Stories from Isaac Akwetey-Okunor
Wild jubilation and merrymaking took centre stage for residents in Jankama, a town near Aburi in the Akuapim South District of the Eastern Region, on Monday, following a ruling by the Akuapem Judicial Committee.
After barely two years of a dispute challenging the legitimate person to be called the chief of Aburi Atweasin, the Akuapem Judicial Committee, led by Nana Asiedu Ako Ababio, the Benkumhene, finally declared Nana Otutu Obrempong Kumah II as the accepted and recognised chief of the area.
This was after the Abusuapanin, Kwame Djan, and his cohorts filed a petition to discontinue with the case, which challenges the installation of Nana Kumah, before the Judiciary Committee of the Akuapem Traditional Council at Akropong.
Giving a background to the chieftaincy dispute, the Queenmother of the area, Nana Afua Safoa, stated that Nana Frimpong Kodua II, Chief of Atweasin, was installed in 2010, but on August 22, 2017, he wrote to her and the kingmakers that due to ill-health, family issues and matters regarding the chieftaincy affair, he humbly appealed to them to choose a successor.
She continued that the decision, which was further supported by a Statutory Declaration made by the chief at the Koforidua High Court on September 15, 2017, was duly accepted by the Queenmother and kingmakers, and the necessary customs and traditional rites were performed, thereby making the stool vacant.
In the said declaration, Nana Kodua II stated: “That after careful examination and surrounding circumstances, I felt that I could not perform my duties, and accordingly instructed the Queenmother and kingmakers to look for a successor.”
Nana Safoa I stressed that by virtue of the fact that she is the Queenmother of the area, she has the absolute traditional authority to nominate a candidate for the stool and install as a chief, hence, she wrote to the kingmakers of the area for a meeting to discuss the next chief of Atweasin.
The Queenmother mentioned that Nana Kwabena Osae Abotow, a former Amankrado of Gyankama, was nominated and accepted by the kingmakers, and was duly installed as the Chief of the area on February 19, 2017, under the stool name Nana Otutu Obrempong Kumah II.
She expressed shock and surprise that two years after the installation of Nana Otutu Obrempong Kumah II, Abusuapanin Kwame Djan and his cohorts filed a petition to challenge the installation of Nana Kumah before the Judiciary Committee of the Akuapem Traditional Council at Akropong
But, even before the Judiciary Committee of the Akuapem Traditional Council would call for a hearing of the petitioners, they (petitioners) took the law into their hands, and, on February 13, 2019, reinstalled the former Chief, Nana Frimpong Kodua II.
To the Queenmother, the action of the Abusuapanin was not only contempt of the Judiciary Committee of the Akuapem Traditional Council, but an affront to their traditions and customs, where a chief who abdicated the stool with its corresponding customs and traditions performed is reinstalled
She explained that the development, therefore, created pockets of misunderstanding and insecurity among the people of Aburi Atweasin, which is one of the three divisional chiefs under the Paramount Chief, Otoobour Djan Kwesi II.
The Queenmother indicated that the two parallel chiefs, at a point in time, clashed at different functions to perform various traditional rites, a situation which could have led to bloodshed, since the supporters of the two chiefs threatened to fight each other at any function they would meet at.
That notwithstanding, the petitioners decided to discontinue with the matter, giving room to the leader of the Judicial Committee to rule in favor of Nana Kuma II on Monday, a situation the Queenmother described as in the best interests of the people.
On his part, the excited Nana Kuma II expressed his profound gratitude to the Judicial Committee, and most especially, the petitioners, for considering the development of the place above personal gain.
He called on them to immediately join him to think and strategise for the holistic development of the area.
According to him, whoever becomes the Chief of Atweasin automatically becomes the Second in Command of the Aburi Traditional area, where Aburi Atweasin is one of three divisional areas, hence, the Chief of Atweasin is a key player in the scheme of things.