From Isaac Akwetey-Okunor, Akim-Oda
Fresh tension and a gradual state of insecurity is brewing in the Akim Kotoku Traditional Area in the Birim Central municipality of the Eastern Region, following protracted chieftaincy dispute between two families of the same royal gate.
Since the death of the Omanhene of the Akyem Kotoku Traditional Area, Okofrobuor Agyeman Attafua IV, some 20 years ago, a successor has not been enstooled, as a result of a raging dispute, which ensued between the two gates of the Agona Royal Family (Atefua gate and Frimpong Manso gate).
Though in the year 2000, Nana Frempong Manso IV was enstooled by the Frempong Manso gate as the Paramount Chief of Akyem Kotoku, the Paramount Queen mother, Nana Akua Asantewaa nullified the estoolment through the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs and the Court, and reportedly expunged the gazetted name of Nana Frempong Manso IV.
An extract from the National Register of Chiefs, sighted by The Chronicle confirms the claim that the chief, who is known in private life as Dr. Joseph Keyi Mintah, was enstooled on June 6, 1999, but his name was later expunged by the National House of Chiefs, following a Supreme Court ruling on November 15, 2011.
The unending dispute has created misunderstanding and mayhem in the area, leading to bloody clashes and gunshots, which have led to deaths, injuries and destruction of properties, despite efforts made by previous government officials.
Members of the Atafuah family on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, held a press conference at the Akim Oda old town public park to pressure government and the security agencies to stop the chief from celebrating the Akwasidie.
According to them, Oseadeeyo Frimpong Manso IV, is not the legitimate chief of the area, hence must not allow the performance of any customary rites during the Akwasidea celebration which took place on Sunday.
The plea of the Atafuah faction, calling on government and security agencies to prevail on Oseadeyo Frimpong Manso III to stop the observation of the Akwasidie, in order to bring peace to the area, was not taken into consideration.
According to the Atafuah family of the Agona Royal family, they are fully prepared to teach the chief and his cohorts some lessons if they dare perform any rituals for the celebration of the Akwasidea on Sunday.
But despite the threat, the Akwasidie was observed peacefully, with the paramount chief and his subjects smartly dressed in their traditional colorful kente cloth, matched with well-designed ornamental sandals.
In his speech, Oseadeyo Frimpong Manso III used the occasion to call for peace and unity as the fundamental tools to build the traditional area, since the community, and by extension the country, will develop in a violent environment.
He pleaded with the people to let sleeping dogs lie and rather put their shoulders to the wheel for accelerated socio-economic development, since the traditional area has already suffered from lack of development, following the protracted dispute.
As part of the celebration, the paramount chief elevated some of his sub chiefs for their selfless service and leadership towards the development and growth of the area.
On Monday, the sub chiefs who were elevated gathered at the palace with their families and friends to swear to the paramount chief as custom and tradition demand, but the ceremony was met with mayhem.
At about 9:30 am, the chiefs and their people had taken their seats whilst the traditional drummers were drumming at their best.
But just as the elevated chiefs were about to swear the oath of allegiance to the paramount chief, some youth, ostensibly from the Atefuah faction, started throwing stones from outside the palace.
The youth who support the Frimpong Manso faction and were in the palace decided to retaliate by also throwing stones.
One of the palace guards, whose name was not readily available at time of filing this report, went for a local gun and fired many times to scare the invaders away, but to no avail.
The gathering took to their heels to take cover, forcing the programme to come to an abrupt end. The chief has since fled the town for his own safety, with his vehicle’s windscreen slightly damaged.