Why the Yagbonwura of Gonja is also a King in Ghana
I read an interesting piece by Dr. George Osei-Tutu Darkwah a Constitutional Lawyer and Sociologist titled; “Why Asantehene is a King”.
The writer said Asantehene is considered as the only King in Ghana and advanced some points in justifying why Asantehene is the only King. Going by his argument the King and Overlord of the Gonja Kingdom called “Yagbonwura” is also a King and we Gonjas have always see him as such.
I will first of all juxtapose why Yagbonwura is also a King with the same points advanced by Dr. George Osei-Tutu Darkwah:
He said; “(a) First, the Asantehene is the only chief in Ghana whose authority and control over Paramount Chiefs extend beyond the Ashanti Region to other traditional areas in other regions in Ghana – such as, Volta, Eastern, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Western and Northern Regions”
The Yagbonwura is a chief in Ghana whose authority and control over Paramount Chiefs extend beyond the Northern Region with other traditional areas in other regions in Ghana- such as, Brong- Ahafo and Upper West.
Dr Darkwa explained;
“(b) Second, the Asantehene is the only chief in Ghana who can enstool or destool a paramount chief. Thus, unlike, the Okyenhene, the Asantehene is over and above a paramount chief”.
Secomd it is clear the Yagbonwura in Ghana can enskin or deskin paramount chiefs
Hear Dr Darkwah; “(c)Third, the Asantehene is the only chief in Ghana who has absolute control and authority over all the lands in one particular region. Thus, unlike the Okyenehene (whose authority is limited to lands in Akyem-Abuakwa traditional area), the Asantehene’s authority covers, not only the whole of Ashanti Region but also, extends to other regions and beyond the borders of Ghana”.
Third, I wish to say even though the Yagbonwura do not have absolute control and authority over all the lands in one particular region, he has authority of the biggest piece of land in Ghana for a single ethnic group. The Yagbonwura’s land also extends to other regions and beyond the borders of Ghana in Cote’ d Ivoire in an area called Tari.
Ghana is not a desert and I sometimes wonder why the Chief of the ethnic group with the biggest land will not be considered a King but Chiefs of ethnic groups with smaller lands are struggling to be called Kings.
Gonjaland, which occupies an area of 37,582 Square kilometers (Sq.km.) constitutes 53.45% of the land area of the Northern Region (70,384 Sq.km.) and 16.09% of the total land area of Ghana (238,533 Sq.km.).
Gonjaland is bigger than eight of the ten regions of Ghana in land size. It is about the same size as the Brong Ahafo region (the second largest in size after the Northern Region), over one and half (1.54) times the size of the Ashanti Region (the most populous region in Ghana), over one and half (1.57) the size of the Western Region, about four (3.82), times the size of the Central Region, about twelve times (11.58) the size of the Greater Accra Region, about twice the size of the Volta Region (1.82), the Eastern Region (1.95) and Upper East Region (2.03) and over 4 times the size of the Upper West Region.
Lastly our laws have ranked chiefs and have not made any Chief an absolute King in Ghana.
The Chieftancy act of 1971, section 41 says: “The categories of Chiefs (in Ghana) are (a), the Asantehene and paramount chiefs (b) divisional chiefs (c) sub divisional”.
Likewise section 58 (a) of the 2008 Chieftaincy Act 759 states:
“The following are the categories of Chiefs: The Asantehene and Paramount Chiefs”.
Columnist: Mahama Haruna