13 March 2019
Ayawaso, a city on the hill and by virtue of that geographical position, a city that cannot be hidden, was the seat of government of the Ga Commonwealth, and not a country by itself aas many have thought.
The territory of the commonwealth stretched from Awutu/Obutu in the west to Tema in the east and its variable influence stretched as far as Ada in the far east.
Though Kpone to Ada were not under political Ayawaso, there’s no doubt these Dangme towns were spiritually and militarily in tandem with Ga. According to AA Amartey, judicially, Mojawe served as the Supreme Court up to Ada. Culturally, Kpone, Gbugbla and Ningo celebrated Homowo and not Asafotu.
How was this commonwealth built? Wise leadership and nothing else, is critical for nation building.
Armaah Amartey opined in Omanye Aba that by 1483, King Ayi Kushi had moved (ekpla) Ga Mashi to Ayawaso.
Stride and Ifeka in Peoples & Empires of West Africa agreed with the late 15th century beginning of political and military centralization of Ga, but Ammah put these changes to the beginning of the 16th century, around 1510.
Ayite, the son of Ayi Kushi and the 2nd Monarch started the expansion of Ayawaso, a process completed by Nikoi Olai, the 3rd King by 1585. Mampɔŋ Okai the 4th King (1585 – 1610) was in effect the 1st Monarch to reign over the full commonwealth.
He was like Solomon ruling over a consolidated and secure Israel.
Most agree that Ga-Dangme migrated to Ghana as early as the 13th century, but Amartey writing on Ayawaso said ‘’Niimɛi ni etra Ga Sɛi lɛ nɔ kɛjɛ Nii Ayi Kushi nɔ nɛ. Dani ebashɛ Ayi Kushi nɔ lɛ anako ale’’ to wit, ‘’Kings that sat on the Ga throne from King Ayi Kushi are these.’’
Who preceded Ayi Kushi is not known.’’ If anyone tells you he knows, he is a liar. Bɔkete Lawɛ belonged to the 17th century. That makes his position very clear.
There is no record that Ga Mashi conquered the other Ga towns to form Ayawaso. It was all through negotiations and common cause of relevance – what each stood to gain from the commonwealth. All of Ga submitted voluntarily to the authority of Ga Mashi, and Ga Mantsɛ in turn gave them protection and autonomy.
This is the more reason why we must resist any revisionism that threatens this tidy ancient arrangement.
It must be noted that, in the lead up to the collapse of Ayawaso in 1680, both Anokye and King Tutu were living in Akwamu, then a neighbour of Ga. Is it possible that the federal nature of Ga Jaku influenced the confederation of Asante? Both Ga Jaku and Asanteman were built on 5 principal states.
Mind you, the Ga -Akwamu war was said to have started because Okaikoi circumcised Akwamu prince Odei, who was understudying him. Yes, Ga teaching Akwamu about their chieftaincy system was highly probable.
Akulashiŋ is columns or pillars of support. In governance, it means those who carry the state on their heads – the key organs of state or the arms of government.
1st – Executive – Ga Mantsɛ (President) and his deputy Ga Mankralo (Prime Minister).
2nd – Judicio-military – Akwaashɔŋtsɛ (Chief Justice & Chief of Defence Staff) and his Akwaashɔŋ (panel of judges & commanders).
3rd – Religion – Nai Wulɔmɔ and his associate wulɔmɛi.
4th – Electoral Commission – Jaasetsɛ (Electoral Commissioner) and his Jaase (commissioners).
5th – Civil Service – a. Woleiatsɛ (Chief Fisherman) b. Okwashoiatsɛ (Chief Farmer).
These positions were genetic, that is inherited within families. But there was one non-genetic position.
Shikitele – a corruption of Secretary. This was the Chief of Staff of Ga Mantsɛ.
A non-royal elected by maŋbii or citizens from 2 or 3 very intelligent and respected commoners. Yes, you read right – meritocracy and elections were here before the white man came to our shores.
There was no dedicated Parliament. All these officers plus the King’s own appointed advisers, advised the King. These constitutional changes took two generations 60-70years to mature and I have no doubt that if British colonialism hadn’t occurred a Parliament of commoners would have eventuated.
FYI, Mojawe, the Supreme Court was banned by the colonial government in 1910, but the people ignored the ban and continued to rely on it for another 15 years before the ‘’great Court’’ folded up.
The beauty of Ga akulashiŋ was that, none of the other 4 columns was appointed by Ga Mantsɛ. They were thoroughly independent. In fact, even the Mankralo was not appointed by the Mantsɛ.
What do we have in Ghana today? After 62 years of independence, what akulashiŋ have we built? All we do is fight over who founded this Ghana. Who wants to be a founder of such a failing state?
Despite unrelenting political interference, self-mutilation (by Gamei) and epileptic seizures occasioned by a rapidly failing state, the Ga akulashiŋ structures remain.
After independence, our elected Redeemer completely obliterated the akulashiŋ the British bequeathed us, and the head of state, became the State. We are yet to recover.
This is what has become of Okaikoi and Anokye’s Ghana.
How do we recover? Come back Okaikoi, Come back Anokye. Afremocracy here I come.
Tswa omanye aba.