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Kumasi Traditional Council Throws Out Wontumi Case

The Kumasi Traditional Council has brought to an end, the case pertaining to an alleged unsavoury comment by the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi Boasiako, known as Chairman Wontumi.

This was on Monday, January 29, 2024, when the Regional Chairman accompanied by some NPP officials made an appearance before the Council headed in the interim by Bantamahene Baffuor Owusu Amankwatia VI.

Present among the NPP officials were National Chairman Stephen Ayensu Ntim, General Secretary Justin Kodua Frimpong, National Organiser Henry Nana Boakye, Ashanti Regional Minister Simon Osei Mensah, Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Stephen Asamoah Boateng.

Their appearance followed Wontumi’s failure to show up at the initially set date because of “ill health”.

Levelling his accusation, Nana Kwaku Duah, the Chief of Kokoso recalled how the Regional NPP Chairman allegedly dragged the name of Otumfuo in disrepute when the latter claimed to operate in his Kingdom and allegedly went on further to challenge the supremacy of the King during the vetting of Parliamentary aspirant of the party on January 3.

“A chaos broke out between the Regional Chairman and the Manhyia South Organiser {during the vetting}. I asked the Organiser to leave the premises and in the course of the heated argument, Wontumi declared that he was in his kingdom. I interjected to remind him that only Otumfuo has a Kingdom but he went on further to state that he will oppose Otumfuo when he disagrees with him.”

According to Nana Kokosohene who is a member of the Council of Elders in the Manhyia South Constituency, in an ensuing conference call between himself, the General Secretary of the NPP and Wontumi, after reporting to the relevant traditional authorities, the latter invoked curses on him and his descendants, an act that is banned in Asanteman.

Wontumi denied the allegations as untrue as he proclaimed his utmost respect for Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene.

According to him, he stated that he was in his Kingdom and drew the emphasis that he was talking about the NPP Kingdom.

“NPP Organiser of Manhyia South Constituency challenged my decision not to render any testimony about NAPO {the current MP, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh}, during his vetting but I made him aware that I was in my kingdom and he couldn’t dictate for me. Kokosohene faulted my statement saying I had dragged Otumfuo’s name in the issue.”

He also denied challenging the authority of Otumfuo, adding, “I never said I would challenge Otumfuo if I disagree with him. I am fierce on the political front but not in the cases relating to traditional rulers.”

He however admitted to invoking curses on Kokosohene with the justification that it was to absolve himself of all the blame.

“It wasn’t intentional but I did it to exonerate myself.”

No Witness
Though Kokosohene was prepared to present some witnesses to his allegation for ultimate determination, the traditional rulers opposed and held that the matter was not to determine who was telling the truth or not.

Some of the Divisions of the Council showed concern about the manner in which the outburst of social media over the case belittled the supremacy of the King and thereby the need to put an end to the case.

They noted that the focus and energy of the Council must be channelled into propagating the exceptional leadership of Otumfuo over the past 25 years as well as other planned anniversary events organized by the Manhyia Palace for later this year.

After soliciting the counsel of the various divisions of the Council, Bantamahene ruled that the case had been dismissed.

“This is a worrying issue because on February 6, Asanteman will hold a Symposium in commemoration of 150th anniversary of the Sagrenti War. On 8th February, we will hold a durbar and then the Silver Jubilee of Otumfuo and the 100th anniversary of the Asante Confederacy. This issue is diverting our focus.”

“Wontumi has denied the allegations which should call for witnesses statements but that is unnecessary. This must serve as advice for tradition. The law mandates traditional authorities to stay away from partisan politics.”

Referencing Otumfuo’s declaration for chiefs to stay off political activities, he gave Kokosohene the choice to either quit his position with the NPP or that of chieftaincy.

Meanwhile, he warned Wontumi to be wary about his utterances and regulate the choice of words of his employees.

“Politicians must give traditional authorities the respect they deserve. Some of you go into a jurisdiction for rallies without seeking permission from the traditional authorities there.”

He also concluded that the requisite procedure must be followed to revoke the curse invoked by Wontumi.

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