The controversy surrounding the installation of a substantive Ga Mantse reached another crescendo on Monday when the Ga Traditional Council (GTC) installed Kelvin Nii Tackie as the ruler of the Ga State.
Under the stool name NiiTaki Teiko Tsuru, he becomes the fifth Ga Mantse to be installed since the death of Nii Amugi II about 13 years ago.
The ceremony, which took place at the North-Kaneshie Palace of the Ga State yesterday, was conducted amid heavy police presence to maintain law and order.
Armed police personnel, led by the officer in charge of operations at the Accra Regional Police Command, Chief Superintendent Mr Kwesi Ofori, mounted their armoured cars and other police vehicles at strategic positions to avert any possible attack or clashes.
By his induction, Nii Tsuru also takes over as the President of the GTC from Nii Doodo Nsaki, the Otublohum Manste, who until then was the acting President of the council.
The historic event came off barely a week after another contender to the Ga Stool, Nii Tackie Adama Latse II, was inducted into the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs as the Ga Manste.
As early as 7 a.m., the palace of the Ga Mantse was already bustling with activities as youth groups, dignitaries and well-wishers gathered to witness the induction ceremony.
The atmosphere was charged as the youth and women groups sang, danced and chanted war songs, amid the firing of muskets, while the police positioned their armoured cars and other vehicles at strategic points in readiness to deal with troublemakers.
Most of the patrons at the event, who were mostly clad in white, were thrown into a jubilant mood after the Dzaasetse (kingmaker), Nii Tetteh Kwei, raised the hands of Nii Teiko Tsuru to signify that the spiritual embodiment of the Ga people had been entrusted into his hands.
Notable traditional rulers and sub-chiefs in the GTC, including the Principal Elder of the Ga Paramountcy, Nii Amui DeGraft Quaye, and Abola Mantse, Nii Ahele Nunoo, witnessed the induction rites.
Addressing the media shortly after the induction ceremony, Nii Tsuru described the processes leading to the induction of Nii Adama Latse into the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs as fraudulent and called for it to be reversed.
“We appeal to the authorities to reverse that process immediately because we have resolved that we are not afraid. Politics cannot be brought into our fold to destroy us because I have not been brought here by politics.
“What you see today is a resolve not just by the minority. It is a resolve by the people, a tribe and a nation. So this resolve shall not be disturbed, perturbed or threatened by any force.
“I am here to fulfil the mandate of my fathers and forefathers. Nobody will decide who becomes the Ga Mantse except the Ga Paramount Stool. What I want the public to understand this day is that we are not joking because the people of Accra have serious problems and so we need serious people to solve these problems,” he said.
Call on President
He called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to fulfil what he described as the social contract with the Ga people.
He said the government’s initiatives, such as the free senior high school (SHS), one-district, one-factory, and the Planting for Food and Jobs, were laudable policies that could transform the economy and called for emphasis to be placed on skills training to make them more meaningful.
Nii Tsuru said his focus would be to lead a process that would surmount all obstacles and make the Ga State a stronger force to reckon with in Africa by 2020.
He said it was pathetic that the Ga State was embroiled in series of chieftaincy disputes when its youth and people were plagued with illiteracy, poverty, diseases and other challenges.
He further said divisive tendencies would not be countenanced, especially when they were masterminded by political forces.
“We must not let little things divide us as a people. It is rather unfortunate that at this historic event I am not smiling because of the numerous challenges at hand. There is cholera that is attacking our people, our youth are wandering about with no education and you have people talking about a gazette that was acquired fraudulently
“The Ga child at Sempe, the Ga child at Asere, or that Ga child at Abola, the Ga child at Ga has a future with me because I am the Ga Mantse,” he declared.
The issue of who qualifies to be Ga Mantse has been a thorny one ever since the demise of Boni Nii Amugi II on December 10, 2004, with several people laying claim to the stool.
According to Ga State tradition, the kingship rotates among four royal houses, namely, Teiko Tsuru We, Amugi We, Abola Piam We and Tackie Kommey We.
It is generally acknowledged that it is the turn of the Abola Piam We to enstool a Ga Mantse.
Ever since Nii Amugi died and was buried in January 2007, the Ga State has been in turmoil over his successor.
The late king was enstooled in 1965 and remained king until his death on December 10, 2004 at the age of 65.
King Tawiah (June, 2006)
On June 11, 2006, King Tackie Tawiah, a royal from the Teiko Tsuru We, was installed as a Ga Mantse to succeed Nii Amugi II.
His installation was followed by a colourful coronation on April 14, 2007.
The coronation survived threats of mayhem and a court injunction after the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs had dismissed an ex parte motion for interim injunction by the acting Head of the Abola Piam We, Joseph Yahaya Addy, against the event.
But that was not the end of what became a running battle over the legitimacy of the great grandson of the famous King Tackie Tawiah I, as his installation sparked a wave of disapproval from some members of the royal household who described him as an illegitimate occupant of the stool.
Under the circumstances, some members of the opposing factions also nominated rival Ga Mantsemei, with the tall list including Nii Tackie Obli II, aka Henry Nii Ayitey Ayitey; Kelvin Nii Tackie and Nii Tackie Adama Latse II, aka George Tackie-Abia.
Some of the aggrieved persons subsequently dragged King Tackie Tawiah to the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, seeking to dethrone him, but his challengers did not succeed in their action, as he continued to occupy the throne until his death in London in 2013.
Nii Adama Latse (June 2011)
Nii Adama Latse was installed as Ga Mantse on Saturday, June 11, 2011 to succeed Nii Amugi II. At the time, his rival, King Tackie Tawiah, was alive and that made the number of occupants of the Ga Stool two.
Nii Latse was introduced to the people amid the firing of muskets, drumming and dancing.
The Ga Mantse Palace, which, until its seizure, was occupied by King Tackie Tawiah, was taken over on Friday, June 10, 2011 before Nii Tackie Adama Latse’s installation the following Sunday.
His enstoolment followed threats by the Gbese Mantse, Nii Ayi Bonte II, to enstool a new Ga Mantse by August 2011.
While the battle over his legitimacy traversed the law courts, on April 24, 2015 the National House of Chiefs gazetted him in the National Register of Chiefs as a paramount chief and Ga Mantse and successor to the late Ga Mantse, Nii Amugi II.
Dr Tackie Teiko Tsuru II (August 2015)
While many thought the dust had settled on the Ga chieftaincy issues, a new pot of controversy was opened.
On Sunday, August 2, 2015, Dr Tackie Teiko Tsuru was enstooled as Ga Mantse by the Dzasetse of the Ga State, Nii Tetteh Kwei II, and heads and elders of the Ga Paramount Stool.
The new chief has largely been out of the limelight, while his rival, Nii Adama Latse, was apparently recognised by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and even honoured with a visit from former President John Dramani Mahama.
Nii Tackie Oblie II
Another claimant to the Ga Stool, known in private life as Ayitey Canada, passed away last year.
He died in Accra on October 7, 2016 after he reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest.
Meanwhile, on June 16, last year, the Kumasi High Court dismissed an application for an order of mandamus and judicial review brought against the National House of Chiefs by Dr Nii Tetteh Kwei that contested the insertion of Nii Adama Latse as the Ga Mantse in its register.
The court held that the act of insertion by the National House of Chiefs was an administrative act, not a judicial one.
It further ruled that the name of King Adama Latse be maintained in the register as the Ga Mantse until the case pending before the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs was disposed of.