THE RETURN OF NANA PREMPEH I (THE KING)
FROM THE SEYCHELLES
Nana Prempeh landed at the shores of Takoradi on Tuesday , 11th of November , 1924. With him included the following :
1. Akua Moobe – Bantama. 2. Lucy Prempeh
3. Ernest Prempeh. 4. Robert Prempeh
5. Alice Prempeh. 6. Victoria Prempeh
7. Amma Kwahan – Mfensi. 8. Akosua Akyaa – ”
9. Samuel Prempeh – Kumase. 10. David Prempeh – Mfensi
11. Amma Serwaa – 12. Yaa Yennow – Kumase
13. Victor A . Badu. 14. Peter E A. Baidoo – ”
15. Elizabeth Baidoo – “. 16. Stephen A. Baidoo – ”
17. Yaa Akuade – 18. Paul A. Boaten – ”
19. Jersey Baidoo – “. 20. George K. Boaten – ”
21. Henry Boaten – “. 22. Smith Boaten – ”
23. William Boaten – “. 24. Thomas Boaten – Kumase
25. Regina A. Boaten – “. 26. Josephine Kuffour – ”
27. Sara Nkwantabisa – Akorkerri. 28. Frederick Nkwantabisa – ”
29. Hilda Appia – Offinso. 30. Josephine Appia – ”
31. Lucy Appia – “. 32. Louise Appia – ”
33. Williamine Appia – “. 34. Evelyn Appia – ”
35. Fredric Appia – “. 36. William Appia – ”
37. Samuel Appia – “. 38. Robert Appia – ”
39. Akranyame -“. 40. George B. Asibe – Fomena
41. Aurellie A .F . Asibe -“. 42. Aurellie Asibe – ”
43. Davidson Asibe – “. 44. George A. Asibe – ”
45. Elizabeth Asibe – ”
From Takoradi , the King and his people travelled by train to Kumase on Wednesday , 12th November, 1924. This was the time when there was an epidemic in Asante, so the government ordered that there should be no grand durbar for him. Despite the warning , Asantes from all parts of the state came in their numbers to meet their King. To avoid a great multitude of people of meeting him at the railway station , the train carrying him a nod his people had to stop two miles to the city, where he was given a car in which he rode to the city. Even here he was met by jubilant crowd, all in white to signify jubilation and victory. Though the government specifically told him and the Asante Kingdom that he was coming back as a private citizen, according to Asante custom, he had to give account of his adventure to his people. The following was his story to the Amanhene , chiefs, Elders and people of Asante who came to meet him.
This is a history to Nana Prempeh,the King,s adventure during his 30 years captivity , namely, Elmina , Sierra Leone and Seychelles.
To: Amanhene , Chiefs , Elders and People of Asante
1. This is to inform and announce to you all today the most important adventures during the last 30 years of my captivity . Firstly , as you all know , I was sent to Elmina Castle together with my followers namely, Queen Yaa Akyaa , Kwame Appia ( Mamponghene), Chiefs, Kwadwo Appia, Kofi Afrane , Agyakoom , Kwame Amankwatia , Asafo Boakye , Kwame Subri , Agyeman Badu(my brother) , Kwasi Gyambibi ( my father) , chiefs, Boakye Attonsa , Akorku , Kwaku Wusu, (Women), Ama Kwahen , Abena Kwadua , Akosua Kyem , Adwoa Kutoapoa and Dwaben Serwa , ( Children) – Kwasi Gyambibi , Kofi Mensa ,Kwaku Dua and Osei , ( Servants), Tontoe , Yaw Soadwa , Yaw Boaten , Akyampontia , Kwaku Afiriyie , Yeboa , Yaw Antwi , Kofi Osei , Kwame Otten, Yaw Bampoe , Yaw Dabre , Kwaku Fokuo , Batafuogya Kakyire, Nuboa, Kwaku Dua , Yaw Sraha , Akyanou , Yaw Bempe , Amponsa , Yaw Dankwa , Kwame Adu and Boaten.
2. In the Castle , we stayed for a year during this time some efforts were made by the Asantes represented by the Chiefs Kwame Boaten and Kwaku Fokuo for my repatriation which resulted in vain and further ensued the arrest of the Boaten and Kwaku Fokuo , to join me in the Castle. At Elimina we lost one Amponsa, the chief treasure of Bantamahene.
