“Africa, a continent who’s future is always rooted in its past” Brent Sadler, CNN, a description which might stereotypically describe the Ashanti-Bono saga in Ghana now, even when the whole of the continent unites to detest generally the portrayal of Africa in western media.
In my opinion, history is painful but it does not distract us, if we are lucky it becomes our foundation. What the people of Bono owe the Asantehene is allegiance; the Bonos indicative of their utterances want to say they have finished paying, will not pay any longer or cannot pay anymore to the Asantehene. If this had happened way back during the days of history, it would have meant preparedness for war and yes to war to buy freedom or to enforce dominion.
In truth, the Asantehene wants to remind the Bonos of their status as part of an Asante Imperial Empire and the Bonos want establish that their status as part of an empire is defunct by time and modernity.
History and Sociology between these two people will not provide any basis for understanding the motives of either side than this simple truth; to be or not to be part, the Asante Empire.
Who is an Asante? If we appreciate the elements which make an Asante, we will end this saga here and now. So the question, how does one qualify to be an Asante, by lineage or by allegiance?
As Akans, ancestry is traced by blood and no more, allegiance is owed by the vanquished and even, so by certain agreements or war, the vanquished can win back their sovereignty.
Can the Bonos win back their sovereignty, or pay off their allegiance, are the Asantes prepared to dent their pride?
This is the same as happening in Northern Ireland, in fact if it pleases the English, there are times when they will want o consider the usage of England or Great Britain or United Kingdom. Shamelessly we can recall times when the Asantes have been proud to count in all states under the kingdom and also times that they have had to differentiate “adehye” from “enkoa” – citizens from subjects.
There might be ways undiplomatic having been used by the Tekyimanhene to make his case but from modern examples, as in the disintegration of the USSR, the Balkan Sovereignty Wars and Eritrea, modern day struggle for sovereignty and identity is a struggle encompassing all things including diplomacy. The challenge is an onus on the Asantehene to embrace modernity and accept that the Bonos are a people in a want to close a chapter of history and open a new one as equal partners in a modern society called Ghana.
There are attempts from certain quarters, media and academia inclusive playing silliness with the truth and frantically pushing an agenda, “everyday bucket a go well, one day bottom a de bucket a drop out”
The academia and media are in a better position to reason into truth and posterity to call the two parties to order, they have embarrassingly failed and are rather fuelling the saga. In the instance of the Media, they are as worse as their last performance; “teacher Atta schools a class of aggrandized journalists at the Osu Castle”.
The Academia; during Ghana at Fifty when all sides of our body politique were laying different claims to the story of Ghana’s freedom, none could emphatically shut up any politically party and establish an academic truth. In fact some of the protagonists of the colouring of the independent truth were learned men, in this wise, we do not expect or want their role in solving the Asante-Bono problem – they (media and academia) have sold out. Which tutelage and which estate of the realm shall uphold the Ghanaian cultural and historical truth and disseminate it throughout time?
There are my kinds with scruples who share in the ideal that indeed if the “Tekyiman Hene” acted non-chiefly, the Asantehene with a self perception as the mightier could have delayed his reaction till forever. Also there are others who in good faith now are looking for what is beyond the Asantehene apart from his council of elders. If his glory as sometimes described by some Asantes outshine any authority in Ghana, can anything or anyone non-Asante calibrate his utterances and actions against what or who?
Truth; the Asantes are great, history corroborates, the Bonos are a people with their own Bono identity, history did not assimilate them into being Asantes. The hold Asantehene has over the Bonos is allegiance, what the Bonos can choose to give or not to give to the Asantehene is allegiance.
The Bonos have chosen not give it,now modernity frowns on war and imperialism . Let the Asantes enjoy the history of their might and let the Bonos also enjoy the idea of freedom. “Every civilization that has ever existed has also collapsed” – Sadam Hussein’s comments on 9/11.
I propose a grand occasion of all paramount chiefs in Ghana at which the Asantehene and the Tekyiman Hene will smoke the peace pipe and recognize each other as development partners in Ghana.
Ghana first, then all things tribal and ethnic.