Tribute to Elder Statesman K. B. Asante from the Convention Peoples Party

Tribute to Elder Statesman K. B. Asante from the Convention Peoples Party


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The old man has gone back to the village and we shall no longer be regaled with deep insights of a man who lived a full and fruitful life and who selflessly shared his wealth of knowledge with all. KB Asante, a man of many parts has passed on to the ancestors and the people of Ghana and the wider African family in the diaspora will forever miss him. We in the Convention Peoples Party will miss his unbiased views about events in the country and his words of wisdom and knowledge of government, acquired through his many years of service to the country working in different capacities at different levels and with different shades of governments.

KB was a teacher; he taught at Achimota School his alma mater before and after he graduated with a Mathematics Degree. His teaching skills never left him since he continued to give lectures in his later years at home and abroad.

He was a civil servant; he worked in several departments including Trade and Industry, Finance and Economic Planning. As a diplomat, he helped set up several embassies and missions during the fledgeling years after our independence. His work in the Bureau of African Affairs at the Foreign Ministry provided him with insights about issues relating to the implementation of the pan African mission. His work as the executive secretary to Dr Kwame Nkrumah brought him into close contact with politics at the highest level observing the intersectionality of the variety of demands on a newly independent country.


Though he retired from the Civil Service, KB never retired from public service. There were too many things for him to do in politics, as a community activist and as a dedicated old student of his alma mater.

As a politician, he fronted the Social Democratic Party, a coalition of trade unionists and other centrists who stood to empower the larger labour movement but that was fiercely Pan African in its principles. Though the party did not flourish as much as he would have liked, Comrade KB never compromised his principles for fairness and social justice.

He went back into public service as one of the older statesmen ushered in to provide credibility to a struggling military regime propounding ambiguous socialist principles. As an experienced administrator and diplomat with a deep knowledge of the history of the country and where it should be, he served with honour. The older mature KB saw it as a duty and service to his country and he served very well in ambassadorial roles as well as in running some of the vital departments of government.

In later years he came into his role as a senior citizen and elder statesman with ease, he continued to be an ambassador for the country though he no longer had a role in government, delivering lectures during his many travels abroad.

He was an excellent and engaging raconteur. His knowledge of the finer details of how governments function was unsurpassable, and he became a much sought-after speaker and lecturer on the foreign circuit; there are many in London and elsewhere who flocked to listen to him, many ardent pan Africanists went to hear him speak on wide-ranging issues that almost always ended on the topic of African unity.

Ever the community activist, he held many meaningful positions in the community. He was dedicated to serving Achimota School on several levels and the visible face of The Gadangme Council, championing the cause of the pre-eminent civil society organisation that campaigns for redress of the many social and developmental arising out of Accra becoming an overpopulated highly urbanised place with its attendant issues.

Elder KB continued to be involved in public and social life and he is best known as the incisive critic and social commentator in his column ‘Message from afar’ in the Peoples Daily Graphic where he was at his best doing was elder statesmen should do! – sharing their rich experience with all in an unbiased way with the government and the people.

As a fearless advocate of fairness, as a champion of social justice and self-determination and as a passionate proponent of pan Africanism, we in the CPP have no doubt that he was comfortable in our midst, providing much-needed advice from afar and cheering us on as we seek to reconnect with the masses to provide them with a government based on Nkrumaist principles of self-determination, social justice, and Pan Africanism
Comrade KB, we wish you safe crossing on the journey back to the village where your ancestors await you. Please let them know how difficult times are and how we are struggling to slowly but surely put the country and continent on the right path. Please ask them to send us advocates who will direct us and show us where we should be going.

We know that it will be difficult to walk in your shoes, but we trust that having listened to and read your wise words over the years, that transformation will yet come and Ghana will slowly and gradually become a better place.

Rest in perfect peace in the Lord and to borrow from your Ga, Tsulɔ kpakpa, oba tsu ohawɔ, agbenɛ yaawɔ ojogbaŋŋ yɛ oNuntsɔ minshi!
Forward Ever!

Comradely Yours
Prof. Edmund N. Dell
National Chairman & Leader
Convention People’s Party

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History of the Gold Coast and Asante: Reindorf, Carl Christian. (1895) – A thematic review by Gyau Kumi Adu

(Reindorf, Carl Christian. History of the Gold Coast and Asante. 2nd Edition. Ghana University Press, 2007) A thematic review by Gyau Kumi Adu Email: (


 Have you ever thought why “history” is the mother of all knowledge? One reason is that it shows the level of progress of any body of knowledge or event, and the functions of a thing: whether it has been able to stay on course or stray off-course.

Reindorf puts it so beautifully, “A history is the methodical narration of events in the order in which they successively occurred exhibiting the origin and progress, the causes and effects, and the auxiliaries and tendencies of that which has occurred in connection with a nation. It is, as it were, the speculum and measure-tape of that nation, showing its true shape and stature. Hence a nation not possessing a history has no true representation of all the stages of its development, whether it is in a state of progress or in a state of retrogression.” Reindorf’s work is precisely that. That is, to show a true reflection of the state of affairs in Ghana, then Gold Coast, from the period 1500 to 1860, based on traditions and historical facts available during his day. Whether Ghana progressed during this period as a whole or not is left in the hand of the reader to decide. (By Gold Coast he refers to the southern states such as the Gas, Fantes, Anlos, Akuapem, Akwamu, and Akyem). However, he gives more attention to the Gas and Asantes. In the first place, writings of other ethnic groups were difficult to come across. Having in mind that Reindorf was a Ga, this book was supposed to be an initial work which shall be continued by people of other Ghanaian tribes.


The book covers a very wide scope such as tribal and inter-tribal politics and wars, economics, religious institutions, migration, social customs, agriculture and missionary work in the Gold Coast. In my opinion, Reindorf must be put on par with writers who wrote chronological accounts of their country such as Josephus – the Jewish Historian, and Tacitus – the Roman Historian, because of the quality and import of his writing.

I shall touch on the following themes in the book, blending it with some contemporary views:

  1. Migration and Settlement of Ghanaian Tribes (with particular interest to the Ga)
  2. Forms of Governments – “Fetishocracy” and “Monarchy”
  3. A Missionary Challenge of the Time, and its Sacrifice

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Concluding Observations: King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Lectures by Nii Armah Josiah-Aryeh


                                                            CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS

The future belongs to those who plan for it; the good plan takes account both of the present and the past. If we remember not the works and toils of our fathers we have no claim ourselves to be remembered in history, and if we recognize not the defects in the present we would not be stirred into improvement. Our goal is to build the best society there is for our progeny and their compatriots.

It is often said by our fathers that one ought to look back in order to look into the future; the path-maker does not notice the crookedness of the way he plots (gbe-dzelor enaa esee). We have in the foregoing Lectures cast a constant light on the institutions and traditions of our forefathers and discovered that there is a lot in what they created which might still be of benefit to us in today’s world. However, some might argue that the examination of the past is sterile if it does not yield lessons for the future. Therefore it seems appropriate that in concluding this series of Lectures we use the lessons of the past to light up the future.

It is emphasised that the various suggestions put forward here and the programmes advocated on their behalf embrace all peoples, Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian, within the Greater Accra and adjoining regions; they call for the building of social and other infrastructures on the basis of cultural commonality. They also call for equality of treatment of people in a manner that opens up opportunities and vistas for both indigenous peoples and those whose lot has brought them within the ambit of traditions developed by our forefathers; for as we say, ablekuma aba kuma wó (“may strangers be added unto us”). Social and economic failure affect all inhabitants of the region; concentrations of disadvantage need to be tackled irrespective of inhabitants. It is not sufficient to “fire-fight” social and economic problems after they have emerged and taken hold; it is much wiser to plan against their occurrence. Traditional functionaries and their advisors must have the political guts to initiate programmes, particularly for disadvantaged peoples.

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 The role of King Tackie Tawiah I: King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Lectures by Nii Armah Josiah-Aryeh


                                                      THE ROLE OF KING TACKIE TAWIAH I

To pull to pieces is, after all, the work of a child…our chief duty as Citizens is to build up our country, mould our nation, and help to effect the uprising of our race…In all circumstances of life – “Be wilde, Be bolde, and everywhere Be Bolde.”[1]

We come now to the high point of this series of lectures; the role of King Tackie Tawiah I in the modern history of Accra and the importance of his reign in the development of Ghana into a nation-state. Coinciding with the formal colonisation of the Gold Coast in 1874, King Tackie Tawiah’s reign usshered in a period of systematic institutionalisation of European concepts and systems in the motherland. Johannes Zimmermann’s translation of the Bible into the Gá language in 1865 and the earlier works of various missionaries, African and European, had already created the basis for the introduction of mass Christianity. The transfer of the capital to Accra in 1877 gave the Gá-Dangme a central role in the spread of colonial European ideas across the Gold Coast and beyond.

From the traditional perspective the emergence of King Tackie Kome I and victory at Katamanso had created a new militarism and surge of confidence, leading to various military campaigns in the Volta area. The reception of European ideas was therefore received by a Gá-Dangme at the height of its military prowess and ready to spearhead the propagation of such ideas. In many ways, the new era in Gá-Dangme affairs commenced with the divine ordination of Tackie Kome I; it continued steadily through the reigns of Nii Ofori Gakpo (Kpakpo) (1856-1859) and Nii Yaotey (1859-1862). In the person of King Tackie Tawiah they found yet another bold and fearless leader to lead the building of the new nation.

Tackie Tawiah’s fourty-year reign provided the basis for Gá-Dangme entry into the modern era. Widely recognised by both Europeans and Africans as King of the Accras, Ga Manche Tackie Tawiah was a fearless military general and wise leader. Like Caesar, Tackie Tawiah returned to Accra at the head of many a victorious military expedition. His reputation for bravery, invincibility and sagacity grew as he advanced in years, increasing the stature of the Gá-Dangme.

Born to the Ga royal family of Teiko Tsuru We at Kinka,[2] Tackie Tawiah (originally known as Nii Quarshie Tawiah) succeeded to the stool in 1862, shortly before colonisation of the Gold Coast. He was descended in a direct line from Ayi Kushi, the first Gá king in recorded history. Tackie Tawiah lived and reigned for some time under the Dutch flag. King Tackie Tawiah’s charisma, bravery and authority derived in no small way from psychosocial factors in Gá-Dangme society which ascribed to him the combined mystical force of the Gá royal households as well as the added spiritual authority of the Sakumo oracle. To the Gá-Dangme still enthralled by the extraordinary military exploits of Nii Tackie Kome I, the hallowed name and prestige of the deceased leader attached to his grandson. King Tackie Tawiah succeeded to his predecessors’ role as senior military leader of all the Gá, Dangme and Akan states of South-eastern Ghana.[3]

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The forging of new GaDangme Unity and the Katamanso War: King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Lectures by Nii Armah Josiah-Aryeh



To lead the Gá-Dangme you need the courage of Okaikoi and the sagacity of great high priests. It is a task in selflessness and courage. In all things be bold and fearless, seeking above all to ensure the security and happiness of the people. Like a good tree the strong nation requires continual pruning and reform. The good leader sleeps not for an hour, constantly seeking the interests of his people

In this Lecture we examine the factors that led to the emergence of the Gá-Dangme as major players in the political scene of the Gold Coast; look at the principal reasons for the Katamanso War. Accra started to emerge from its short eclipse; the short reign of Ofori Tibo saw the the re-stabilisation of Gá-Dangme politics.

The emergence of Tetteh Ahinakwa or Momotse and Okaidja as King of Accra and chief of Gbese respectively led to a reform movement which tried to cleanse the city of corruption and re-establish its politics on a sounder footing. Princes Tetteh Ahinakwa and Okaidja had been ransomed to the Dutch and had gained considerable Western education; they were therefore in a relatively good position to stand back from Gá society and objectively analyse its failures and difficulties. However, once they acceeded to office they lacked a reform party to carry out their reformist programme in the various Gá-Dangme quarters and towns. Attempts to involve the manbii or citizens were not entirely successful.

Attempts at reform were interrupted by periodic intervention in the affairs of their kinsmen at Anecho. Much of the royal treasure was lost during journeys to and from Anecho. Tetteh Ahinakwa took the Ga and Adanse stools with him on his expedition to Anecho where he died; Prince Teiko Tsuru, who had joined the king in his campaigns at Anecho and Krepe was in his old age made king, leaving the task of reform in the hands of Okaidja.[1]

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History of GaMashie to 1824: King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Lectures by Nii Armah Josiah-Aryeh


                      HISTORY OF THE GA MASHI TO 1824

The death of Okaikoi marked the end of the Ayawaso period; many Gá retired to Anecho or Little Popo (also known by the Gá as Tóng)[1] in present-day Togo, but the bulk of the population resettled or joined kinsmen along the coastal strip. At any rate, increasing trade with Europeans had rendered the coast or Little Accra more attractive than Ayawaso. Prince Ashangmo, the son of the king’s brother Okai Yái,[2] continued a long guerrilla campaign against the Akwamu, defeating and driving them to Fanti.[3] Eventually Ashangmo retired with all the Gá from Labadi down to Ningo to Little Popo.[4]

Thus, the death of Okaikoi marked the beginning of a long period of uncertainty in Gá-Dangme history. The period immediately following the death of Okaikoi has generally been assumed to be one in which Gá-Dangme power waned completely; however, a more critical assessment reveals the reversion of the Gá-Dangme states to the condition of principalities. Barbot, in his Letter 10[5] speaks of Accra, Labadi, Ningo, etc, emphasising that they were separate kingdoms.[6] Barbot further suggests that even within Accra, Jamestown was quite a separate political entity from Ussher Town: “The village of Soko (Jamestown) situated under this fortress is also much enlarged ever since, by a large number of families of the neighbouring village Little Acra, under the Dutch fort, who have settled at the former, after the devastations of the Aquamboes at the latter.”[7] This appears to cast doubt on the scale of the defeat suffered by the hands at the hands of the Akwamu; for as Barbot observed it was a mere village which was overrun by the Akwamu. On the other hand, as already observed the other Gá-Dangme towns has reverted to a state of independence.