3. For embankment to Sierra Leone, 3 women and 18 servants were ordered to return to Kumase and one chief died, and so there remained 13 Chiefs , 2 Women , 6 Servants and 1 Child. Whilst leaving for Sierra Leone , 2 chiefs, that is Kwame Boaten and Kwaku Fokuo also came . 11 Women were sent from Kumase together with 3 Children and 5 Servants , making total of 15 Chiefs , 13 Women , 4 Children and 11 Servants to leave for Sierra Leone.
4. At Sierra Leone, 12 persons came to join from Kumase, 10 lkiiiuui mmm,,,,persons were also sent back to Kumase. On that very day I was leaving for Sierra Leone , chief Agyakoom died.
5. At Sierra Leone , I remained for 3 years and 10 months.
6. A week before removal from Sierra Leone to Seychelles , Asibe ( Kokofuhene ) was sent to join me but before he came the governor himself came to ask whether I could accept him and I willingly agreed. One Akuoko who was unable to take the voyage through illness was left at Seirra Leone . I reached Seychelles on 11th September, 1900; that is 24years and 3 months . From Sierra Leone to Seychelles I was with 14 chiefs , 14 women , 13 children and 12 servants.
7. One year after our arrival at Seychelles , Yaa Asantewaa a nod other chiefs were also deported to Seychelles. Yaa Asantewaa,s gang consisted of 15 chiefs, 2 women and 4 servants. These were also given under my care by the government . We all put together and formed one opinion in all matters concerning our common interest . On arrival at Seychelles there were 53 persons and 21 more with Yaa Asantewaa , a total of 74. On 29th May 1904 , myself and the gang were baptised by Rev. Johnson. 17 years ago, 34 persons including men , women , and children were sent back from Seychelles to Kumase. It remained therefore 40 persons there.
8. Several years ago , 7 persons immigrated. One son from Asibe escaped from his father,s house . 5 years ago, 35 persons that is the family of the late chief Boaten and the last gang of Yaa Asantewaa came to Kumase. From that I see that if to be taken from in number , I have returned the total amount of people in surplus . In November, 1923 , 7 persons went to Kumase that is Asibe and his family . In 1924, I came with 64 persons and still remaining in Seychelles and Mauritius studying clergy of which 6 are natives of Seychelles married to my followers , and 58 Asantes . I am pleased to tell you that omitting those who are dead, both old and young , I have returned to Kumase the amount of people taken and I have go 64 persons in surplus which I brought with me to Kumase.
9. 55 persons interred or buried in foreign countries that is 1 at Elmina, 6 at Sierra Leone and 49 at Seychelles.
10. You will also be pleased to hear that during these long 30 years that I have been away , myself and followers had always been carefully looked after by the government . We were given allowances for our maintenance , quarters, water supply and medical treatment again the training of our children and free privileges.
11. The following is the list of Queen Yaa Kyaa, chiefs and followers who died at Seychelles arranged according to periods of deaths.
