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Asamankese on fire again – 9 injured, 38 arrested in renewed chieftaincy violence

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There was commotion at Asamankese in the Upper West Akim Municipality of the Eastern Region on Monday, following a renewed chieftaincy dispute between Barima Pobi, Chief of Aworasa, and Osabarima Adu Darko, Asamankese Chief. The two chiefs are all claiming the right to the stool, a development which has created instability in the Municipality.

Information indicates that the misunderstanding and mayhem started after thugs besieged the Asamankese Palace, amidst firing of warning shots, to aid the performance of traditional rites for the enstoolment of Barima Pobi as a parallel Chief.

This reporter gathered that the thugs overpowered police officers on duty at the chief’s palace and started firing gunshots.

Reinforcement, led by the District Commander, rushed to the scene, resulting in nine of the thugs sustaining various degrees of injuries, and 38 others arrested and sent to the Asamankese Police Station in the process.

The injured have since been rushed to the Asamankese Government Hospital, while the police found a slaughtered sheep at the scene.

The police also retrieved 52 AA spent shells, one sidearm with two loaded magazines, and one pump action gun from the suspects.

Another reinforcement team (Counter-Terrorism Unit) from the Eastern Regional Police Headquarters, as well as a team from the Oda Divisional Command, also arrived at the scene to restore order.

The palace is currently under heavy security guard, while patrols have been intensified in the Asamankese township.

The Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Regional Police Command, DSP Ebenezer Tetteh, who was at the scene with the reinforcement team, said the area was relatively calm, however, police presence would be maintained in the township.

He said the arrested suspects were being transferred to the Regional Police Headquarters, Koforidua, to assist with investigation.

Background

Barima Pobi Asomaning and Osabarima Adu Darko III are both claiming legitimacy to the Asamankese Stool.

In November this year, Barima Pobi Asomaning, who is Chief of Aworasa, together with the entire Royal Abrade Family of Asamankese, described the gazetting of Osabarima Adu Darko III as illegal and a recipe for mayhem.

In a petition sent to the National and Eastern Regional Houses of Chiefs and copied the Minister of Chieftaincy Affairs, the Inspector General of Police, James Oppong-Boanuh, and the Chief of Staff, Frema Opare, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, among others, he stated that documents suggesting that Osabarima Adu Darko II had been gazetted had come as a surprise to the family, and set the traditional area on a time bomb.

“I humbly write to your noble offices, seeking your intervention to avert a possible mayhem at Asamankese Traditional Area,” a portion of the petition read.

Barima Pobi Asomaning, therefore, called for full investigations into the clandestine and alleged illegal gazetting of Osabarima Adu Darko III.

“We, therefore, call on your higher office to investigate the case against the Registrar at the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, probe him, apply sanctions when necessary and call for the cancellation of the illegal gazette for peace to prevail at Asamankese for the two parties to meet and for fresh nomination to be made as said in the Court ruling from the Judicial Committee at Ofori Panin Fie.”

According to him, a High Court and the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs had held that his rival, Osabarima Adu Darko III, was not the rightful occupant of the stool, and said he could not hold himself as such.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, he alleged that a consensus agreement was reached at the Oseawuo Division at Akyem Wenchi in the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area in the presence of Dasebre Dr Nyarko Asumedu Appiah, the Oseawuohene, on February 8, 2017.

This was after Abusuapanin Kwasi Kuma, from the opposing Queenmother’s lineage, admitted and confirmed that there was no chief at Asamankese, and that the Regent was the Gyasehene until the chieftaincy dispute was resolved for a fresh nomination to be made.

He said it was, therefore, surprising that the Registrar of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, Mr Richmond Persawu, said there was no pending case as far as Asamankese chieftaincy matters are concerned, hence, the gazette.

“Meanwhile, it is this same Registrar’s office and jurisdiction that the Queenmother of Asamankese, who is the biological mother of Kwasi Obeng, who purports himself as Osabarima Adu Darko III, who has been illegally gazette, filed an appeal on November 20, 2017 and later went to withdraw the appeal on February 26, 2020. The withdrawal of the appeal by them gives the indication that there’s no chief at Asamankese, and, therefore, they go by the initial ruling from the Judicial Committee at the Ofori Panini Fie at Kyebi.

“This action has come as surprising and criminal if proved right to have seen a Registrar whose office and court, an appeal was filled in 2016 and was later withdrawn in 2020 to give the green light to a party in the pending case to be gazetted on November 2018. He must be arrested,” Barima Pobi Asomaning added.

According to the feuding faction, Osabarima Adu Darko III had not been recognised as the legitimate Chief of Asamankese, therefore, any attempt to carry himself as such, and tries to celebrate a planned festival called “Ɔboɔdwan” on 21st November 2021, would be violently resisted. This threat led to the cancellation of the festival on security grounds.

Reaction by Registrar

The Registrar of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, Mr Richmond Persawu

told Starr News that processes for gazetting were initiated by Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Council, which presented the candidate to the Research Committee of the Regional House of Chiefs, then moved to the standing committee before finally laid before the house for approval for the Registrar to send same to the National House of Chiefs for gazetting. He, therefore, said it makes no sense for him to be accused of taking bribes.

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