Why are Ashanti Chiefs silent over Asantehene’s claim to owning all Ashanti land with them being mere caretakers to the lands they occupy?

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The muteness of the paramount chiefs in Ashanti region over the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s claim to owning the entire Ashanti land is very disturbing, if not shocking. Is their silence means consent hence Asantehene indeed owns the entire land in Ashanti region without there being any government or stool, clan or family lands?

The paramount chiefs should not assume that he is just joking, thus, his assertion is just a figment of his imagination, hence will not bother themselves to question him about his source of authority that grants him the right to own all Ashanti land.

No, if Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II says anything, he really means it. Therefore, the chiefs should not take his sweeping statement made on Thursday, 28 October 2021, at the gathering to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) as mere passing statement not worthy of having a sleepless night over.

The silence of many of the Ashanti chiefs and their inability to correct, let alone, stand up to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, when he behaviours untowardly, or lays claims to what does not belong to him by law or custom, could be down to many reasons among which are:

1.     The stools being occupied by some of the Ashanti chiefs are not theirs by origin but someone else’s that they have collusively usurped. Therefore, they are scared shitless to come out to challenge Otumfuo Osei Tutu II whenever he errs or acts dictatorially criminally, for the fear of being exposed and finally deposed.

2.     Some chiefs are in collusion with him to exploit other chiefs, thus, stools which are richer in natural resources with expansive land area but have weaker royal candidates installed as paramount chiefs. This is so with my own Kumawu division within Asanteman where a complete stooge has illegally been enstooled as the paramount chief of the area against the wish of the majority of Kumawuman subjects. In such a situation, how can the weaker chief and those condoning and conniving with Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, come out openly to criticise his probable irresponsible claims or statements made? They can’t.

3.     Some chiefs are simply cowards. They shudder when Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, a known expert bully, opens his mouth. They dive for cover for the fear of needlessly becoming his target, harassed and threatened by his sycophants, be they chiefs or ordinary subjects.

4.     Some chiefs do not know the history of the formation of the Asante Confederacy, currently Asanteman. They do not know anything about the dissolution and restoration of the Asante Confederacy in 1896 and 1935 respectively, and how things have evolved since then. They do not know that since 1935, all Asantehenes are only ceremonial heads with the right to exercise ceremonial duties. They are no longer traditional overlords of Asanteman with unlimited powers as it is erroneously announced and made to believe.

5.     Most Ashanti or Asanteman chiefs want to have Asantehene portrayed as bigger and more important than any of the traditional heads of the non-Asante or non-Akan tribes in Ghana hence will never openly criticise Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II whenever he goofs. They will rather keep their silence, out of subservience, even if he were to march them to the slaughter house to have their throats slit.

Now, let me ask if Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II does know anything about the Land Promulgation Act

“1. LAND ADMINISTRATION

1.1  Land Ownership

“In Ghana Land ownership can be categorized into two broad classes. Customary land and Public lands. Customary lands are lands owned by stools, skins, families or clan usually held in trust by the chief, head of family, clan, or fetish priests for the benefit of members of that

group. Private ownership of land can be acquired by way of a grant, sale, gift or marriage. Public lands are lands which are vested in the president for public use. Ownership is by way of outright purchase from customary land owners or private individuals or handed over from

colonial governments”

https://www.fig.net/resources/proceedings/fig_proceedings/fig2006/papers/ps07/ps07_15_sittie_0848.pdf

In Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, Vol XVI (ii), a journal article titled, LAND POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION IN NORTHERN GHANA 1898-1976, written by R. B. BENING, has the following said in the Introduction. “During the colonial period Ghana (then the Gold Coast) consisted of three political entities namely, the Gold Coast Colony, the Colony of Ashanti and the Protectorate of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. Ashanti and the Northern Territories were united with the Gold Coast Colony in 1946 and 1951 respectively as a single administrative unit. The latter was, however, subjected to different treatment in the matter of education and economic development, fiscal policy and land administration before and after the union. While in Ashanti and the Gold Coast Colony the claims of the chiefs, families and individuals to land was recognised and the government did not interfere with the traditional system of land tenure, in the Northern Territories the government ignored similar claims and assumed general control over the land”

The above quote is just to emphasise to Ghanaians, especially Ashantis and those who have swallowed it line, hook and sinker, the recent claim by Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to exclusively owning the entire Ashanti land, that families, chiefs and individuals had, have and still been owning lands in Ashanti before, during and after the birth of Mr Kwakua Duah, now Ashantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

When did the various paramount chiefs, families, individuals and the government, cease to own lands in Ashanti region but Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II? Where did he derive his authority of owning the entire Ashanti land from? I will love to know the source since the credible information available to me, as per practical observations, documentary evidence and fact-finding interviews conducted with some Ashantis on the categories of land ownership in Ashanti region, disproves the claim by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II?

When you go to my town, Kumawu, in the Ashanti region, the government has pockets of vast tracts of land that the locals call them “Sofia line”  (“Sofia” Land), thus Surveyor’s Land or line, meaning that demarcated land belongs to the government and he who goes in there to farm or fell trees without permission by the government will be arrested and prosecuted. The lands until today are protected and guarded by the operatives of the Ministry of Land and Mineral Resources on the ground called Forest Guards.

I am aware of Ahafo Mpasaaso in the Ashanti region having similar lands belonging to the government.

I have some specific documents in my possession among which are Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim that I may publish to expose the shallowness of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s claim to owning the entire Ashanti land without there being any stool or families, or individuals or government land in Ashanti region.

My articles being published following the statement of claim by Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to owning all Ashanti land are intended to bring to the knowledge of many a Ghanaian, especially Ashantis and city dwellers and all those who attended the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) that he lied. The entire Kumasi divisional or district land within Ashanti region or Asanteman where he is the paramount chief, does not belong to him only, let alone, the totality of the Ashanti region land.

I am patiently waiting for any counter views to mine as are expressed in my recent publications on Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s claim to owning all Ashanti land with all the other chiefs only being caretakers to the portions of lands they are occupying in his behalf.

If I don’t challenge him, being aware of the falsity of his claim, his false statement may become authority to be cited by some people as true in defence of all future Asantehenes when they too desire to usurp the powers and lands of other stools same as the current Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is doing.

I conclude with the following two among the few favourite quotes that motivate me to be of service to my people and country, and also, to be the voice of the voiceless.

“For evil to triumph is when good people sit down doing nothing”. This saying is amplified by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia when he said, “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

Rockson Adofo

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