‘Odeneho Kwafo Akoto was duly installed as Akwamuhene’

BY: George Folley
Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III (with white calico around his neck) after the ruling
Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III (with white calico around his neck) after the ruling

The Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs has declared the Paramount Chief of the Akwamu Traditional Area, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, as the duly nominated, elected and installed chief of the area, since the nomination, election and installation were done in accordance with the custom and practices of the people of Akwamu.

In a judgement read by counsel for the House, Nana Gyankomah Djaba Mensah, the committee said as far as the history of the people of Akwamu was concerned, the office of the queenmother was not alien to the people of Akwamu, as the present Queenmother, Nana Afrakomah III, had reigned for 55 years.

Reliefs of petitioners

The petitioners in the case, led by Abusuapanyin Kojo Kyer Addaquay, had petitioned the committee to determine whether or not there was an established system of rotation in Akwamu, whether or not Odehye Kyeremanteng Afranie, who later became known as Nana Ansah Sasraku, was a validly installed chief for the traditional area and also whether the people of Akwamu had a queenmother and a nomination of a candidate to occupy the Black Stool was her duty.

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They also urged the committee to determine whether or not Odeneho Kwafo Akoto was validly nominated, elected and installed.

Views of the Judicial Committee

In the view of the three-member Judicial Committee, with the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, as its chairman, having studied the custom and practices of the people of Akwamu, as presented by both parties, it found no established and systematic system of rotation in Akwamu.

“Indeed, the evidence of both the petitioners and the respondents leads to one conclusion: that there are two houses; that is, Yaa Ansaa and Yaa Botwe, from which a candidate can be nominated to ascend the paramount stool. 

“Nananom are of the view that the mere fact of the existence in Akwamu of two or more sections capable of ascending to the paramount stool is no justification for holding that succession to the stool was rotatory.

“That for there to be an established system of rotation, there had to be a clear custom or practice to that effect and that in the absence of any such, the right to nominate a candidate for enstoolment from either Yaa Ansaa or Yaa Botwe resided in the queenmother,” it added

According to the judgement, having considered various exhibits, there was proof that there was no system of rotation, since all what the exhibits pointed to was the fact that from the houses of lineage of Yaa Ansaa or Yaa Botwe, an eligible candidate could be nominated to accede to the Akwamu Paramount Stool.

It said per the evidence on the record, the petitioners had failed to establish that ascendancy to the paramount stool was by rotational system.

On the issue of whether Kyeremanteng Afranie was a validly installed Chief of Akwamu, the committee answered in the affirmative and said that was done after the death of Odeneho Kwafo Akoto II.

“The fact that Odehye Afranie was not recognised and supported by Nana Afrakomah III, the queenmother, did not deprive him of his status as paramount chief. That the consistent legal tussles that existed through his reign until his unfortunate demise did not also stop him from customarily acting as the paramount chief of the Akwamu Traditional Area,” it said.

On the status of the  queenmother, the committee said Nana Afrakomah was “not the first, second or third queenmother of Akwamu and that the office had existed long before she ascended the stool and had since remained in office for 55 years”.

It said the petitioners were not able to prove that the processes that led to the installation of Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III were contrary to the customs of Akwamu and, therefore, said the petitioners had failed to establish that Odeneho Kwafo Akoto was not validly nominated, elected and installed as the paramount chief of Akwamu.

“Nananom, therefore, find, as fact, that per the evidence adduced before them, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III was qualified.