Own a Stool in Theory not in Practice: An Akwamu Expose

Kweku Paintsil, Esq counsel for respondents’ went to great lengths in his attempt to oppose Petitioner’s request for a Review of the Judgment dated May 4, 2022. He even unabashedly ventures to equate the Judgment at issue here with the United States Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark case of Roe v. Wade. Yet, Mr. Paintsil fails to note that the legal system in the United States is remarkably different from Ghana’s and has no “Review” process for the decisions of the Supreme Court. The reason such a Review process exists here is precisely for cases such as this one.

Petitioners are requesting a Review of a single aspect of the May 4th Judgment, namely the internal inconsistency in the Judgment which declares on the one hand that Owiredu was installed and nominated properly, and on the other that only a Yaa Ansaa Abrewatia holds the mandate to nominate and install an Akwamu Chief. Such a glaring disjunction cannot stand without explanation from the Court.

Mr. Paintsil is correct in that a Review is not mearnt to be another appeal; that is not what Petitioners seek here. A Review is only granted under ‘exceptional circumstances’ which have led to ‘some fundamental or basic error in the judgment’ and resulted in a ‘miscarriage of justice.’ Here, the internal inconsistency in the May 4th Judgment described above, is precisely such a fundamental or basic error and has evidently resulted in a miscarriage of justice by denying the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family control of the Black Stool and its sacred grounds for an unknowable number of years to come.

Moreover, the exceptional circumstances which led to Owiredu’s enstoolment—including the death of a police officer, who prevented him from sitting on our sacred stone at the Asemani House—cannot and should not be ignored when considering the merits of the request for a Review. Ignoring it will result in even more miscarriages of justice and will set a dangerous precedent for the future.

Kofi Annan

Even the Court, when setting down the criteria for a Review, has stated: “It is neither an exhaustive list nor one that is cast in iron such that it cannot be varied depending upon the circumstances of each case.” Thus, even if Respondents’ counsel was correct (which he is not) that Petitioner’s request does not meet these specific criteria, the reality remains that the Court has the ability to consider Petitioners’ request for Review regardless of the verbiage used to describe the issue at hand.

Petitioners’ request for Review is not about “dissatisfaction” with the Court’s Judgment, nor is it a “mere disagreement” as Mr. Paintsil claims; it is a palpable and obtrusive inconsistency which must be resolved to shed light and clarity on an issue of the utmost importance. Understanding the Court’s rationale in claiming that Owiredu was installed and nominated properly is necessary in order for the parties, and in fact the whole of Akwamu, to move forward.

Notably, Respondents’ submission is the one which mistakes the Review process with the Appellate process. Although it is unclear whether this mistake is an intentional diversionary tactic, or rather shoddy work-product, the fact remains that it ultimately ignores the issue at hand. In his response, Mr. Paintsil discusses everything covered by the appeal except the phraseology used in the ruling that purports to support the fact that Owiredu was installed and nominated properly. So, as much as Mr. Paintsil praises the Court’s decision by referring to it as “thoroughly thought-through” and “free of errors” he conveniently ignores the narrow issue which Petitioners request be reviewed.

Nana Afrakoma II

As per the Supreme Court’s own declaration, and as confirmed by the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family, only a Yaa Ansaa Abrewatia holds the mandate to nominate and install an Akwamu Chief. Love Som, the former Abrewatia, protested Owiredu’s forced installation on grounds that she did not nominate or install him during the Eastern regional deliberations. That leaves the only person to nominate and install Owiredu to be his aunt and current queen mother.

To make matters worse, Afrakoma II happens to be a Regent, installing and nominating her nephew without the expressed consent of the Yaa Ansaa Royal family who hold exclusive, non-rotational ownership of the Akwamu Kofi Amanpong Gua. This is where the actual miscarriage of justice and depravation of property occurs. By awarding ownership to the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family, while simultaneously refusing to abide by The Yaa Ansaa stated enstoolment traditions, as recognized by the Supreme Court, the Court foments an error which affects the entire judicial system of Ghana.

This gargantuan error thus seals treasonous words pronounced by Afrakoma II to her dying Uncle Kwafo Akoto II, when the latter asked her to “return the Stool to the Fantis; for it belongs to them, to which Afrakoma II replied, I will tie both Stools and keep them.” An injustice, sebi (with all due respect) orchestrated by someone who did not finish primary school class two, first against the Yaa Ansaa family, and yet to be seen against mighty men and women of academic and legal repute of the Supreme Court of Ghana!

Should Regents be allowed to nominate and install their own Chiefs, we will end up in a perpetual cycle of nomination and installation not by the rightful owners, but by non-family members of the Black Stool, ad infinitum. Once the present set of Regent Chief and Queen Mother, hereby known as Kwafo Akoto III and Nana Afrakoma II respectively pass on as the Supreme Court suggests, they will individually or cooperatively during or before their individual or collective demise, be at liberty to choose whoever they deem fit from their family, to occupy the Stool. Endorsing such behavior is an obvious miscarriage of justice that will render the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family to own the Akwamu Amanpong Kofi Gua in theory, but not in practice!

Going by modern Ghanaian traditional authority precedents, we have never had a Regent Queen Mother nominate and install a chief in the history of Ghanaian traditional rule. This will be a first and will certainly cause chaos and instability, setting a very bad precedent that can never be cited as case law.

Doubtless, Mr. Paintsil is arguing from a position of weakness and cannot take it upon himself to dictate to the Yaa Ansaa Family to negotiate with the Botwe family as to the terms and conditions of how Akwamu Stool rites and ascension should operate. They are not owners of the Stool. Similarly, the Respondent’s arguments about Kwafo Akoto II being the first to start initiating stool ascension reforms is unavailing. Kwafo Akoto II was a regent, will forever remain a regent, any so called reforms initiated by him should and will be discounted.

Finally, it is also necessary to note that, if we are to be guided by the Supreme Court’s own recommendations to return to the traditional ascension rites of the progenitor, clarification of the Court’s ruling about Owiredu’s installation becomes even more necessary. The Yaa Ansaa’s progenitor specifically reserved and preserved the nominations and installation of a chief on the Abrewatia representing the Yaa Ansaa Royal Family.

Akwamu Stool

Indeed, the Supreme Court affirms this in their initial ruling stating that installation of an Akwamu chief remains the sole purview of a Yaa Ansaa Abrewatia. But Owiredu was not installed by a Yaa Ansaa Abrewatia. So although Mr. Paintsil attempts to circumvent this issue by claiming it was a “compromised effort” of then-current events, he utterly ignores the dangerous precedent such a ‘compromise’ will set for the future.

By: The Yaa Ansaa Royal Family

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not reflect TheEcho‘s stance.

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