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Okaija’s Wish Granted   
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HIGH Court 2 in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, presided over by Jacob Boon, has granted Nii Okaija III’s application to be part of the Gbese Mantse chieftaincy matter, which is currently before the court.

The presiding judge ordered that Nii Okaija III was eligible to be an interested party in a case where Nii Ayi Bonte is contesting the National House of Chief’s decision to remove his (Bonte’s) name from the register of chiefs.

Nii Ayi Bonte’s name was struck from the national register of chiefs by the National House of Chiefs in July, this year, following a court order, based on application filed by Nii Okaija III, who claims to be the proper Gbese Mantse.

Nii Ayi Bonte, not satisfied with the decision, brought an application for certiorari to quash the order of the National House of Chiefs, so that his name would be reinstated in the register of chiefs.

Nii Ayi Bonte’s certiorari application was however, against only the National House of Chiefs. He left out Nii Okaija III, upon whose application in court the National House of Chiefs struck his name from the register of chiefs.

Nii Ayi Bonte, by his application of certiorari, only prayed the court to quash the National House of Chiefs’ decision so that he would have his name reinstated.

But Nii Okaija III, led by his counsel, Ayikoi Otoo, also filed a motion for joinder in the case. And after thoroughly assessing the matter, the High Court Judge, granted that indeed, Nii Okaija III could join the case as an interested party.

The court, during its sitting on Friday, established that Nii Ayi Bonte’s legal team had not complied with order 55 which deals with certiorari applications hence its (court’s) decision to order that Nii Okaija III join the case.

The judge further stated that the case must take its normal course. Nii Ayi Bonte was in the packed-to-capacity court in Kumasi during the sitting.

In October 2006, Nii Okaija lll was enstooled Gbese Mantse by the accredited elders of the Gbese Stool, following many years of a vacuum after the demise of Nii Ayitey Agbofu.

Nii Okaija subsequently swore the oath of allegiance to the then sitting Ga Mantse, King Tackie Tawiah lll, at a ceremony at Amuginaa, Accra, taking his seat thereafter at the Ga Traditional Council.

In August 2007, Mr. Thomas Okine, a former CEO of Hearts of Oak, came into the scene as Gbese Mantse under the stool name, Nii Ayibonte ll, based on a court ruling by the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs at Dodowa.

He claimes that the 2003 judgement mandates a certain Nii Tetteh Ahinakwa to enstool a Gbese Mantse, hence his enstoolment as the rightful Gbese Mantse. He thereafter forcefully annexed the Gbese Mantse’s Palace and refused to vacate, irrespective of orders by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Ofosu Quartey, and has since held himself out as the substantive Chief of Gbese, despite many contempt cases filed against him and restraining orders.

He announced openly during the Odadao festival in 2011 that he, in his capacity as Gbese Mantse, was going to enstool a Ga Mantse after the Homowo festivities, although there was a sitting Ga Mantse in office.

This led to the controversial installation of Nii Adama Latse ll, which brought a lot of confusion to the Ga State.

Nii Okaija lll, through his counsel, challenged the 2003 ruling of the GARHC that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction on that Gbese Chieftaincy matter because Gbese was a division of the Ga Stool and had no Paramountcy status hence, the ruling was null and void.

On 16 January, 2014, the Supreme Court, in a 5-0 unanimous decision, quashed the 2003 ruling of the GARHC. Not satisfied by the decision of the Supreme Court, Nii Ayibonte’s counsel, W.A.N. Adumoa Bossmann, applied for a judicial review.

On Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, the SC affirmed its earlier stance with a 7-0 decision unanimously.

Nii Ayibonte had earlier on compelled the National House of Chiefs per a mandamus order to have his name inserted in their register.

Source: I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi/D-Guide

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