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In Ghana, New Ga Mantse Causes Unrest


In Ghana, the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture is urging the chiefs and elders of the Ga traditional area to maintain peace, despite the current dispute between members of the royal families. Observers say the problem arose after the installation of a new king of Accra, or Ga Mantse, without wide consultations among the four royal houses. Opponents of the new king say the kingmakers failed to follow regulations. Nii Armah Tackie is a principal elder of the Teiko Tsuru royal house and the great grandson of the famous King Tackie Tawiah I. From Accra, he spoke with Voice of America English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the current impasse.

“Normally we will all have hailed the new Ga Mantse of the King of the Ga state had all the rules published by traditions been followed. But in this particular case the rules were not followed. The system of succession and inheritance is based largely on a patrilineal form and naming systems, which has been structured over 500 years. But throughout our history people have sought to undermine the system. Dr. Joe Blankson, purported to have been installed as Ga Mantse, hails from the matrilineal side, and so he is called Lartey Sempe. Joe Blankson had not gone through the process even laid down. Apart from being illegible, he had not gone through the process and yet they are claiming him as the new Ga Mantse.”

Nii Armah Tackie explained how kings are chosen. “First of all, at the time of the installation of the previous Ga Mantse, the mantle which he wore would be handed over to the next house. And that next house is the house that would have the right to nominate and recommend the next candidate after the demise of the previous one. And therefore it is the prerogative of this family to sound all the male members, in other words those who have patrilineal descendants from the throne, to express their interest. In fact we have the most democratic institutions in Africa. So these would be discussed openly and then there would be a short listing. These recommendations will go to the Ga Dzaase from the four royal houses who meet under the chairmanship of the principle father of Dzaase, who would then scrutinize the nominated or recommended candidate if they find him satisfactory. Then they will begin the process of confining him and teaching him all the rudiments of kingship and the rules of kingship for two to three weeks. So all that is going on now, I will say is rubbish, is null and void.”

Nii Armah Tackie said peace and tranquility can be achieved. “The best way forward is for Dr. Joe Blankson, who is supposed to be a very learned colleague – you know he studied law and economics – to come forward and apologize to the Ga people. And withdraw from this illegal and unlawful pursuit of his ambition.”

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