Pastor's name pops up as the one who contracted 'town boys' to cut down Okomfo Anokye cola tree
Some details have started emerging about the circumstances under which the over 300-year-old historic cola tree (bese), said to have been planted by the famous Okomfo Anokye fetish priest at Feyiase near Kumasi, was cut down last Tuesday.
Graphic Online has picked information that a certain pastor, contracted some "town boys" to cut it down.
The pastor, according to some town folks described the tree as fetish, and therefore wanted it cut down.
He did not understand why a recent re-construction of the Atonsu-Esreso-Bosomtwe dual carriageway, did not even affect the tree and that the authorities decided to divert the road and by-passed the tree, protected it and left it untouched.
The pastor, therefore, reportedly offered a GH¢5000 inducement to some town boys for them to undertake the operation of cutting down the tree under the cover of darkness.
When Graphic Online's Emmanuel Baah visited Feyiase on Thursday afternoon [Nov 9, 2023], some residents said they heard the so-called "Man of God" ordered the cutting down of the tree based on his religious beliefs and described it as fetish.
“We are told the Pastor gave the boys GH¢5,000 to cut the tree down”, Kusi Berko, a native of Feyiase told Graphic Online's Emmanuel Baah.
“In fact that is the news going round our community”, another 72-year-old Agya Marfo also told Graphic Online.
Snippets of information gathered by Graphic Online's Emmanuel Baah from Feyiase on Thursday night [Nov 9, 2023] indicated that the police were closing in on some suspects linked to the illegal cutting down of the historic tree.
Residents had assumed the tree was going to be pulled down in order not to interfere with a recent re-construction of the road into a dual carriageway, but the contractor left the tree untouched in the median of the Atonsu-Esreso-Lake Bosomtwe Road.
The contractor - Kofi Job Construction Company Limited, shielded the tree because of the traditional and tourism potentials and built a dwarf concrete wall around it.
The traditional authorities are said to have later complained that the tree was not visible enough with the dwarf concrete wall around it and so they removed the dwarf wall to make it more visible for tourism purposes.
The historical cola tree (bese), believed to have been planted by the famous fetish priest, Okomfo Anokye at Feyiase near Kumasi about some 300 years ago was found lying on its side earlier this week.
According to the people in the area, they woke up on Tuesday, [November 7, 2023] to discover the tree had been cut down.
The traditional authorities with the support of the police have initiated a search for the culprits, who fell the well respected cola tree which has historical significance in the Asante Kingdom.
A photo of the fallen cola tree, located at Feyiase on the Lake Bosomtwe road was shared online prompting a public discussion on why such a historic tree was not protected.
The tree holds historical significance to the Asante Kingdom and also serves medicinal purposes for residents living close to the sacred tree.
They have said it came as a surprise to all of them to wake up and discover that the well-respected cola tree had been cut down.
They have initiated moves to officially inform the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II about the development.
The town of Feyiase, which historically served as a battleground between the Asante Allied Forces and the Denkyira in the 17th century, stands as a testament to a rich history of conflicts and cultural heritage in Asanteman.
The felling of the ancient tree, positioned along the Lake Bosomtwe road, carries deep symbolic importance, resonating with the area's historical narratives.
The cola tree stood as a living object, a reminder of ancestral roots, and was highly revered by the people in the area.