By: Kwame Ampene
(Founder of the Guan Historical Society)
The Kwamankese State forms an integral part of Abora – Asebu Kwamankese District Assembly in the Central Region. The state shares boundaries with Assin Attandaso in the north; Abeadze in the east, Abora in the south and west. With its capital at Ayeldo, the principal towns are Kwaman, Obosome, Osekyerew, Tekyiman, Nyamebekyere, Brenyi, Odompo, Katakyiase and a number of farm communities.
When the Borbor Fante left their ancestral home in Takyiman, their first place of call was Kwaman, a hilly abode where they can spy on their enemies. Due to population pressure, a large section of them migrated to the coast and settled at Mankessim. Those who stayed behind where organized into a state under King Idan I, and re-named the first settlement KWAMANKESE, lit. GREAT KWAMAN.
Another version of Kwaman tradition asserts that KWAMANKESE derives its name out of the remnants of the Akan who stayed behind at Kwaman; hence Kwaman was traditionally called “remnant Akan” i.e. “Akan – nkaase” which became corrupted into KWAMANKESE. As a result, the nucleus of a state was automatically created.
The people of Kwamankese maintain that in the olden days, they co-operated with all Borbor Fante, including Abora, for the defence of Fanteland against the incursions of the Asante army. They claim that they had never been subordinate to Aborahin whose position was one of pre-eminence among equals: it was rather the Aborahin Out V(Samuel Gardiner, enstooled 1900) who made unsuccessful attempts to incorporate Kwamankese within the Abora State. He stopped the supply of gun powder being given to Abeadze and Kwaman unless the applications were sent through him, because the available evidence indicate that chiefs who engineered his disposition in 1904 included Dominasehin Ewusi Tsenase, Kwamanhin Idan I, Mpeseduadzehin Kwesi Abawa and Adontsinhin of Abora, Odonasehin Kwaa Yeboa and Tufuhin of Abora. However, his successor, Kwamee Tawia (Otu VI) abdicated and Samuel Gardiner was brought back to the stool as Out VI Ababio.
This rather unexpected turn of events was the subjects of judicial enquiry by a commission appointed by the Bright colonial Administration. Inspite of the evidence of the Amanhin of Anomabo and Mankessim, and also of J.P. Brown, and of John Mensah Sarbah to the effect Kwamankese had always formed part of the Abora Division of the Borbor Fante, Chief Assistant Colonial Secretary. C.R. Harper ruled that:
1. Kwaman and Dominase are not subordinate in their ordinary Jurisdication to Omanhin Otu Ababio of Abora.
2. Omanhin Otu Ababio of Abora has no control over Dominase and Kwaman lands.
3. On ceremonial occasions, the Omanhin of Abora takes precedence of the chiefs of Kwaman and Dominase, and
4. The tie between Abora, Kwaman and Dominase is ceremonial one in that they have at different times been in alliance in time of war and have consulted together in times of peace, but that the Omanhin of Abora has no claim of right to the assistance in war and in council of the chiefs of Kwaman and Dominase.
As a result of this time ruling, the British colonial government recognized both Abeadze and Kwamankese as independent states and their, Chiefs and Amanhin (ABEADZI is a fante word meaning literally ‘under the palm tree’- they decided to settle there as they thought they would benefit by the multifarious uses of the palm tree). See for example, J.K. Fynn oral traditions of fante state, LAS, Legon) ALSO D.A. Sutherland states emblems of the Gold Coast, KWAMAN STATE, 1952, p. 63 – the two swords in the state emblem were used in taking Oath of allegiance in time of war and in time of peace in ceremonial occasions.
The Spectator Saturday, December 24, 2011 Page 31