'Ghana has no King': Nana Opoku Frefre responds to Edward Bawa

By Nana Opoku Frefre
King

Nana Opoku Frefre, son of Otumfuo Gyaase or Otumfuo Buabasa Royal House has responded to comments made by  the Member of Parliament of Bongo Constituency in the Upper East Region, Edward Abambire Bawa that Ghana has no king; all traditional rulers are chiefs.

An Open letter to Hon.Edward Bawa, MP for Bongo 

Dear Sir,

I bring you warm greetings from Asanteman. Now let me go straight to the point. Although it would be tiring an exercise for you, I would humbly request that you dedicate some to read it carefully, and even go further to interrogate the facts I am about to lay bare. As a son of Otumfuo Gyaase or Otumfuo Buabasa Royal House, I owe it a duty to Asanteman and the Golden Stool which my grandfathers and great-grandfathers before me served, to educate, explain, and as well help you get well informed so far as the dynamics and intricacies of our traditional polity are concerned.

Our forebears, in my case, the dreaded military leader of Asante, General Opoku Frefre (Frɛdɛfrɛdɛ), known for his military prowess, and other Asante warriors, of whom I am a lineal descendant, and prides myself with, used the sword to defend and advance the interest of Asanteman. But, we, Asanteman of contemporary times, use knowledge, pen, sacred facts and superior arguments: to educate and enlighten the ignorant, to expose the mischievous persons and detractors who seek to spite the heritage and legacy our forebears bequeathed to us, to defend and preserve the rich and beautiful heritage and legacy we inherited from our forebears, amongst others. And of course, we find passion and pride in doing these. Sir, respectfully, in your case, I could tell you spoke out of sheer ignorance. However, to us, this is a call to duty. A duty to teach and help you learn about our heritage.

As I once indicated to Abdul Malik Kweku Baako...to the Asantes and Asanteman, the Asantehene is our king, and we accord him the utmost reverence a king should enjoy from his subjects regardless what the constitution of Ghana says. To Asanteman, he is our king and not the king of Ghana. To Asanteman, we don't need the constitution of Ghana to validate the status of our king. Because it wasn't the constitution of Ghana or any other country or group of people that established our 'Aban-dwa' on which Osei Tutu I ascended as the first Asantehene in the 18th century. It was established and validated by Asanteman and Asantes ourselves. To us, Asantehene's source of power/authority is derived from the Sika Dwa, his subjects and nothing else.

The Asantehene is to Asanteman what, who and how we regard him...and we regard him as our king. The opinion of others doesn't matter to us. It doesn't even change anything. He is the only traditional authority in the country who has the powers to create Paramountcies and elevate traditional authorities to the status of Paramountcies. As we speak, he has about 65 Paramount chiefs who swear and owe allegiance to the Golden Stool (Sika Dwa Kofi). And these Paramountcies are found in the Ashanti, Eastern, Brong Ahafo and Volta regions.
The point is, the fact is, the reality is, the Asantehene has no obligation whatsoever or enjoined by any law, to consult any of the Regional Houses of Chiefs in the aforementioned regions before elevating chiefs, who owe allegiance to the Golden Stool, or traditional areas under his jurisdiction, to a Paramount status. For the records, the Asantehene is not even a member of the National House of Chiefs although its Head office is at Manhyia, Kumase. Also, any of his Paramount chiefs who are members of the various regional Houses of Chiefs can be elected to serve as the President of the National House Of Chiefs and would still owe allegiance to the Golden Stool and its occupant, the Asantehene. Oh yes, the immediate past President of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, Osahene Kwaku Ateryi II, Paramount Chief of Kukuom Traditional Area, owes allegiance to the Golden Stool and its occupant, the Asantehene.

Sir, the Asantehene's authority and influence extend beyond the boundaries of the Ashanti region, and even beyond the boundaries of Ghana, to the Ivory Coast. Yes, La Cote d'Ivoire. The former President of Ivory Coast, Henri Konan Bedie, a chieftain and royal of Baoule, whose capital is Yamoussoukro, on behalf of the Baoules, on April 8, 2018, reemphasized their recognition of the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as their king during the Akwasidae celebrations at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.

