Report on petition submitted by the elders of Royal Asona Family of Gomoa Buduatta published

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A report on the petition submitted by the elders and kingmakers of the Royal Asona family of Gomoa Buduatta on impropriety charges and destoolment, has been released on Thursday May 27.

The report said “Based on the consent and acceptance of the invitation by both parties – – the Omanhen and the Petitioners — the Akwamuhen convened a meeting of the Akyempim Divisional Chiefs and Kingmakers on Wednesday, May 9, 2021 to attempt to resolve the issues raised in the petition through arbitration. Invited to the mediation meeting were the Petitioners, the Omanhen, and the Gomoa Akempim Divisional Chiefs.

“The Omanhen reneged on his promise to attend the meeting. He did not honour the invitation. Instead, he delivered letters through couriers through two (2) separate lawyers – – one at about 8:00pm in the night before the meeting to the Akwamuhen at his private residence in Apam, and the other in the morning at about 11.00 a.m. at the Akwamuhen’s palace when the meeting was in session – – to inform the meeting that the Divisional Chiefs did not have the mandate and capacity to arbitrate the case. Accordingly, the counsel had directed that he should rather meet the Petitioners at the Regional House of Chiefs. This response and the mode of delivery constituted an affront and disrespect to custom, the Chieftaincy Act (Section 30), the Divisional Chiefs, and the Petitioners.  The least he could have done was to get one of his linguists or one of his sub-Chiefs to represent him in person and/or through a legal counsel.”

Below is the full report…

REPORT ON PROCEEDINGS ON PETITION SUBMITTED BY THE ELDERS AND KINGMAKERS OF THE ROYAL ASONA FAMILY OF GOMOA BUDUATTA ON IMPROPRIETY CHARGES CHARGES AND DESTOOLMENT

INTRODUCTION

The Elders and Kingmakers of the Royal Asona Family of Gomoa Buduatta resolved on the 29th of April, 2021 to destool the Omanhen of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area, Obirifo Ahunaku Ahor Ankobea II on charges of impropriety since his accession in 2001.

Based on the above resolution, the Petitioners addressed a destoolment Petition for rectification to Nana Obotantam Effrim, Akwamuhene, Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area; Nana Kwaw Adafrakye, Mankrado, Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area; and all Divisional Chiefs of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area, copied to Obirifo Ahunako Ahor Ankobea II, Omanhen Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area; Ebusuapanyin Kojo Essel; the Registrar, Gomoa Akempim Traditional Council; and the President of the Central House of Chiefs.

Section 30 of the Chieftaincy Act, 2008, Act 759 provides that “The power of a Chief to act as an arbitrator in customary arbitration in any dispute where the parties consent to the arbitration is guaranteed.” Consistent with this section and in response to the request emanating from the Petitioners, the Akyempim Akwamuhen sent a letter of invitation to the Omanhen and the Petitioners inviting them for an arbitration. The letter was delivered at the private residence/palace of the Omanhen at Buduatta by couriers in person. The Omanhen received and read the letter in the presence of the couriers. He orally accepted to honour the invitation. The petitioners did likewise.

Based on the consent and acceptance of the invitation by both parties – – the Omanhen and the Petitioners — the Akwamuhen convened a meeting of the Akyempim Divisional Chiefs and Kingmakers on Wednesday, May 9, 2021 to attempt to resolve the issues raised in the petition through arbitration. Invited to the mediation meeting were the Petitioners, the Omanhen, and the Gomoa Akempim Divisional Chiefs.

The Omanhen reneged on his promise to attend the meeting. He did not honour the invitation. Instead, he delivered letters through couriers through two (2) separate lawyers – – one at about 8:00pm in the night before the meeting to the Akwamuhen at his private residence in Apam, and the other in the morning at about 11.00 a.m. at the Akwamuhen’s palace when the meeting was in session – – to inform the meeting that the Divisional Chiefs did not have the mandate and capacity to arbitrate the case. Accordingly, the counsel had directed that he should rather meet the Petitioners at the Regional House of Chiefs. This response and the mode of delivery constituted an affront and disrespect to custom, the Chieftaincy Act (Section 30), the Divisional Chiefs, and the Petitioners.  The least he could have done was to get one of his linguists or one of his sub-Chiefs to represent him in person and/or through a legal counsel.

Under the circumstances, the meeting proceeded without the Omanhen. The meeting was chaired by the Akwamuhen.  At the meeting the grievances outlined in the petition were formally tabled for review and discussion.

