The comfort I enjoyed in my country growing up was unmatched. Mum and Dad were there for me. Anytime I courted trouble my cousins and friends would defend me. Many times I felt like a prince among my people. Indeed, I was a prince unknown to me. My inheritance is stolen from me. I am a stranger in another man’s country; taking refuge to save my head and spare my parents the loss of their beloved son to an insensitive uncle. I traded my comfort for the truth.
A chieftaincy dispute ensued between my father Mr. Stanley Amoah, a.k.a Barima Kwabena Amoah, another family, and his 33-year old nephew, Nana Kwame Ansah. Earlier agreement had been reached between two families whose ancestors discovered our hometown. These two families were to alternate the enstoolment of Chiefs while the Queen mother’s position remains with our family.
According to my father, he was entitled to the throne as the chief after the death of the late chief. My great grandmother was the Queen mother. This meant that my grandmother and her elder sister (my mother) were to inherit the queen’s throne after my great grandmother). My mother’s eldest sister, Nana Abena Amankwah, rejected call to succeed my great grandmother. Her reason was that she was too old and also a devout Christian. This opened a path for my grandmother, Obaa Yaa Adomaa, to inherit the queen mother’s position.
In our tradition, the right to choose the next successor to the chief rests on the shoulders of the queen mother. When the chief at that time died, the queen mother chose my dad as the next king. Unfortunately, my dad was younger then, and could not perform the rites expected of him; as well as take responsibility of the Village. My dad’s uncle was then installed to take charge and defer the thrown to my dad once he is old enough to perform such functions. This was a decision every Tom, Dick and Harry knew in the village.
When my dad was of age, he accepted that his uncle should occupy the throne until he (his uncle) was late. Once his uncle died, after 45 years of reign, the throne should have automatically returned to my dad but that did not happen. The queen mother (Obaa Yaa Adomaa) also died at the age of 66 years. Her seat fell to my auntie (Nana Afia Serwaa Barakatu) in 2007 at age 39 years. Nana Afia Serwaa Barakatu was then living in Germany.
A banter arose when the other family (my grandmother’s sisters’) indicated that, they now want custodial access to the chief’s throne. That meant chiefs would be chosen from that family alone, in addition to assuming the role of Head of the Clan (abusuapainin). My father and his immediate lineage felt cheated. The original agreement for the queen mother position to stay with our line while the other line stays with Head of family; and choosing chiefs alternatively from both families was violated. Whilst we were struggling to maintain the throne to our family, internal ramblings had already arisen.
My father’s nephew (Nana Kwame Ansah), son to the reigning queen mother collaborated with his mother and the Head of family to install the Nephew as chief instead of my father. This generated into a huge confusion since the elders of the village were also not in support of the installation. The council got confused after the queen mother introduced her son to them as the one to succeed the late Chief who was my dad’s caretaker.
My dad took a number of steps in ensuring order within the Royal family. My father was opposed to the queen mother’s nefarious activities such as allotting to herself over 10 acres of the family’s cocoa land, 5 acres of palm plantation and other lands which were set aside for the town’s developmental projects. She had planned together with the abusuapanin [Family Elder] to sell them, but my father vehemently opposed the decision.
When my dad told me the whole story, I was convinced and supported him. I knew my father was the most suitable candidate for the throne and not my cousin. My cousin (my father’s nephew, who is installed as the chief) is an ex-convict, and that precludes him from becoming a chief in our village. So I mobilized some youth from the village, gained their support and confronted the queen mother on the issue. She was not ready to heed to our request to step down his son. A week after meeting the queen mother, (13th October, 2014) the youth leader and myself went to hand over a letter to her. She again would not barge. She refused to take it and hurled insults on us.
On the 7th of February, 2015, we decided to go on a peaceful protest. We rallied about 68 youths and 150 adults from the town centre to the palace. When we got there the Palace gate, it had been closed, so we stood there for hours to hand over the letter to her. The letter was signed by the youth leader and myself in support of my dad.
On the 5th of August, 2015, we heard news that her son was going through the final stages of the installation process which was to be preceded by series of events. Upon hearing that, we marched again to stop the occasion from going on but that became very violent. Many people got seriously injured because the fake chief went to hire rogues from a nearby village and also rallied some of the youth from a town next to ours, who were in support of him. After two weeks, the tension became serious so my dad and I moved back to Accra.
Surprisingly, on 29th of September, 2015, these zongo guys stormed our hideout where we were taking solace. We relocated to Cape Coast, another region all together.
Unfortunately, on the 10th of January, 2016, myself and a group of 15 youth from another village went to storm the palace as well as my cousin’s house in Kumasi without the concern of my dad. The chief, my cousin, upon hearing my attempt swore to take my life by which ever means. My dad became alarmed. At that time I had already acquired a visa to visit the UK to attend the model United Nations conference at University of Nottingham on the 20-22 November, 2015.
My dad urged me to leave the country immediately. He bore all expenses for the trip. In the UK, I was communicating with my dad to know what was going on. He asked me to wait because tensions were still high. As I write this story, my cousin the fake chief rains terror, putting fear into my dad and the council of elders. After two months of entering into the UK, the queen mother died mysteriously after reigning for 11years. Her son believes that my dad and I spiritually killed her.
Fredrick Amoah, a 28 year old, and only child of his parents, a graduate from one of Ghana’s prestige religious Universities is now a fugitive. Returning to his home country has been delayed because the fake Chief demands his head as ransom which his dad is never ready to oblige.
This fake chief has made several violent attempts on the dad’s life which forced him to flee to a neighbouring country where he lives now. Unfortunately, Fredrick has not heard from his dad for the past seven months. Efforts to trace him seem futile. Friends in the village tell him his cousin has turned into a monster, and will at any time turn his anger on members of his dad’s family.
He confesses, “When I imagine these becoming realities in my extremely hostile environment when people can spill blood to ascend a throne, fear grips me”.
By: Ekow Budu