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Gbi Traditional Area Is Not A Monarchy: Cephas Bansah Is Not Our Ruler.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

By Togbega Gabusu VI, Traditional Head, Gbi Traditional Area
Togbega Gabusu VI: Traditional Head,
Gbi Traditional Area (Hohoe & ten other towns)
In response to publications by the Daily Mail (UK), Independent (UK), New York Post, the German press & other media organizations.

The attention of the chiefs and queens of the Gbi Traditional Area in the Volta Region of Ghana has been drawn to a publication by the Daily Mail, UK, stating that we have a king who governs us via Skype from Germany. I, Gabusu VI, the traditional head of Gbi Traditional Area, am announcing to the world and in particular, the media organizations behind these careless and dangerous publications, that the claims are not true. 

Gbis have no monarch who rules them from any foreign country. T  he idea itself is not possible in a modern world, and educated men and women of your caliber should know better, if you were to do your work according to the principles of your profession, which calls for thorough investigation of your subjects.

The Name Gbi: I will pause to point out some important distinctions with regard to the name “Gbi” before I proceed to discuss the subject of concern. The Gbi community consists of two sister groups, traditionally known as Gbi Dzigbe and Gbi Anyigbe: Uphill Gbi and Downhill Gbi respectively. Gbi Dzigbe is loosely referred to as Hohoe, the name of its capital town. Gbi Anyigbe goes by the name Peki. It is also worth noting that Hohoe is often used in reference to the Hohoe Municipal Area which consists of nearly 20 independent communities, including Gbi Dzigbe. Officially, Gbi Dzigbe is known as Gbi Traditional area, and Peki is known as Peki Traditional Area. The title for the highest traditional authority in Gbi Traditional Area is “Gabusu” – officially referred to as Togbega Gabusu. The title for the highest traditional authority in Peki Traditional Area is “Kwadzo Dei,” officially referred to as Togbe Kwadzo Dei or Deiga Kwadzo Dei. The current traditional head of Gbi Dzigbe is Togbega Gabusu VI.

Clarifications regarding Cephas Bansah’s position in the Gbi Traditional Area
Cephas Kosi Bansah, a native of Gbi, was installed as a development chief of Hohoe, the capital town of Gbi Traditional Area, in 1987, under the title, Ngoryifia Cephas Kosi Bansah, which literally means “Development Chief Cephas Kosi Bansah.” This remains his status in his hometown of Hohoe.

To qualify for the highest traditional position in Gbi Traditional Area, one must hail paternally from one of three gates: KadrekeAdom and Asamani. Cephas Bansah does not hail paternally from any of these gates.

Incorrect Claims & The Facts

CLAIM:
The UK Daily Mail refers to Gbi as a kingdom of 300,000 people. The Daily Mail writes: Bansah’s “kingdom, Gbi in Eastern Ghana on the border of Togo, consists of 300,000 Ewe people.” A year earlier, the Independent had stated 200,000 as the population for the same area.
FACT:
There are no Ewe kingdoms in Ghana. The Ewe tribes in Ghana abolished Kingdoms about four hundred years ago with reasons directly connected to their experience under King Agokoli of Togo, whose kingdom they fled from. Consequently, every Ewe traditional area has one traditional head: the “fiaga,” also referred to as the paramount chief – the highest traditional authority. Gabusu VI is the current occupant of the highest traditional seat in Gbi Traditional area.

The Population of Gbi Traditional Area is under 60,000, according to the most recent census; not 300,000 as stated by the UK Daily Mail. Gbi Traditional Area is part of Hohoe Municipal Area, which consists of about 20 other independent communities. The population of the entire municipality, according to the most recent census, is under 200,000. It is therefore not possible for one area within this municipality to have a population of 300,000.

CLAIM:
Both the UK Daily Mail and the Independent newspapers state that Bansah inherited his position following the death of his grandfather “the reigning king,” when his father and oldest brother were deemed unfit to occupy the stool because they were left-handed. The Daily Mail goes on to emphasize: “This meant that C├ęphas was his grandfather's successor, and the new king.”

FACT:
Bansah did not inherit his position as Ngoryifia because his grandfather never was a King of the Gbi Traditional Area; neither did his grandfather ever reign in any capacity as a traditional ruler. The Ngoryifia position is an honorary one granted Bansah and others in the same standing as him.

The Title Ngoryifia, equivalent to Nkosuohene/Nkosuohemaa among Akans, literally means development chief/queen. Development chiefs/queens are not traditional rulers, so they are installed, not enstooled. The position is an honorary one bestowed on people thought of as respectable and believed to be capable of helping bring development to an area – be them citizens or non citizens, irrespective of race or religion – and can be revoked.

To Inherit A Gbi Traditional Stool: One has to be nominated, accepted, smeared with white clay from a black stool, kept in confinement for a number of days and finally enstooled, in accordance with Gbi customs. Development chiefs and queens do not go through these rites and their status is not statutory as contained in Ghana’s Chieftaincy Act 759.
The customs described above equally apply to males and females.

CLAIM:
The Independent Newspaper states: “King Bansah” often stays up late into the night to rule on tribal disputes.

FACT:
There are no tribal disputes in Hohoe because Gbi is a single tribe and Hohoe is a Gbi divisional town.

NOTE: As you may have noticed, I have focused my response on the media and called out those directly involved in misinforming the world on this subject. This is because anyone can tell a journalist anything, but it is the responsibility of the reporter to check thoroughly, get informed on the subject through multiple sources and write a report that aims at reflecting the facts accurately – bearing in mind always that his or her responsibility is to inform and educate the public. As of the time of this release, no journalist or media organization behind these careless publications has contacted anyone or authority in the Gbi Traditional Area to investigate the information they’ve been spreading. They must desist from this irresponsible behavior in their efforts to sell stories and do the right thing.
Finally, I wish to make it clear that everything I have stated in this release and every concern I have expressed, I have done as Gabusu VI on behalf of the Gbi Traditional Area only. I do not speak for other Ewe groups mentioned in the said publications. The Gbi Traditional Area is not going back to practice what our ancestors abolished centuries ago. The responsibility lies on individual groups to set the records concerning their towns straight.

Thank you for your attention
Togbega Gabusu VI
Traditional Head / Paramount Chief

Gbi Traditional Area

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