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A PRIVILEDGED Encounter – Written by Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey

chronicle January 3, 2019

According to history, in the year 1640, the King of Akwamu Nana Ansa Saraku died, and the stool became vacant. A set of twins vied against each other for succession to the stool. The Queenmother and some royals favored Atta Kuma and some of the royals also supported the elder twin.

In order to  avoid civil war, where brother fought against brother, Atta  Payin and some of the royals left the Capital, ANYINAWASE, present day Nsawam, and emigrated up country.

Those who, for the sake of avoiding bloodshed and civil strife left the empire were referred to as  “DOMWOMAN” (lovers of their country) and later corrupted to DOMAA.

The DOMAA typical Akwamus, fearless warriors, settled at OBO, later OBOMENG SUNTRESO then ABESEWA, ABESIM, CHIRAA and finally the present location of WAM, whom they conquered and took their land.

As they moved up, a faction left into GYAMAN.

In the year 1991 or thereabout, Nana Dormaahene Nana Dr Agyemang Badu went to the village, and a young thirty something year old lawyer in Tema, Daniel Mensah was enstooled as the Dormahene.

He joined the bench and rose through the ranks to become a High Court Judge, sitting currently at GJ 2 in the High Court Complex in Accra.

I was in Berekum for the Christmas, and on 26th December 2018 I decided to go and say “hello” to this High Court Judge cum Nana Dormaahene. Dormaa is only forty kilometers from Berekum, North West.

We left Berekum around 11am and got to DOMAA around 11:30. Someone reminded me of tradition, so we stopped at the shell shop and bought two bottles of schnapps, then we drove on towards the Palace.

Thanks to Local Government, I have visited a thousand and one Palaces of traditional rulers in Ghana, and I will NOT rate Dormaa Palace as the most regal, but certainly one of the topmost TEN royal Palaces in Ghana.

An oriental Royal Gate posited about a hundred meters away admits you into the Palace Grounds fenced all out, with a park, a small arboretum and to the end the security conscious custom built Palace.

We saw royal aides seated under a tree who welcomed us, asked a few questions and said we should wait a while.

We were ushered into the main Royal courtyard where Nana sits in state to host royal visits. We sat there briefly then we were escorted to an Inner Courtyard, then to a third much smaller innermost courtyard.

We, six in all, NPP bigwigs and Assembly members, sat down, thinking Nana would come and meet us here, until15 minutes later we were invited to the small private study of Nana in the residential storey building at the very rear of the Palace. Whichever architect designed the Palace must have had security as the topmost consideration.

A host of linguists welcomed us, served us drinks and then we all sat down, very quiet, nobody saying a word. The silence in the room became appressive, so the linguist asked:

“Lawyer, can I ask one question? Is there any law which prevents people from talking when they are waiting in the study of the King for his arrival?”

Oh, my God! Where is Justice S A Brobby, my personal legal advisor, to guide me in answering this question?

Before I could say a word, a herald announced: Osagyefo Oseeadeeyo Agyemang Badu the second – we all stood up, and in entered a four man retinue with Nana, Second, wearing a very simple dress, as if going for “keep fit” in the morning.

After handshakes, Nana sat down, obviously very relaxed, chatted with us freely without any linguist interference. However I noticed that anytime Nana is speaking seriously, formally, three linguists will all stand up, in rapt attention.

I asked: Nana, why is it that under Akan Custom, when a visitor comes and he has not been served with welcome drinks, everybody sits there quietly, not talking?

The answer is that, Captain, at times the visitor comes looking extremely furious, hardly able to control himself, carrying a message which is literally fire. That waiting period somehow sobers him up, reduce tension and allow room for civility. 

Nana, is it true historically that the Dormaas killed Asantehene Obiri Yeboah?

“Yes, Captain. It is true. According to history, there were seven running battles with the Asantes. We beat them in five and they beat us in two”.

“And you know something: historically speaking, there are more Aduana people living in Asanteman then Oyoko Clan people. You will be shocked to hear that Esumeja and Kumawu are both Aduana!!! In fact, Tepahene is the son of Dormaahene.

When he said this, I understood why at the funeral of the late Agyemang Badu, my friend, then Kumawuhene, Barima Asamadu Sekyi, in full regalia attended the funeral, walking side by side with former National House of Chiefs president Odeneho Oduro  Ntimapau the Essumegyahene

As Nana went on and on giving us a full graphic historical lecture on Dormaa history, I asked him: “Nana, why is it that the history of our people as known by our chiefs are not documented for the knowledge of future generations?

Nana kept quiet for over three minutes before answering this question. His silence was so heavy I wondered whether he heard me right. At last he spoke:

“You see, Captain, it is a tragedy. Some of we Nananom deliberately distort TRUTH, trying to falsify facts with inventions in order to create different impression. Some of us by reason of envy jealousy pursuit of wealth and other mundane objectives make history not worth the name……but we in  Domaa are trying to build a Museum here at the Palace to exhibit priceless artefacts, pictures of our predecessors and something close to that.

Two hours had raced past and I thought we were overstaying our welcome. I stand up and asked the linguist to beg permission for us to leave.

When I was in second year at Legon, 1975, the Nigerian super star  Fela Anikulapo Kuti gave us a five hour public lecture with the constant refrain: IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE  COMING FROM YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING……………….  

It is my candid view that the study of history, our local history, should be made COMPULSORY up to Senior High School level – very very important.

 

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