1. Chief Kwaku Fokuo 17/9/1900 — 24yrs . 3 months
2. Chief Kofi Subri 11/3/1901 — 21yrs . 9 months
3. Chief Asamoa Kwami 17/8/1903 — 20yrs . 4 months
4. Chief Kwasi Gyambibi 1/8/1903 — 20yrs . 3 months
5. Chief Kofi Kuma 20/1/1904 — 19yrs . 10 months
6. Chief Kwadwo Antwi 17/3/1906 — 18yrs . 10 months
7. Chief Boakye Atonsa 26/12/1906 — 18yrs
8. Chief Kwami Afrifa 10/ 3/1907 — 17yrs . 7 months
9. Chief Kwami Amankwatia 14/7/1907 — 17yrs . 2 months
10. Chief Kwasi Adari 12/3/1008 — 16yrs . 9 months
11. Chief Kwaku Nantwi 17/6/1908 — 16yrs . 5 months
12. Chief Kwadwo Antwi Agyei 31/7/1908 — 16yrs . 2 months
13. Chief Kwaku Nsia 30/6/1911 — 14yrs
14. Chief Kwami Appia 27/10/1911 — 13yrs . 7 months
15. Chief Osei Kwadwo Kramo 28/9/1913 — 11yrs
16. Chief Kofi Afrani 4/11/ 1915 — 8yrs . 10 months
17. Queen Mother Elizabeth Yaa Akyaa 2/9/ 1917 — 8yrs . 10 months
18. Chief Albert Agyeman Badu 28/9/1917 — 8yrs . 9 months 2days
19. Chief Henry Kwami Boaten 19/11/1918 — 7yrs . 8 months
20. Chief Kofi Edu 5/3/ 1921 — 7yrs . 7 months
21. Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa 5/10/1921 — 4yrs
22. Chief Kwadwo Appia 4/7/ 1922 — 2yrs . 11 months
23. Chief Kwami Gyansa 4/ 5/ 1923 — 2yrs . 7 months
24. Chief Kofi Fofie Died on the sea when voyaging back to Kumase.
12. When chief dies , the government always took measures to repatriate his wife and children to Kumase. There was one woman called Afua Fofie, wife to Nkwantabisa of Adanse , one of my chiefs, who got lost and every measures was taken for her search but result in vain.
13. The graves of all deceased were purchased by us and notwithstanding 4 years after the death of the Queen , we all subscribed and purchased a large plot of ground ,where a vault was built . In the vault we placed the remaining of all our deceased that is those bodies which have got five years and upwards and not below five years. For the present there is still remain 10 respective bodies which are awaiting five years exhumation. But before my leaving Seychelles , I took all necessary precaution in order that the graves will never get lost till one day you will give me your assistance to send one to Seychelles to exhume them and place in the Vault . After the death of Yaa Asantewaa , the remaining chiefs who went with her made a separate petition to be repatriated and they were allowed , and year after their repatriation , Asibe also petitioned stating that he was included in Yaa Asantewaa,s war so he was thus allowed to come here.
14. A year after Asibe,s repatriation , I learnt with great pleasure that though your combined efforts , i am allowed to return to my country , for which I thank you most heartily. The Government sent the Provincial commissioner , Mr A. Duncan Johnstone to meet me at Seychelles to escort me to Kumase. During the voyage I have had the best treatment and chance to see novels of the world. In the sight of the Government , Nana Prempeh ( the King) was a private citizen , but in the sight of the Asantes , he was their King who had been exiled for twenty eight years and had returned to his land. It was the renewal of Asante unity. Nana Prempeh returned to Asante soil as a changed person . He returned as a Christian and a literate person. He moved among the people as a private citizen and did not interfere in the politics of his state. However , his return marked the beginning of the birth of the second Confederacy. The Confederacy which was conceived when Governor Hodgson demanded for the Golden Stool, the Confederacy which was about to be born when Seniagya and his group stole ornaments from the Golden Stool . In all these times, Asantes chiefs used to meet with Mamponghene acting as the head of Asante Confederacy .
In 1926 the chief and the people of Kumase state petitioned the government to reinstate Nana Prempeh as their paramount chief. This request was granted , therefore , he was made the King of Kumase state. However according to Asante custom , the chief of Kumase state was the occupant of the Golden Stool, and the occupant of the Golden Stool was the King of Asante Kingdom. Therefore Nana Prempeh,s ascendancy of Kumase stool meant that he had again regained his position as Asantehene( king of Asante). In reality Kings are enstooled by their subjects . They are also destooled by their subjects . Therefore, if and outside power which did not enstool a King , destooled him , then the King could not be said to be destooled , because he was not the King over outside power but King over the people who made him King. This was the point of argument in the case of Nana Prempeh was was deposed by and outside power over which he was not the King.
Nana Prempeh,s last days as paramount chief of Kumase was with difference. This time he did not rule like an autocrat. Democracy was the order of the day . He was greatly helped by his nephew , Mr E .P . Owusu and his Asante Kotoko Society . According to oral tradition , Mr E.P . Owusu who later became Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II used to have discussions with his uncle Nana Prempeh and also planned the development of the state with him. In their discussions , Nana Prempeh used to tell his nephew the experience he gained while in exile and this guided them tin governing the state. When Nana Prempeh was called to eternity in 1931 , the people unanimously elected Mr. E. P. Owusu as his successor.
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