Ten (10) charges were preferred against the Omanhen by the Petitioners. The allegations hinge on contempt and breach of custom and tradition, outright fraud and criminality, mismanagement and poor governance.  The summary of the petition charges against the Omanhen are as follows:

  1. Carving a new black stool which is a Taboo and failure to purify the Ancestral Black Stool since ascension in 2001.
  2. Removal of the Traditional Headquarters of Gomoa Akyempim from Assin to his private residence at Gomoa Buduatta where he performs sacred rites such as the meeting of Divisional Chiefs, and Swearing in of Oath for new Chiefs and Family Heads.
  3. Creation of a new Sacred Pot (Akor) at Gomoa Buduatta to the neglect of the Ancestral Sacred Pot (Akor) of the Gomoa Akyempim Palace in Gomoa Assin.
  4.  Refusal to perform the Final Funeral Rites of his predecessors since his ascension.
  5. Creation of intra family insecurity, conflicts and divisions within and among the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area.
  6. Failure to account for stool royalties.
  7. Indulgence in Fraudulent Acts.
  8.  Failure to facilitate the provision of basic social amenities.
  9. Indiscriminate conferment of Chieftaincy on non-indigene.
  10.  Unilateral decision making.

A copy of the petition is attached

BACKGROUND
The Omanhen was enstooled by the Kingmakers of the Royal Asona Family of Buduatta to ascend the Ahunaku Stool in 2001, after the demise of his predecessor, Okukutan Ahunaku Acquah I aka Brigadier D. A. Asare, a former Chief of Army Staff of Ghana from February 1972 to January 1973.

The Elders and Kingmakers of the Royal Asona Family aver that the Omanhen, without justifiable cause, has conducted himself in ways that are an affront to the customary practices of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area.

On 24th of April this year, the Royal Asona Family of Buduatta thus petitioned the Omanhemaa (Paramount Queenmother) of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area, Obaatanpa Ama Eduwa I, who is also the Abrewatia (to wit, wise old lady) of the Royal Asona Family of Buduatta over the impropriety of the Omanhen, and urged the King’s immediate destoolment.

In a response to the petition on the 26th April 2021, the Abrewatia endorsed the litany of charges against the Omanhen and referenced the charges for the destoolment of Kusae Adu XV the then Omanhen of the Gomoa Assin State.

The Abrewatia noted: “The lack of access to justice means that conflicts remain unresolved and people cannot obtain protection and redress. Institutions that do not function according to legitimate laws are prone to arbitrariness and abuse of power, and less capable of delivering on their oath of office.”

In Omanhen’s response to Nana Obotantam Edu-Effrim, the Apaahen and Akwamuhen of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Council, the Omanhen’s lawyers (Lartey, Badombie & Co.) have stated that the decision by the Royal family is unfounded.

They said that according to their client, the Omanhen, the Gomoa Akyempim royal stool is made up of six (6) royal houses alleging, “except Ebusuapanyin Kojo Odoom, all other petitioners are not heads of the various gates clothed with the capacity to call for our client’s destoolment and that the attempt to destool the Omanhen is an affront to the laid down customary practices of the area and likely to breach the peace of the traditional area.”

In another letter by AMPONSA-DADZIE & PARTNERS Legal Practitioners (also lawyers for the Omanhen) addressed to Nana Obotantam Edu-Effrim, the Apaahen and Akwamuhen of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Council, the Lawyers said, “Our instructions are that our client cannot appear before you for the purpose of the letter in light of the law regulating Deposition/Destoolment Proceedings. The law being the Chieftaincy Act, 2008, Act 759 now regulates Destoolment or Deposition procedures and per section 40 of the said Act, such destoolment proceedings have to be instituted at the Judicial Committee at the appropriate judicial forum (in the case of our client being a Paramount Chief, the Central Region House of Chiefs).”

“Since your outfit is not the appropriate forum for reference/institution of destoolment proceedings to determine the charges and the liability of our client, our client is advised not to appear before you as requested in your letter,” they argued.

“In the circumstances, we shall urge you Nana, to advise the Petitioners to comply with the laws of Ghana by filing the appropriate Petition at the Regional House of Chiefs against our client, if they still intend to pursue their unmeritorious venture and not take the law into their own hands, for which reason we have taken the liberty to copy the Ghana Police Service,” they advised.

However, the Omanhemaa, Obaatanpa Ama Eduwa I has emphasized that:

“There’s no section in the Chieftaincy Act (2008) that supports impropriety. Also, it is important to exhaust all customary procedures which, may have allowed the Omanhen to exonerate himself against the allegations charged for his disposition before advancing to the Regional House of Chiefs.”

She added that “It is clear that the Omanhen who barely represents the Traditional Council at the Central Regional House of Chiefs, prefers the escalation of his impropriety to the Regional House of Chiefs to the customary approach that usually seeks to circumvent the matter.”

FINDINGS

The petitioners aver that that they are the Ebusuampanyinfo of the Royal Asona Family of Gomoa Buduatta and elsewhere. They had resolved with effect from 24th April, 2021, to dispense with the services of Obirifo Ahunako Ahor Ankobea II, the Omanhen of Gomoa Akyempim Traditonal Area, who was nominated and selected by them from their Royal Family to the Ohagufo (Kingmakers) and Apakanhenfo (Divisional Chiefs) to be installed, and was installed as the Omanhen of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area in 2001.  

Based on the grievances outlined above, the Petitioners entreated the Ohagufo and Apakanhenfo to promptly initiate a process to ratify their decision to destool the Omanhen and dispense off his services to redeem the reputation of Gomoa Akyempim and save it from further embarrassment, downsliding and shame.

The Ohagufo and Apakanhenfo reviewed the charges presented by the petitioners. The review informed the Ohagufo and Apakanhenfo that there was merit in inviting the Omanhen for a dialogue, mediation and probable rectification.

The Omanhen refused to honour the invitation. Refusing to honour the invitation and asking his lawyers to write to the Ohagufo and Divisional Chiefs and deliver through couriers at the last minute is an affront and gross disrespect to the Ohagufo and Divisional Chiefs, and the Petitioners.

RECOMMENDATION

  1. The Omanhen snubbed the Ohagufo and Apakanhenfo by refusing to honour the invitation to dialogue with them. This constitutes a breach of his oath to his office to appear before them whenever invited. It is also an affront and disrespect to the Ohagufo and Apakanhenfo.
  2. The Omanhen may decide to wait for the Petition to be processed through the Regional House of Chiefs and beyond.
  3. After reneging on his consent based on Section 30 of the Chieftaincy Act, to exhaust the grievances with his family members, colleague Chiefs at his Traditional Council, The Petitioners are not obliged to proceed to the Regional House of Chiefs and beyond for further processing or adjudication of the grievances and allegations.

CONCLUSION

After a careful review of the petition, and the unsuccessful effort to get the Omanhen to meet to dialogue with the Petitioners, it has been concluded that all three parties – the Omanhen, the Ohagufo and Divisional Chiefs, and the Petitioners have reached stalemate.

To add insult to injury, in a letter dated 24th May, 2021, the Omanhen unilaterally decided to dissolve the Standing Committee of the Traditional Council and dismiss all the members with immediate effect.

The Gomoa Akyempim Omanhen is expected to be in charge of maintaining peace and order, and providing transparent, accountable, and exemplary leadership with integrity. He ought to offer appropriate professional advice and guidance, and keep away from fomenting division and conflicts in the Traditional Area for personal gain.

The position of Omanhen of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area shall not be left vacant nor be held in abeyance or indefinite suspense.

Based on the Omanhen’s abysmal performance over the past 21 years, and the evidence of contempt and breach of custom and tradition, outright fraud and criminality, mismanagement and poor governance adduced from the petition, Traditional Palace records, and incessant agitations and complaints from many communities in the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area, we the Ohagufo and Divisional Chiefs hereby:

  1. On this day May 26, 2021, pass a vote of no confidence in Obirifo Ahunako AhunakoAhor Ankobea II,
  2. Ratify the decision by the Petitioners including his Queenmother, Omanhemaa, Obaatanpa Ama Eduwa I, to dispense with his services as Omanhen of Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area, and
  3. Advise that measures be put in place with immediate effect, to destool and replace Obirifo Ahunako AhunakoAhor Ankobea II as the Omanhen of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area.

In the interim, we the Divisional Chiefs and the Petitioners recommend that the one of the Senior Divisional Chiefs be appointed to act as Omanhen of Traditional Council, while the royal family and Kingmakers go through the due process to select and nominate a candidate to be passed through the due process for installation.

Signed

Nana Obotantam Edu-Effrim, 

Apaahen and Akwamuhen of the Gomoa Akyempim

Date: May 26, 2021

DISTRIBUTION

The Registrar, Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Council

The Omanhen,

The Petitioners

The Omanhen’s Two Lawyers

Cc:

The President, The National House of Chiefs

The President, Central Regional House of Chiefs

All Divisional Chiefs, Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Council

The Central Regional Minister

Gomoa West, Gomoa East, Gomoa Central DCEs

Gomoa West, Gomoa East, Gomoa Central Police Commanders

By Richard Bright Addo|3news.com|Ghana

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