THE STORY OF KRACHI
KNOW THE ORIGIN OF TOWNS
By: KWAME MPENE
(Founder of the Guan Historical Society)
In 1975, the eloquent Kaachiwia (Chief Mensah) testified before a Committee of Inquiry appointed by Executive Instrument to enquire into certain matters concerning the Volta Region. He stated inter alia:
“In ancient times my ancestors were Etsi people who lived somewhere near Awutu on the Coast. They migrated to Larteh Akuapem to join a number of Guan-speaking people who had established pocket communities there. At Larteh, they became heavily indebted to Akyem overlords who used to send messengers to collect tributes in the form of anything which they favoured. Because of these exactions, my ancestors decided to pull out. They were noticed by the Akyem overlords who teased them by saying “ka—akye—won” meaning they had become insolvent. It was a corruption of this statement that the people had the name KA-AKYE, anglicized KRACHI~.
Truly, the Akyem Abuakwa overlords subjected them to penury existence until they left the region bag and baggage. However, by a remote tradition, their ancestors were known as NSOMIA. Tradition gives the first home of the Krachi as Larteh (vide: “Togo Land under United Kingdom Trusteeship” — His Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1949p, 7).
They left Larteh under the leadership of Tsotobi whose glorious reign in many ways opened an epoch in the history of the people. They moved together with Nkonya Wurupong and the Kankyinpoh division of Yeji. Linguistic characteristics tend to support this assertion that they originated from one common stock. They resolved that the three of them would fight the Akyem should they follow up as they moved northwards up the Mankrong Mountains.
However, at an earlier stage of the journey, the Nkonya Wurupong crossed the Volta at Nkrofenda to their present home, thus parting company with the other two groups. Again the Veji separated from the Krachi and the latter passed through Akyeasi in Asante-Akyem before they settled at Krenja.
While at Krenja, the war leaders of Agogo and Kwaman, namely Ofori Kobon and Ntori Nimpon respectively, who took part in the war against the Guan King, Ataara Ofinam VIII, on the Afram Plains, considered a Black Stool for the founding fathers of Krachi as a sign of friendship and spiritual help they offered them before they left Larteh. The Black Stool was named “BON TSENI”.
When the trekkers were resting at Krenja, the original Batae clan split into Twoboae, Dentewia, Nchunyae and Sanwakyi clans with independent leaders. When an advanced party reconnoitred the area, they discovered that the lands on which they had settled were not completely vacant, because the Basa under Sibiri has occupied the northwest of the Sene and Volta artery. The chief of Basa permitted them to stay on the land sovereignty of the State, and in addition these newcomers would make regular presentations of fish to the chief of Basa.
Tsotobi died and so did Subiri. According to the chief list, Adorn Kwaafo succeeded the former, while Amo Sakyi succeeded the latter. On three separate occasions, the newcomers failed to send the fish which gradually grew into muted hostility, and eventually graduated into persecution.
This unfortunate mutation from friend to foe compelled the Krachi ancestors to move eastwards to a place called Kitankpanda, meaning “deserted village” where all the clans stayed before crossing to the left bank of the Volta. Krachi is an amalgamation of ten main clans of Guan origin — six originated from Lartey and four from Prang. It is noteworthy that J.E.K. KUMAH, a Research Assistant of the Institute of African Studies, Legon, who is a founding member of the Guan Historical Society of Ghana, collected a Wealth of information on the main division of Krachi:
PATRILINEAL GROUP MIGRANTORIGIN TITLE OF HEADCHIEF
Gyamboae Larteh Osorewia (Landowner)
Twoboase Larteh Kaachewiaa (Paramount Chief)
Nchunyae Larteh Kponowia (Mankrado)
Sanwakyi Larteh Pawia (Kyidom—RearGuard)
Obonsebewia /Bruwia Larteh Priest of the Volta God
Dentewia Larteh Dente Kisipo (Right Wing)
Konong Prang Konowia (Left Wing)
Keanae Präng Akpowia (Left Wing)
Okurae Prang Borewia (Horn Blowers)
Kachepa Prang Ponye Priest (Gyamboae means ‘HUNTER”).
The Gyamboase were the first to settle on the land, hence the headchief became the landowner who exercised much control over the chiefs of Krachi; however the chiefs in turn appeared to be independent of one another and ruled their respective traditional clans. It is broadly true to say that before the Germans took.over the administration of Togo (1896), Krachi was a well-organized state and dominated with superstitious influence of Fetish Dente. The Priest exercised theocratic rule over the chiefs and the people.
The Krachi speak of the deity as OKESEPNG (Great Okese), Its original home used to be at Larteh Akuapen, but the Dente Spirit vanished under mysterious circumstances and came to reside permanently at Krachi. A letter from the District Political Officer (D.P.O.) at Kete Krachi addressed to the Senior Political Officer at Lome, dated February 9, 1916, and signed by P.A. Legge, noted that in 18887 a young girl, Korkor, at Larteh became possessed by the Fetish Dente who expressed his wish to return to Larteh, his original home to revive the dwindling fortunes of the deity. Since it involved certain barbaric rituals, she was prevented by the authorities. The ban virtually sounded the death knell of the deal. Famed for its miracle in those days, the Dente Fetish became the protector of a number of hostages known as AKABUFO who fled from their oppressors to seek for refuge, and were settled at Ketekrachi, Boamator and other places, except Karitakofore which was the residents of Krachi royals.
The Asante Juabenhene, on his part, honoured the Dente god by sending his slaves to perform the Kete orchestra at the Dente Shrine. The dancers created unbearable noise with the Kete drum and reed pipes so that the Dente priest ordered them to move to a remote place. The new site was soon peopled by KETEKRACHI. i.e. “Krachi where the Kete orchestra was performed” (See for example, Krachi Dente in politics, late, 19th Century” Seminar Paper History Department, Legon by Weaver. D. 1973). The Dente Shrone, now flooded, used to be a caved about two kilometers outside Krachikrom, it could be reached by a path which was cleared once a year as part of the Annual Festival. Let me emphasize that with all the authority under my command as an Organizing Secretary cum Founder of the Guan Congress, established 1983, 1 visited Krachi on two occasions on fact finding mission. First, on my way to Kpandai, capital of Nawauri, then across the Volta from Krachi to the west banks on my way to Nkromi, Basa and Dwan all Guan —speaking communities.
The Spectator Page: 31 Saturday, September 4, 2010