Other writers seem to place heavy emphasis on the seizure of Christiansborg Castle by Asameni as evidence of Akwamu power in Accra, ignoring altogether the role of the Gá chiefs in planning and authorising the seizure. Asameni was merely an agent of the Gá king. In the words of Barbot:

“The Danish fort at Acra…was possessed by the Portugueses …the Danes redeemed it…and so possess’d it till the year 1693, when the Blacks surpriz’d it in the following manner, expelling the Danes and keeping possession of it for some time…This misfortune of the Danes was occasion’d by the death of several of their garrison, and they having done some insults to the king of Acra, that prince studied revenge, and observing the Danes had much confidence in one Assemmi, a Black who having a great interest in that country…he ingaged him to contrive how to surprize the fortress.”[8]

Asameni, son of an Akwamu man and Labadi woman, subsequently deceived the Danes into permitting him and a number of Accra and Akwamu men to enter the fort with the ostensible view to purchasing fire-arms. Having loaded the fire-arms Asameni and his men overcame the Danish soldiers and administrators. Afterwards “the king of Acra and the Blacks intirely stript it, and took a booty of above seven thousand pounds sterling: the fort was given over to the treacherous Assemmi who garrison’d it with his own Blacks…trading with all the European ships that came thither.”[9] This seizure of an European fort, often regarded as an isolated instance in Black Africa, appears to have been a re-play of the earlier destruction by the Gás of the Portuguese fort which existed in Accra between 1500 and 1578.[10]

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The Prophets and influence of Religion: King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Lectures by Nii Armah Josiah-Aryeh



This brief Lecture considers the influence of religion on Gá-Dangme society. As was shown in chapter Gá-Dangme society was originally a theocracy in which the fore-telling priests exercised enormous authority. Naturally, a number of prophets have in Gá-Dangme history come to be associated with important events; above all, considerable authority and sanctity came to be attached to the Word of the high priest or prophet. In this way, a number of distinguished prophets and high priests of forceful personality and high moral standing have acquired a special place in the social history of the Gá-Dangme. Boi Tono, Borketey Larweh, Lomoko, Ayitey Cobblah, Numo Ogbarmey, Numo Yaotey and Numo Tete form a unique line of prophets whose works and utterances may be said to constitute a veritable theology of Gá-Dangme religion.

Like their Old Testament counterparts, the Gá-Dangme prophets were concerned about the social and moral condition of their people; and sought to enforce a severe moral ethic as a way of ensuring religious purity based on the codes of Ayi Kushi. The slave trade, wars, famines and moral decay provided the background for the careers of the more remarkable priests. The human misery which attended the slave trade became a favourite theme for the religious hierarchy. Dealings at the local Salaga slave market (Akpee shika or “money galore”) so drew the ire of the of the predecessors of Numo Ayitey Cobblah that they took to regularly chastising the powerful slave merchants. Sakumo tsoshishi, Naiwe and Korlewe became places of refuge for freed slaves.[1] Once an escaped slave made his way to any of those sanctuaries he was considered to have completely regained his or her liberty and to have become a naturalised citizen.

Boi Tono had himself been concerned about the possible decadent effects of slavery on Gá-Dangme society; as a result, he increasingly admonished the political authorities to show more sympathy for the poor and the enslaved. On the whole Boi Tono successfully cautioned the Gá-Dangme against participation in the bloody wars through which slaves were procured. So highly was Boi Tono regarded that in 1734 the Dutch assumed that he was the king of Accra; indeed, the Amugiwe sub-house of the Gá ruling house is said to have been established by Boi Tono and his descendants.[2] He was said to have adverted by prayer a terrible famine that stalked the land shortly before his death, thus saving the Gá-Dangme from a scourge which had devastated the hinterland. Boi Tono also repeatedly appealed directly to individuals not to follow the iniquitous and murderous ways of foreign tribes, and to reject foreign gods. The reward for observing the commands of Ayi Kushi, he counselled, was prosperity for the individual and his descendants. Much of the exhortation of Boi Tono seemed to have been adumbrated by Borketey Larweh.

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