“Omanhene’s One Week”


The year was circa 1710, the scene was Kumasi. The greatest Asantehene in history Otumfuo Opoku Ware I had an insoluble problem: his bitterest most troublesome enemies were the Dormas and the Gyaamans.

So, Otumfuo sent for the Chief of Asokore and ordered him to send an expeditionary force to build an espionage military base that can give him early warnings about Jaman-Domaa military movements.

Thus was born an Asante settlement called Berekum in typical BONO enclave; down through the ages until the year 2000 or thereabout when Nana Amankona Diawuo ascended the throne as Berekumhene.

He spent 17 years in the Court battling for the throne and thereafter after only five years Dr Leo Ofori of East Legon, a top surgeon at Sunyani Government Hospital “went to the village”.

Rumors of Nana’s journey to the beyond hit town in early December 2022 but the Sumankwahene announced that Daasebre has crossed the river on June 2023 and the whole of Berekum assembled at the Omanhene’s 9th park – about four acre size meeting grounds on Friday 14th July 2023 to celebrate his “one week”.

For us in Berekum, thus far, it was the mother of all funerals. I got to the Omanhene’s park at about 8am, early enough to get a very good strategic location to settle down. Slowly the over 60 canopies were all filled up, circa 10,000 chairs, with plenty of chiefs from far and near. It was a cultural fiesta.

Her Majesty Nana Aneahene II, larger than life, Queen Mother of Berekum accompanied by the Asokorehene and Benkumhene of Berekum now acting as Omanhene arrived at the funeral grounds at 12noon and went round greeting everybody, covering nearly one hour.

I counted not less than six cultural groups all busily playing with shapely female dancers doing their own thing.

All the members of Berekum Traditional Council were seated with their entourage, and interesting hiccups took place concerning Benkum Division and the Chiefs from Senase – the Kronti division. Traditional warriors called Abrafoo from the Palace came to escort out of the grounds two chiefs whose presence was declared undesirable.

A large retinue of Moslems from Berekum Zongo was there and I saw the Ghana Bar Associate from Sunyani, also Judges from the High Court in Sunyani including Justice Baryeh and Justice Obeng Diawuo from my hometown Jinjini.

As for the Chiefs whose name should I mention and which one should I leave out? Two paramount Chiefs, each of them very noble with an impressive following appeared representing NSOATRE; Bechemhene, Seikwa and many, many others were present.

Reader I was stunned to my seat when I beheld the majestic figure of the Queen mother of Dormaa who came to represent her brother Nana Dormaahene tall, graceful and splendid, she shook my hand, and apparently she knows me so she was homily in her tete a tete with me.

Almost all the media houses in Berekum were there with instant photographers doing brisk business.

Musketry was fired about a thousand for a penny, and the atmosphere was just royalty at its best.

Late in the afternoon, Johnson Asiedu Nketia the NDC General Supremo took the whole place by storm as he was escorted by a huge mass of followers, dancing to the NDC popular tune.

Bringing down the curtain to the day’s events was the major arrival of Sampahene, some thirty something year old looking young noble King with a huge entourage beating atumpan drums – just as he sat down the MC announced the end of proceedings – the one week us over, time check, circa 5:00pm.

By Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey