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HomeGeneral NewsUntil proven guilty; don’t crucify Wontumi – Journalist Writes

Until proven guilty; don’t crucify Wontumi – Journalist Writes

Being maverick, eccentric or worse enigmatic might work within the realms of popularity and fame. Refusing to draw the lines between that realm and the realm of respect for authority, albeit unintended, could however bring untold costs that you never wished for.

That appears to be the fate staring the face of the gentleman who calls himself the governor of the Ashanti Region; the Ashanti Regional CHIRMAN of the New Patriotic Party; Mr. Bernard Antwi Boasiako; affectionately Chairman Wontumi.

From what has been narrated; his unguarded outburst has landed him in straight collision with no mean other than the overlord of the Ashanti Kingdom, His Majesty the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and further raffled feathers of the hallowed Manhyia palace.

The characters in this whole drama are the Chairman who has now become the villain of the tragedy, the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South, Energy Minister and vice presidential hopeful Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh; the organizer of the New Patriotic Party Henry Nana Boakye who acted as chair of a parliamentary candidacy vetting committee; the chief of Kokoso Nana Kwaku Duah and the man who provoked the villain, Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan aka Abuba – the NPP Manhyia South constituency organizer.

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh a.k.a. NAPO who is now sleeping sound was the one to have been particularly paying attention to the work of a vetting committee he appeared before. But not so.

Whether planned, contrived or spontaneous, NAPO’s constituency organizer and loyalist Abuba had the temerity to walk to his Regional Party Chairman banging his table and accusing him of ingratitude. His concern: the chairman, Wontumi, did not shower praises on his candidate during the vetting of parliamentary candidate aspirants.

In an ill-advised voice note Wontumi Released after the confrontation; Wontumi confirmed threatening to beat Abuba mercilessly if he dared challenge him. He claimed to have had the full backing of the party’s National Organizer Henry Nana Boakye who insisted Abuba’s conduct amounted to insubordination.

Further blowing his trumpet to belittle his mutinying subordinate; Wontumi is reported to have boldly boasted that he owned his own kingdom in the Ashanti Kingdom; had his own security detail and possessed authority to challenge who ever challenged him including the overlord of the Ashanti Kingdom. This has been the account of the Kokoso Chief who is the Otumfuo’s Brempong.

Per the account of the Chief, Chairman Wontumi now stands accused of revolt against the hallowed King of Ashanti; a charge market queens and youth groups with royal blood and allegiance have not taken kindly to. The petition has been communicated strongly: they want the Ashanti Regional Chairman sacked and further banished from every palace or traditional ground of the Kingdom.

His plight is further worsened by the fact that this is happening in the stronghold of the governing New Patriotic Party in an election year. It mimics stirring the hornets’ nest around the fence of a powerful king whose word can dismantle the party. This implosion is one the New Patriotic Party will not desire to start.

Observing the fluidity of the stories which appears will not be dying a natural death any soon; a number of concerns about prematurely assigning guilt, unseen political interests and credibility testing is setting the pace for a trial of sacrifices.

Premature Injustice

Without any legal training; I understand that the name of the game of seeking justice is evidence. The burden of proof lay squarely on the accuser.

So far, it has been the word of the Kokoso Chief who was a member of that vetting panel against that of Wontumi who insists he said nothing disparaging against the Otumffuo.

All journalistic means and attempts at getting a tape or video footage to pin the Ashanti Regional chairman has been futile. The indication is that no one recorded the impasse.

Would it then be fair that the matter be judged and sanctions preferred by interest groups on the mere basis of hear-say from a chief?

The venerable Ashanti Youth and the Market Queens appear to be breaching the principle of fairness to natural justice; crucifying the Party Chairman on the altar of media interviews. A little patience for the competent judicial processes of the Manhyia palace and the NPP’s own disciplinary committee could have provided a better premise to inform the stance of these groups.

Credibility VRS Political Interests

Some have concluded that the word of the Chief who also stands at the Otumfuo’s Brempong cannot be taken lightly. It should however be noted that Nana Kwaku Duah was there in his capacity as a seasoned politician and a member of the New Patriotic Party.

Abuba insists the Chairman refused to shower praises on NAPO because Wontumi was lobbying for his Bosomtwe brother, Dr Osei Yaw Adutwum to be picked as vice presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party. Will it be fair to also assume that the Kokoso Chief has a political interest in another candidate that Wontumi might not be lobbying for?

Without seeking to challenge his credibility; it is germane to note that politicians have their own interests and leanings. Nana Kwaku Duah would have to prove he has shed off the political skin that is most likely than not decorated with natural motifs of ‘interest’.

Political interests can fuel all kinds of tendencies including exaggerating trivialities to discredit an opponent’s camp. Just as Wontumi’s alleged disparaging remarks could be true; the converse of Wontumi becoming a victim of a turf war of interests could as well hold water.

Finding the Evidence

If no recording were available to substantiate the claims against Wontumi; the best bet could be the accounts from persons who were present at the vetting. Abuba who caused the confrontation\ says till he left the premises, he did not hear Wontumi denigrate the Otumfuo.

The chairman of the Vetting Committee says he neither heard any such remarks being attributed to Chairman Wontumi. The Kokoso Chief however stands firmly by his assertions.

