Monday, August 13, 2007
2 Warring factions at Osu bury the hatchet
Story: BELLA FRANCESNKANSAH
AFTER 51 years of rivalry and conflict, two warring factions at Osu, namely the Kinkawe and the Alata clans, have finally buried the hatchet.
This was achieved at the reconciliation of the two sections by the Chief of Osu, Nii Nortey Owuo 111, at a colourful ceremony at Dadebunaa Kinkawe, Osu in Accra, on Saturday.
Prior to the ceremony, a cow was slaughtered to signify the cancellation of all the bitterness and rancour of the past and a pledge to move together in unity.
The whole Osu community was set agog as the Osu Mantse, Nii Nortey Owuo 111, accompanied by his retinue, entered the durbar grounds amidst drumming, dancing and the firing of musketry.
The people on the other hand, mostly clad in red or having red armbands and headbands, followed the proceedings with rapt attention as they were all eager to know the outcome of the gathering.
The Asafo groups, who were visibly elated at the ceremony, fired musketry amid cheering and singing.
Meanwhile, a third party, representing a rival chief from the Dowuona royal house left out and erected giant sound speakers blurring very loud music close to the durbar grounds.
According to sources, the Dowuona family put that act because they were against Nii Norley Owuo 111 and not even pleas from some ministers of the gospel, including Rev. Chris Hesse and Rev. Neils Hesse of the Presbyterian Church, would deter them from carrying out their mission.
The only living witness of a war between the Kinkawe and the Alata, Mr. Joseph Christian Tetteh Adamah, told the Daily Graphic that the conflict, which began in 1956, erupted when the Kinkawe clan, during their turn to install a chief for the Osu community, enstooled a Catholic priest by name Nii Noi Roman, as the new chief.
Nii Noi Roman, apart from being Catholic was also left-handed, a situation which was against their custom. The Kinkawe clan also defied custom by going to the Alata Community without seeking permission from them.
This situation, therefore, fuelled conflicts between the two factions, which finally resulted in a war which claimed many lives and destroyed thousands of property.
Addressing the gathering, the Osu Mantse and President of the Osu Divisional Council, Nii Nortey Owuo 111, said the ceremony was a celebration of the end of the unfriendly relations, the skirmishes and the lack of trust that existed between the two parties, whilst ushering in a period of goodwill.
According to him, some skirmishes that led to the war actually began in 1949 during the reign of his predecessor, Nii Nortey Owuo 11. He said when the chief was sprinkling Kpokpoi around town on a Homowo day, he was not received warmly by some young men in Alata. Stones were thrown at his entourage and the youth from Kinkawe retaliated.
“These skirmishes continued and culminated in the 1956 battle which resulted in gunshot and knife wounds being inflected,” he added.
Nii Nortey Owuo 111 said that during his enstoolment, he published a manifesto which focused on developing Osu and placing it back on the map of Ghana, adding that the process could only be achieved when they had a united front.
He thanked members of the two Asafo companies, as well as the elders of Kinkawe and Alata, for their co-operation whilst paying glowing tribute to the late Nii Kwabena Bonne 1V, who initiated the peace process.
An Elder of the Alata clan, Nii Solomon Quaynor, said before the war, their leaders lived in cordiality and brotherliness, which transcended down to their followers leading to trust and transparency.
He said with the passing on of the leaders, all the elements which had been the bedrock of peace and prosperity of Osu were lost resulting in feuds and quarrel among the people.
Nii Solomon Quaynor, therefore, deployed the people of Osu to put behind them the past bad behaviours of arrogance and disrespect and usher in a period of mutual respect.
After the peace pipe had been smoked, the Alata clan, accompanied by the Kinkawe clan, amid drumming, dancing, singing and the firing of musketry, entered the Osu Mantse’s palace for the first time in 51 years.
Certificates were also presented to representatives of families who lost their loved ones during the war.
A member of the Alata Clan, whose father was directly involved in the fight, Mrs. Florence Naa Shika Bentsil, told the Daily Graphic after the ceremony that she was very glad the peace pipe had been smoked.
She said the war had continued to affect them even years after as she had been prevented from marrying her boyfriend who was a member of the Kinkawe Clan and hoped the unity reached would be maintained.
Mrs. Priscilla Norley Ahiamakor from the Kinkawe Clan also described the ceremony as a long-awaited moment, since peace and unity were good for the development of a nation.
She lauded all those who initiated the peace process and urged all to continue to live as one people.
The ceremony was attended by a number of personalities, including Prof. Fred Togbor Sai, presidential advisor on population issues, who chaired the function, and Mrs. Cecilia Bannerman, a member of the Council of State.
Daily Graphic - Monday, August 13, 2007 Page: 3