The Presiding Judge, His Lordship Fredrick Tetteh ruled that, the action taken by the Respondents– the Offinsohene, Nana Wiafe Akenten III and seven others – to destool chief of Mehame was capricious.
The other respondents aside the President of the Offinso Traditional Council, Nana Wiafe Akenten III were:
The Abusuapanin of Mehame-Asona Royal Family, Kwabena Yeboah (Mehame); Kwaku Takyi (Namo, Abontendonhene); Dickson Opoku; Kwabena Amponsah of Asamankama
Others included Kwadwo Akumi (Mehame); Okyeame Kwaku Wiafe and Okyeame Kwabena Owusu.
Nana Duodu Bene Nkansah II was properly nominated, selected, elected and enstooled as chief of Mehame in accordance with tradition, custom and convention on the 20th day of December, 2004.
The Mehame Chief deposed that since his enstoolment as the chief of the community, he had executed his function as the Chief of Mehame diligently without fear and favour.
However, on the 24th day of June, 2019, the Respondents acting in tandem forcefully broke into the Mehame “Stool House”, offered sacrifice by slaughtering a ram and decreed that, he has been destooled as the chief of Mehame.
Nana Duodu Bene Nkansah II who prayed the court challenging his wrongful destoolment, argued that, assuming without admitting that, charges had been levelled against him by the Respondents, he was not given the opportunity to be heard.
Led by his counsel Lawyer Nana Obiri Boahen, he contended that, the whole procedure taken to destool his client was null and void, fraudulent, dishonest and breach of the natural justice rule. He furthered that no court of equity, good conscience should ever assist in the perpetuation or commission of illegalities or any wanton aberration of the law or laws.
He continued that, the Applicant, as the Chief of Mehame within Offinso Traditional Council is enjoined by law, tradition,and statute to fully participate in all activities which the Traditional Council takes.
He prayed the court to prohibit the traditional Council from undertaking any traditional activity without the inclusion of the Mehamehene just on the ground that he had been purportedly ‘destooled’.
Lawyer for the respondents Franklin Asamoah told the court that the Applicant (Mehamehene) had refused to attend Traditional Council meetings and also failed and refused to respond to the many overtures made by the OffinsoTraditional Council to appear before them.
He stated that a delegation made up of Kyeame Kwabla Amanfi, Kyeame Kwaku, Opanin Akwasi Addai of Mehame Royal Family, the Mehame Abusuapanin, Mehame Gyasehene and Abontendomhene were sent to the applicant but were ordered by him (Applicant) to leave his house.
Counsel for the Respondents furthered that the Royals of the Mehame formed the view that persistent refusal of the Applicant to honour their invitation constituted gross misconduct as well as disrespect for the Offinso Traditional Council, hence his destoolment.
He added that the Applicant was afforded ample opportunity to be present at the Offinso Traditional council but he turned down numerous invitations extended him and that, no one ever prevented or tried to prevent the applicant from attending meetings of the Offinso Traditional council.
However, Counsel for the Respondents was unable to produce evidence of any documentary proof of proceedings of meetings properly held to arrive at the decision to destool the Chief of Mehame.
The court ruled that per the provisions of the Chieftaincy Act, Act 759, the Respondents have no power or authority to destool the applicant in the manner in which they did, no matter how reprehensible his 'sins' against the Respondent was.
The court also upheld evidence adduced to the effect that the Omanhene of the Offinso Traditional Council, Nana Wiafe Akenten II acted unfairly as a complainant and a judge in meetings held at his instance to reach the decision to destool the chief of Mehame.
“The Nana Omanhene ( Nana Wiafe Akenten III), appears to be the complainant since, he had alleged that, the Mehamehene’s Abusuapanin had told him that, Nana Omanhene had no land. In that regard from the affidavit evidence, Nana Omanhene was a judge in his own cause. (Nemo Judex in causia sua),” the Judge added.
The court furthered that, as a complainant, Nana Omanhene presided over all the meetings that deliberated on the alleged misconduct of Mehamehene and communicated his decision which led to the destoolment of Mehamehene.
According to the court, there was no indication as to whether, the Kingmakers were complainants as well apart from Nana Omanhene, neither was there any indication that the kingmakers participated fully in the decision making process leading to the destoolment of the Mehamehene.
More so, the court stated that there was no formal communication in terms of documentation between the Offinso Traditional Council led by Nana Omanhene on one hand and the Mehamehene on the other. That is, the Offinso Traditional Council did not formally write to the Applicant spelling out reasons for the invitations neither was there any formal communication of the charges against Mehamehene.
The court further gave immediate orders prohibiting the Offinso Traditional Council led by Nana Wiafe Akenten III from preventing the Applicant from performing his duties and functions both statutorily and customarily as the Chief of Mehame forthwith.
His Lordship Justice Frederick Tetteh however ceased from awarding a cost but told both parties to find ways to reconcile since Nana Omanhene is the President of the Offinso Traditional Council, whereas the Applicant is a member, just as the other Respondents.
The Presiding Judge also urged the applicant to demonstrate a gesture of goodwill and respect towards the members of the Offinso Traditional Council,led by Nana Omanhene, whereas the members of the Offinso Traditional Council led by Nana Omanhene in their wisdom and reliance on their magnanimity reciprocate by making overtures to reconcile all parties with the aim of working hard together, to enhance the developmental agenda of the Offinso Traditional area, for their common good and that of Ghana as a whole.
Source: David Afum