These issues can only be properly resolved if the traditional authority and the party’s own internal structures are convened jointly and/or severally to hear both sides of the accused and his accusers. Juxtaposing the accounts and that of witnesses could draw a clearer roadmap towards untying this complex knot.

Is Wontumi Capable

I have had course to question the advisors and handlers of the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party. Handling a matter this delicate, has been extremely sloppy and immature.

Just as he will quote Bible Verses copiously in his submissions; I will also refer Wontumi to 1 Samuel 25 where a wealthy Nabal decided to denigrate David; the anointed successor to the throne of Israel. Nabal’s wife Abigail and his servants described Nabal as a man of Follie who listened to no advice. He was consumed by his riches forgetting that the protection of David’s men of war had allowed him space to be wealthy.

Nabal knew the strength of David’s army and I really doubted he measured or even really meant what he was saying in his wildest imaginations. With his knowledge of the powers of the Otumfuo Asantehene; I doubt Wontumi would ever dare in his wildest imagination ever challenge the authority of His Majesty.

Like Nabal, Wontumi’s well known penchant for displaying opulence and flaunting golden ornaments and expensive jewelry is no news. With his taste for high priced cars, prime landed properties and estates; some Nabal tendencies might not be entirely absent.

In the rage of his heart and the entirely needless provocation of a subordinate in the full glare of his executives; any of such tendencies could easily manifest. Wontumi is not an angel. However, to consider the conditions precedent and to stretch the argument to mean Wontumi would dare the authority of the Otumfuo would be overly hyperbolic.

Anybody who has followed the public utterances of Wontumi would tell he can be sharp tongued. In the same vein, any sincere person who has honestly followed public engagements of the chairman can attest to the fact that he spares no moment to heave appellations of majesty and respect on the Otumfuo.

Trial of Sacrifices

Should any trial or herring be called; this is perhaps going to be one of the most interesting and perhaps ruthless adjudication proceedings on either sides of the political and traditional energies at play in this mix. There will surely be casualties who will go under the gavel of truths; half-truths; palpable insincerity and plain untruths depending on the direction of the majority.

Placing this on the turf of the court of public opinion which has already returned a verdict, further muddles the intricate puzzle. The slightest miscalculation could leave the NPP exposed to the plunder of the opposition National Democratic Congress who will spare nothing to get into bed with the Ashanti Region.

Could any witness tell the truth to sacrifice a party chairman as wealthy and influential as Wontumi at the expense of an election and the advantage of the arsenals of the opposition? Indeed the opposition is staring with hawk’s eyes looking for which side to take the biggest pound of flesh from the spoils.

Finding witnesses will not be difficult. In Chairman Wontumi’s own widely circulated ill-advised voice note, he mentions names of other vetting panel members who were at the scene. I am certain they will also be able to mention who else was at the vetting center.

In the end the biggest incursion will be the one who can be easily sacrificed without any serious damages to the electioneering machinery of the New Patriotic Party. Puupuuing rosy relationships to clutch political power is the least sacrifice a political party eyeing power would do.

Chairman Wontumi, the regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party in its strong hold; a financiered for the party. The man who can reverse narratives in Kumawu and take on the opposition like minced meat. The avowed loyalist of the NPP’s flag bearer Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. The ‘breaking the eight movement’ man.

A seasoned and long standing member of the New Patriotic Party; served in several critical positions for government and party; has a stake in the Manhyia palace as a Sub Chief of the Ashanti Kingdom; has commandeered a number of strategic party operations in the Ashanti Region against the opposition.

The end game is a sacrifice of one of the two with Election 2024 in sight.

Charity Begins From Home

If Wontumi’s creed is insubordination against the Asantehene; then charity begins from home. Proper organizational culture would expect the direct sanctioning of the Manhyia South Constituency Organizer Alhaji Abubakar Alhassan aka Abuba.

In no properly structured organization governed by rules, a hierarchy and chains of command will such an act be tolerated. The axe must fall squarely on Aboba for his unwarranted attack on the Regional Chairman.

Unless the party stated in black and white that praise singing was part of the mandate of the vetting committee; His demand for the Regional Chairman to have showered praises on NAPO comes across as misplaced. If Mr. Aboba and NAPO were so thirsty for such accolades; I believe the duo have enough avenues to satisfy their fantasies. Not at a forum as serious as a vetting whose product has a hundred percent probability of becoming a Member of Ghana’s Parliament on the ticket of the NPP.

Plead for Magnanimity

The Chairman Wontumi is clearly in an extremely tight corner; a place I conceive he never meant to stroll towards.

David in the Nabal story found course to consider the plea of Abigail; Nabal’s wife and Nabal’s servants and spared him. Should David had ridden down there with his 400 armed men, Nabal and all his household including Abigail and the servants would have been completely wiped out.

Should the full force of Manhyia be visited on Wontumi; not only him but his entire NPP household will be deeply hit. Very interestingly, Wuntumi’s Abigail and Servants who should help him out are threatening hell forgetting Wontumi will not go down alone.

In the end David praises Abigail for helping him put things in proper perspective and not embarking on a needless massacre. I believe the Otumfuo will tamper justice with mercy and allow this to slide.

1 Samuel 25: 32 – 35

32 ¶ And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:

33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.

34 For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person. Heathcote – Fumador.



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