Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Drama At Manhyia

HELL NEARLY broke loose at the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs at Manhyia last week, as some youth, mostly well-built, clashed with some followers of Nana Wiafe Akenteng III, the Paramount Chief of Offinso Traditional Area, after the first hearing of allegations against the chief.One youngman, immediately after the sitting was adjourned, rushed to where the chief was and attempted to remove his sandals, but was thwarted by some followers of the chief who protected and guided him into the House of Chiefs.In the midst of the confusion, some groups of young men exchanged insults and chanted war songs against the other faction.The few armed policemen had a very tough time calming down tempers of the factions, and helped to prevent what could have been a bloody and gory situation.This was after the Judicial Committee of the Ashanti House of Chiefs held its first hearing of allegations leveled against Nana Wiafe. It was alleged in a petition filed by Nana Barima Takyi Abeam I, the chief of Ampabame, near Offinso in the Ashanti Region, that the Offinsohene was having an illicit affair with two sisters in the area.The Judicial Committee, which comprises Nana Adusei Atewerewa Ampem, the chief of Tepa, Nana B. Kusi Appiah, chief of Manso-Nkwanta and Nana Adu Gyamfi, the Adontehene adjourned the case to September 18 2009, after listening to the two counsels of either side.Lawyer Franklin Kwabena Asamoah, of Asamoah Legal Service and Counsel, for Nana Wiafe Akenteng raised a motion on the floor, saying Nana Abeam has no capacity to present a petition to the Judicial Committee to destool the Offinsohene, since he (Nana Abeam) is not a kingmaker. He further said apart from the fact that the petitioner is not a kingmaker, he is a sub-chief and stated that "kingmakers are the only accredited representative of the Oman, who can initiate destoolment against a chief and must be in the majority".He also buttressed his point by referring to the Law of Chieftaincy in Ghana which categorically states that - "it is only the Queen mother, royals and members of the chief's own family who can destool a chief"He told the committee that in the present situation, Nana Abeam was neither a Queen mother, nor a royal, nor even a member of Nana Wiafe's family, so he could not petition the committee to destool the Offinsohene.He also said in a situation like this, as customs demands in the Ashanti tradition, the petitioner should have slaughtered a sheep and presented it to the kingmakers of the chief in question, and to further swear an oath to investigate deep into the matter.He again mentioned that the petitioner could not sue Nan Wiafe as the Omanhene of the Offinso Traditional area, but rather the President of the Offinso Traditional Council. According to him, the petitioner had been suspended by the Offinsohene for allegedly "stealing money belonging to the President of the Traditional Council".He also said on the floor of the house that the said woman, Maame Afia Korkor, has sworn an affidavit that she had not had any illicit affair with the accused, and that do not know the plaintiff who allegedly said in the petition that Maame Korkor was her sister, since she was an Aduana, while the petitioner is an Asona.He said the affidavit of Maame Korkor also revealed that her said daughter, who was also alleged to have had an illicit relationship with Nana Wiafe, was Ama Pinaman and not Adwoa Pinaman as was stated in the petition, and said the petitioner was defaming the persons in question.In this view, Lawyer Asamoah said the format of the petition was not well structured and asked that it be regarded as "null and void".Mr. Robert Kingsley Yeboah, the counsel of the petitioner said the case in front of the committee was a two-in-one petition.He explained that in respect to the suspension of the petitioner, the respondent (Nana Wiafe) had been brought, in the capacity as the President of the Offinso Traditional Council, but in respect of the alleged illicit affairs the respondent had been brought to the committee as the Omanhene of Offinso. He mentioned that the petition finds the dual capacity of the respondent and accused the counsel of the respondent for "trying to hide his capacity as the President on the Offinso Traditional Counsil". He further disclosed that they have not brought the respondent to the house to destool him, but rather for investigations.According to him, the petition was not to destool the Offinsohene, but rather to ask for a declaratory statement, or the house to declare that the conduct of the chief was indeed against the custom of the Ashanti tradition.The committee adjourned its sitting to September 18, this year, since the counsel of the petitioner did not get enough time to address his case.

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