the Abrewtia of the Yaa Ansaa gate in consultation with the Abusuapayin.
The Herald’s information is that over the last three decades, the Yaa Ansaa and Yaa Botwe families have been contesting each other over the legitimate custodians of the Amanpong Gua Black Stool, and who becomes the rightful heirs to the Akwamu throne.
After last Wednesday, ruling by the Supreme Court, both parties were seen jubilating at Akwamufie which nearly ended in a clash and bloodbath.
The case, was first reported at Eastern Regional House of Chiefs in Koforidua, and heard on Wednesday 10th May 2017 at the Easter Regional House of Chiefs by a three member committee, presided by Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panyin, Okotwaasuo Kantamanto Oworae Agyekum and Nene Sakite II.
Their ruling affirms that the Black Stool “Amanpong Gua” solely belongs to the Yaa Ansaa Royal family, and explained that the black stool was created in Twifu Heman before migration.
In the year 1500 at Heman, the first Chief of Akwamu, Nana Agyen Kokobo from the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family was enstooled. Successive chiefs from the Yaa Ansaa took over the reins and led the people of Akwamu from Heman to Nyanawase to the present place of settlement.
The Yaa Botwe family who are respondents in the case are said to have come from Aboabo, and that assertion remains unchallenged. Yaa Botwe and Yaa Ansaa are two different families, and even though there have been instances where persons from the Yaa Botwe family have acted as regents when there is a short fall in the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family, it doesn’t make them part or owners of the black stool.
In summary the Regional House of Chiefs ruled that, even though the stool belongs to the Yaa Ansaa family, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III was appointed by the Queen mother and thus he was rightfully selected.
This judgment didn’t sit well with the Yaa Ansaa family and they proceeded to the National House of Chiefs to seek clarification on why they are owners of the non-rotatory Amanpon Gua, yet the Regional House of Chiefs affirmed Odeneho Kwafo III as rightfully elected.
Here it came to light that the Queen Mother, Nana Afrakoma II is also from Aboabo. In the customary rights of the Yaa Ansaa family, it’s the Abrewatia who appoints a Paramount Chief in consultation with the Head of Family and Kingmakers not the Queen mother.
Odeneho Kwafo Akoto’s appointment became illegitimates at this point, so the support of the Abrewatia from the Yaa Ansaa was required.
Just before the National House of Chiefs ruling, the Abrewatia from the Yaa Ansaa family in the person of Abrewa Love Som served the family with a letter to withdraw from the case and strangely switched camp to support the Yaa Botwe Family even though she was a leading member of the petitioners.
Nevertheless the rest of the Yaa Ansaa family went ahead to the Supreme Court to determine the owners of the black stool.
The Apex court also affirmed the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family as the custodians of the Amanpong Gua, and insisted that there is no established rotation because it is just a single gate and not two gates as has been claimed.
Also the Supreme Court affirmed that one’s ascension to the paramount throne can only be legitimate if appointed by the Abrewatia in consultation with Abusuapanyin and kingmakers.
The fourth ruling which caused the respondents to celebrate is derived from the fact that, the Supreme Court still said Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III was validly nominated, although it has since emerged that the Abrewatia and the Abusuapanyin of the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family who are the custodians of stool, were not involved in the process.
Meanwhile, questions are being thrown at Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III including why he is parading himself as the Paramount chief of Akwamu, although he doesn’t belong to the Yaa Ansaa Royal family and wasn’t appointed by the Abrewatia and Abusuapanyin of the Yaa Ansaa Royal family as custom demands.
Finally, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, is said not to have denied reports that he is a Yaa Botwe Family member, from Aboabo.
Currently there are many heir apparent from the Yaa Ansaa Royal family ready to ascend Akwamuman stool.
Other reports have said that the royals from Yaa Ansaa Family who ascend the throne are titled “Otumfuo” whereas regents are titled “Odeneho” in the few cases of shortfall.
Reports available to The Herald, suggest that the Akwamu chieftaincy crisis is far from being over as Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III alias Oweredu, is seeing and held by the Yaa Ansaa Family squatter.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has set latest 16th May 2022 to file the full judgment with the registry of the Court.