It appears the chieftaincy litigations which have engulfed the chiefs and people of Kwahu Pepease in the Kwahu East District of the Eastern Region is far from over, notwithstanding the ruling given by the Judicial Committee of the National House of Chiefs (JCNHC).
It is being alleged that an attempt was made by a certain group of people, led by Nana Appiah Ofori II, one of the key traditional players in the area, to install a new chief.
Addressing the media at the forecourt of Kwahu East District Assembly, the head of the Santase Bretuo family, Abusuapani Amankwah Britwum, expressed grave concern over the actions and attempt by Nana Appiah Ofori II to install a new chief when he had no capacity to do so.
According to Abusuapani Amankwah Britwum, he has intercepted a letter dated September 16, 2023 and signed by Nana Appiah Ofori II, inviting Abusuapanin Yaw Bona, Abuasuapanin Kwaku Agyapong, Abuasuapanin Yaw Oduro and Abuasuapanion Kwabena Ofori for a meeting.
The invitation letter, which this reporter has a copy, states that “as ordered by the Judiciary Committee of the National House of Chiefs, Kumasi, the Pepease Royal family is to initiate the nomination process leading to the election and enstoolment of a chief to occupy the Nana Ampadu Stool, Pepease”.
It continued that “the meeting is scheduled on Saturday, 23 September, 2023 at the palace of Nana Appiah Ofori II, Pepease Kwahu, at 10am.
“You are, therefore, invited to attend as the main agenda will be the invitation of the various Abusuapanins to submit their subjects, who are eligible to contest the vacancy of Nana Ampadu Stool,” the letter stated.
Abusuapani Amankwah Britwum noted that Nana Ofori II’s invitation of some family members of Santase Bretuo, who are not Abusuapani to initiate the process of appointing a new chief, did not only contradict the ruling given by JCNHC, but could result in chaos.
He averred that they only recognise Adehyiehene for Santase Bretuo Royal family at Kwahu Pepease, Nana Yaw Baah Dankyi, hence Nana Ofori has no locus to invite people for the process of appointing a new chief for Kwahu Pepease.
Abusuapani Amankwah Britwum of Kwahu Pepease Santase Bretuo royal family has, therefore, called on the Eastern Regional Security Council, District Security Council and all security agencies to intervene in the Kwahu Pepease chieftaincy dispute to avoid any clashes.
Abusuapani Amankwah Britwum and his family later presented a petition to the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Kwahu East, Mr Isaac Adgyapong.
When contacted to confirm the letter of invitation reportedly written by him, Nana Ofori argued that he does not exercise traditional and customary matters in the media and would, therefore, not like to talk about the matter.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) of Kwahu East, Isaac Agyapong, on his part acknowledged the receipt of the petition but was quick to mention that he was yet to know the full content of the petition, because it was received on his behalf by his Secretary.
He explained that he was currently out of the district for an important assignment and would ensure that the right thing is done as soon as he returns.
The DCE continued that, even before he got back to the district, he had sent some personnel from the Ghana Police Service to the area to ensure law and order.
The Judicial Committee of the National House of Chiefs (NHC) recently declared the enstoolment of Nana Bonsu Ayirepe, as Kwahu Pepeasehene, as null and void.
It subsequently asked the Queenmother, Nana Oforiwah Pokua, who is also the Kyidomhemaa of the Kwahu Traditional Area to follow due process to install the Chief, as prescribed by Akan custom.
The case of the appellants has been that the Pepease Stool belongs to the Santase Bretuo Royal Family and that members of the said royal family were eligible to contest the Stool.
Following the demise of the late Chief of Pepease on October 5, 2013 there was the need for the vacancy to be filled, but this resulted in the misunderstanding or dispute that has culminated in the appeal.
The appellants contended that it was the members of the said Santase Bretuo Family alone who had ascended the Pepease Stool from time immemorial, and that even though there were other branches of the larger Bretuo Clan, each of them had its own distinct heads of family and stools.
