The sharing of this truthful fact told me by my deceased father is not only to make Ghanaians aware of the behaviour of the Ashantis (Akans) but also, how the late former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings saved many Akans from unnecessary untimely deaths and untold hardships.
I shall be brief. My father once said to me, “When you are taken ill as a father, the prayer of your child is, please God, heal my father of his sickness so that if he lives and eats, he can also provide me food to eat. However, your nephew’s prayer is always, uncle should die so that I can inherit him”.
The above statement was an undeniable fact among the Akans, especially the Ashantis. They never hesitated to throw out the wives and children from a deceased father or husband’s house as soon as he passes away.
This devilish attitude of the Akan was only to be mitigated by Rawlings enacting a law as regards intestate inheritance in 1985 in what is PNDC Law 111. By this law, wives and children are no longer chased out like eye-sore strangers from their conjugal homes but are allowed a fair share of the deceased man’s estate.
The following part must be noted with keen interest. When my father was sick, from which illness he never recovered but proceeded into his grave, his oldest nephew was alleged to have been overheard make a comforting statement to his wife. He said to the wife, “Look, my uncle’s Kumawu storey building, Kumasi building and all his cocoa farms shall become mine when he passes on so don’t worry. We shall soon be enjoying. We shall move onto the first floor to occupy his apartment and will be living a much better life”.
Yes, my father liked him for being an intelligent and wise nephew. He kept him very close and entrusted him with certain things and documents. However, the nephew was only to be confronted with his worst nightmare when my father died and his will was read. My father had appointed his only younger male sibling among his other four female siblings as the one to inherit him, bequeathing to him the lion’s share of his properties with only one storeroom in his Kumawu building given to his nephew.
Did my father believe in, and stick to the Akan’s tradition of “Niwaa mma nsaye a, wofase nni ade”, thus, “unless your siblings are all dead, you cannot be inherited by your nephew”? It looks like. From the way his will was made to the disbelief of his nephew, my father wanted the pattern of the Akan tradition to follow but with a slight modification through the making of a will where other people were given a share of his properties.
Anyway, if it had not been for the fact that “had I known is always at last” and “there’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face”, it would have been preferable for my father’s nephew to have inherited him to having his brother.
Since my father died about 39 years ago, his massive Kumawu storey building has not seen a pint of paint. The building is in a state of dilapidation. The broken windows of the ground floor building are replaced with iron sheets (completely sealed off with iron sheets) while the window panes of the first floor are either replaced with sawn plywood or left broken as they are. All his cocoa farms are left to ruin without his brother taking care of them let alone, adding anything to what my father left him.
His nephew who is now deceased would surely have managed things much better.
I have only to bow down in shame when Kumawu people confront my father’s children with the question, what are you doing about your father’s house, seeing it falling into pieces? I have only to throw up my hands in the air and ask, what do you expect me to do?
I shall explain my “what do you expect me to do”, in a future article.
Truly, if you fail to get a serious person to inherit you when you pass away, your legacy stands to be obliterated.
Tuesday, 23 March 2021
Rockson Adofo, © 2021
The author has 2234 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: RocksonAdofo