THE CHIEFTAINCY brouhaha that rocked the Ga State barely a month ago continues unabated with parties in the conflict preparing themselves for a “long “ legal battle with fears of huge financial wastage that would have gone a long way to develop parts of some impoverished communities in Ga land.
Wednesday, 6th July2011, there was drama at the Accra Fast Track High Court when the respondents in the case took to their heels to avoid a bailiff from subpoenaing them to appear in court for the commencement of the case.
Supporters of the respondents told Wojaku that the respondents told the court they have not been served with any writ of summons, compelling the court to adjourn for a week.
King Tackie Tawiah III on 24th June 2011 proceeded to court to demand that action be taken against key players in the recent installation of another Ga Mantse comprising George Tackie a.k.a. Nii Tackie-Adama Latse II, pretender Ga Mantse, Yaya Addy, Emmanuel Tackei-Yaotey a.k.a. Nii Yaotey Oto-Ga, Nii Amarkai, Asere Dzasetse, Thomas Okai, Pretender Gbese Mantse, Nuumo Ogboamey and David Tackie Commey.
According to Counsel for King Tackie Tawah III, Hon. Joseph Ayikoi Otto, they will plead with the Court Registrar to subpoena the respondents by substituted service.
Wojaku can authoritatively say legal luminaries who would serve as counsels for the feuding factions are bracing themselves for a “bumper harvest” that would see them ‘laughing for ages’ at the expense of the impoverished Ga people.
Nii Abbey, Public Relations Officer (PRO) for King Tackie Tawiah III said the embattled King is seeking the court to convict the respondents as aforementioned for contempt of the judicial committee of the Greater Accra House of Chiefs and sentence them accordingly.
The GaDangme Council, in a related development has stated that it would not be dragged into the chieftaincy fray but will work for a traditionally lawful and peaceful resolution of the problem pertaining to a generally acceptable Ga Mantse and to the stability and progress of the Ga State.
This was contained in a press release signed by its president Mr. K. B. Asante captioned “Purported Installation of Rival Ga Mantsemei”.
The Council appealed to all stakeholders in the dispute to conform to customary and traditional processes and procedures pertaining to the installation of an acceptable King for the Ga State, calling on all claimants to the Ga Stool to abide by the Rule of Law and customary use and practice.
Describing the recent developments in the chieftaincy dispute as unhelpful, Mr. K. B. Asante said, “…the Ga Dangme council deemed recent developments unhelpful and appeals to all elders of the Ga State to refrain from illegal acts and the use of inflammatory and highly inappropriate language which is unbefitting to their status as traditional elders”.
It further stated: “The GaDangme Council had from the onset of the problem pertaining to the installation of an acceptable Ga Mantse tried to assist in the resolution of the burning issues by persuading all parties to confirm to customary and traditional processes and procedures.
“Unfortunately, tis efforts proved futile and it had to contend with awaiting the verdict of the judicial process of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs at Dodowa”.
The GaDangme Council however noted that it will continue to work for a traditionally lawful and peaceful resolution of the problem pertaining to a generally acceptable Ga Mantse and to the stability and progress of the Ga state.
The Judicial Committee of the Greater Accra House of Chiefs was set to continue sitting on the case yesterday Friday, July 8 2011. Counsel for the Committee, Mr. Samuel Klayson told Wojaku that the Committee would now sit twice per week from the previous once a week to enable it double up the pace of proceedings.
The four-member Judicial Committee is made of Nene Abram Akuoko III, Ada Mantse and President of the House, Nii Tetteh Otu II, Kpone Mantse, Nene Tetteh Gyan II, Prampram Mantse and Nene Animle, Osudoku Mantse.
King Tackei Tawiah, in his sworn affidavit dated 24th June, 2011 stated inter alia that the respondents’ purported action of installing a new Ga Mantse is intended to prevent the Judicial Committee of the Grater Accra Regional House of Chiefs from inquiring into a case before it regarding his installation as the legitimate Ga King.
However, the Ga Traditional Council on Tuesday continued with its quest to drag the government and the police into the fray and descended heavily on the two institutions for the manner in which they have been handling the dispute, Speaking on behalf of the Council at the press conference held in Accra, a claimant to the Gbese stool, Nii Okaijah III expressed worry over the police and government refusal to take action when the stool house of the Ga Mantse was broken into by a group he described as ‘bandits’ and ‘thugs’. He said those people were wielding offensive weapons such as AK 47assault rifles and machetes when they stormed and took-over the palace.
He stressed that, if King Tackie Tawiah III who is very peaceful and law-abiding in nature had not restrained the youth from resisting the attack, it would have been a different story by now.
Sounding rhetorical, Nii Okaijah asked: “In a situation where the Council, a legal body of governance cannot rely on the Police to protect it, then where else must it turn?
“Given that the Ga Mantse palace serves as a unit office of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, with its premises serving as a meeting place for the Ga Traditional Council, coupled with the fact that it is the location of the Judicial Committee for the adjudication of cases between sub-chiefs and their divisional heads, seizure of the palace and its continued occupancy by a lawless group of people, with the police refusing to undertake their responsibility, creates a sense of indifference, while it does not reflect any semblance of law and order,” he stressed.
“It is our wish to comment further that recognition of chiefs in the Ga State begins at the Ga Traditional council and not with the media. All processes of installment are examined by relevant committees to ensure that legitimate means are used in the selection examination and installation of all chiefs,” he noted.
The National House of Chiefs (NHC) last week waded into the dispute condemning the installation of a rival Ga Mantse when the case against the nomination, selection and installation of King Tackie Tawiah III is still pending at the judicial Committee of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs (GARHC).
The President of the NHC, Wulugu Naba Pugansoa Naa Professor John S. Nabila, said what was going on in the Ga Traditional Area had given a bad image to the chieftaincy institution.
“What is going on in Accra is highly unacceptable, since this is the seat of government, with all the foreign missions,” he stressed.
“We are fortunate that what is happening in the Ga Traditional Area does not directly affect other areas such as La, Tema, Osu, Nungua, James Town, Teshie and Ngleshie and we call on chiefs in those areas to join forces in helping to find a lasting solution to the crisis,” he said. “Ghana”, he noted, “was highly regarded as a peaceful nation and as such acts that would negate that recognition should be discarded, especially, as Election 2012 approaches.”
He attributed most of the chieftaincy disputes in the country to the inability of the NHC to complete the exercise on the codification of customary laws and lines of succession to stools and skins.
Meanwhile, snippets of information reaching Wojaku suggest that ‘quasi’ reconciliatory talks are underway with some members of the Council who had openly condemned the ‘palace coup’ plot to reconsider their stance; and are likely to ‘betray’ King Tackie Tawiah III midway in the legal tussle.