The appellants argued that, Kwaku Osei Bonsu was the son of Nana Osei Mensah, Asomenasehene, from the Osei Mensah Bretuo Family, and that the said Osei Mensah Bretuo Family was distinct and separate from the Santase Bretuo Family of Pepease.
They (appellants) have in the view that each of these families had its own head of families, they inter-married and do not share funeral debts.
The appellants contended that the brother of the Queenmother of Kwahu Pepease, Nana Oforiwah Pokua, called Opanain Yaw Sem married the sister of Kwaku Osei Bonsu called Serwaa and had six children and is, therefore, it was not possible for Kwaku Osei Bonsu and Osei Mensah to belong to the same Bretuo Family, to the extent that Kwaku Osei Bonsu would occupy the Stool.
It was further contended by the appellants that the procedures adopted to nominate, select and enstool Kwaku Osei Bonsu as the Chief of Pepease was in itself flawed and sinned against all known norms and practices of Kwahu Pepease, and in particular Akan tradition.
Notwithstanding all the issues raised by the appellants, the respondents argued that there was no distinct Santase Bretuo Family, and that they all belonged to one stock called the Bretuo Family.
According to the respondents, there was only one Bretuo Royal Family, which could inherit the Pepease Stool, and that this family had four gates, namely, Yaa Boadiwaa, Oforiwaa Pokua, Ama Gyafo and Nana Sawiri.
Judgement was however given in favor of the appellants against the judgement of the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, dated March 10, 2018, in favour of the respondents, Nana Bonsu and five others.
According to the judgment, the appellants – the Queenmother of Kwahu Pepease, Nana Oforiwah Pokua and Amankwaa Biritwum commenced the chieftaincy action at the Judiciary Committee of the Kwahu Traditional Council claiming the following reliefs, including a declaration that Kwaku Osei Bonsu and Nana Osei Mensah were not members of the Royal Santase Bretuo Family of Pepease and, therefore, the purported installation of Kwaku Osei Bonsu as Chief of Pepease was against custom and tradition.
The appellants, among other reliefs, placed a perpetual injunction restraining Kwaku Osei Bonsu from acting as the Chief of Pepease.
The respondents challenged the position of the appellants, since to them the appellants had no such capacity to place an injunction restraining Kwaku Osei Bonsu as Chief of the area.
A Trial Committee, which was constituted to look into the matter on June 3, 2019, delivered its judgment in favor of the respondents.
Dissatisfied with the judgment of the Trial Committee of the Kwahu Traditional Council, the appellants appealed against the same at the Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs.
On March 10, 2019, the Judicial Committee delivered its judgment again in favor of the respondents.
The appellants, who were again not satisfied with the judgement, appealed at the Judiciary Committee of the National House of Chiefs on March 24, 2021 where a five-member committee was constituted.
The five-member committee was made up of Oseadeeyo Akumfi Ameyaw IV as the Chairman, with Togbega Patomia Dzekley IV, Nana Mprah Basemuna III, Krachiwura, Osagyefo Kwame Akonu X and Osabarimah Okokyeredom Sakyi Ako, Drobohene as members.
The five panel members of the National House of Chiefs (NHC) unanimously pronounced their ruling by stating: “Consequently, we hereby direct and/or order that the whole process initiating the making of a Chief to occupy the Pepease Stool (to wit: the process of nomination, selection or election and enstoolment or installation) be commenced afresh and in accordance with the requisite customary law practice and usage.”
The panel declared the enstoolment of Nana Bonsu Ayirepe, Kwahu Pepeasehene, who is also the Kyedomhene of Kwahu Traditional Area, as null and void.
It, therefore, ordered the Queenmother of Kwahu Pepease, Nana Oforiwah Pokua, to follow the due process to install the Chief, as prescribed by Akan custom and tradition.
The order was given in October 2022 but information received by the media indicated that the issuance of the hard copy which would be the evidence for the various authorities to enforce the order was not produced by the Registrar of the National House of Chiefs.
The hard copy of the judgement has since been presented to both parties for the commencement of the installation of the Kwahu Pepease Chief.
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