Now let me take the pain, eeerrm, the pride rather, to list the Asanteman Paramountcies to aid you in understanding the complexities in a much more simple manner.

1. Yamfo (B/A)
2. Mim (B/A)
3. Hwidiem (B/A)
4. Banda (B/A)
5. Awua Domase (B/A)
6. Duayaw Nkwanta (B/A)
7. Berekum (B/A)
8. Denyase
9. Kokofu
10. Bekwai
11. Juaben
12. Dikoman (E/R)
13. Kuntanase
14. Nsuta
15. Domeabra
16. Sankore (B/A)
17. Bompata
18. Asankare
19. Bechem(B/A)
20. Manso Nkwanta
21. Wenchi (B/A)
22. Gyadam (B/A)
23. Tano-Boase (B/A)
24. Buoyem (B/A)
25. Tanoso (B/A)
26. Tuobodom (B/A)
27. Juansa
28. Sabronum
29. Mamfo
30. Marban
31. Amantin (B/A)
32. Akrodie
33. Hwidiem (B/A)
34. Kenyase No.1 (B/A)
35. Kenyaase No.2 (B/A)
36. Tepa
37. Obogu
38. Agogo
39. Offuman (B/A)
40. Acherensua
41. Amoafo
42. Kwamang
43. Kumawu
44. Essumenya
45. Asuboa
46. Asamang
47. Agona
48. Nkoranza (B/A)
49. Mpasaaso No. 1
50. Sampa (B/A)
51. Kukuom (B/A)
52. Goaso (B/A)
53. Seikwa (B/A)
54. Nsawkaw (B/A)
55. Domeabra
56. Japekrom
57. Adankragya
58. Beposo
59. Asokore
60. Ejisu
61. Offinso
62. Adansi
63. Mampong
64. Worawora (V/R)

Sir, the very foundation of the Asante kingdom or Asanteman was based on the cooperative deeds and efforts of Ɔpemsoɔ Osei Tutu I and Ɔkɔmfo Anokye whose origin is Kyerepɔn, in present-day Akuapem, with the support of others who joined from Akwamu, and later, from Denkyira. Adanse as a kingdom, was also later swallowed by this new nation called Asante (Asanteman). You don't describe a unit of such colossus and background an ethnic group, tribe or chiefdom. And for that matter won't describe its leader a Paramount Chief.

The truth is, Asanteman polity has no equal in sophistication and complexity. Indeed, unlike others, Asanteman is not an ethnic group or tribe (tribe used advisedly). At least, our forebears, through their Expansionist Policy, which was successfully executed via wars, conquests and invasions, sought to build and even built a body that extended beyond the frontiers of modern-day Ghana in area or size.

So you see? Asanteman and the subjects of Golden Stool do not need the constitution of Ghana, or the opinions of others to validate the status of the occupant of the Golden Stool as a king. In any case, no one says he is king of Ghana. He is king of Asanteman, and his subjects, who are the largest in the country, in terms of population, recognise him as such.

The recognition and esteem in which his subjects hold him, in addition to the enviable heritage Asanteman inherited from its forebears, are the foundation and inspiration from which the constitutional prominence accorded the Asantehene in the Chieftaincy Acts in 1971and 2008 stems. Oh yeah, only the Asantehene is explicitly mentioned in the ranking of traditional rulers in the Act.

Sir, before I end, I would want to remind you that, the Asantehene is to Asanteman, what, who and how they accord, regard, see and hold him. He is our king. And before you equate Asanteman to the region, Ashanti, let me hasten to educate you that, the two are completely different. Asanteman extends beyond the region Ashanti to other regions as clearly explained earlier. So, Ghana doesn't have a king, but Asanteman has a king. It is not even the intention of Asanteman, or even the occupant of the Golden Stool to hold himself as "king of Ghana". I guess you know that Otumfuo Sir Agyemang Prempeh II even declined a proposal to seek to make him king of independent Ghana...Tiawa!