THE STORY OF AHAFO
KNOW THE ORIGIN OF TOWNS
By: KWAME MPENE
(Founder of the Guan Historical Society)
In 1730, the vast stretch of land situated between the rivers Tano and Bio was uninhabited, there were no major roads, expect rough tracks and footpaths and a few waterways.
The story goes that while Asantehene Opoku Ware 1 (1730-1742) was with his army down south just to punish the Akyem for killing his predecessor on the River Prah, a group of Aowin dissidents under the leadership of Anasema had taken refuge in the neighbourhood of Brong Takyiman. When they got wind of his absence, Anasema dispatched his son, Ebirimoto, with some followers to Kumasi to cause mischief
They ransacked Kumasi, committed bloody barbarities on the residents, looted the royal mausoleum and killed the Queen-mother, Nyako, and all members of the royal family, except two-one of them was Nana Akua Afriyie. Again, they took some women and children captives, and escaped through the uninhabited forest heading towards Sehwi. (Vide: “Western Asante Provincial Record Book” 1924—1928).
In the pandemonium that endured, some Asante Chiefs reportedly rose up, mustered courage and chased Ebirimoro. The Chiefs were Nkwawiehene Asamoa Boadi, Akwaboahene Agyei Panyin and Hiahene Kra Domisi. They chased Ebirimoro as far as Shehwi where they were joined by the Ahweam contingent, because the Wiawso warriors had accompanied the Asantehene on his campaign. When the King heard the terrible news while at the battlefield, he dispatched the Bantamahene Amankwa ha with instructions to capture Ebirimoro dead or alive. Amankwa Tia arrived before Ebirimoro could cross the River Prah. The joint military pressure intensified the veritable manhunt and carried into effect a more thorough blockade of the river and managed to capture the enemy alive, recovering all the prisoners that had been taken.
The monster, described as pathologically dangerous, was escorted to Kumasi where he was promptly executed for that sadistic behavior but for all the carriage Kumasi had not been brought to its knees.
After the tragedy, it was felt that there was urgent need to establish outposts at some vantage points across the length and breadth of the dense forest to prevent future encroachment by intrepid marauders. The three courageous chiefs, whose support the Asantehene desperately needed, were instructed to establish the outposts, and the camps they established development into villages.
Under Akwaboahene: Mmem, Goaso, Ntoroso, Kenyase, Hwidiem, Nkasaem and Akyerensua.
Under Hiahene: Siekyemu (Kukuom), Fanuyeden, Awiaso, Akrodie and Dadesoabaa.
Under Nkawiehene: Nobenko, Anweam, Kwapon, Sankori, Abuom, Kwaku Nuama and Asafufu.
The enterprising chiefs proceeded to create Wing Chiefs and Sub-chiefs to supervise the constant flow of migrants who came to collect snails, cola-nuts and establish farms. The chiefs could now secure their hold on the previously unstable area. The king urged them to volunteer information on migrant-settlers with suspicious characters to him so that he could investigate the background of such people. Thus, strategy and surveillance became the legitimate weapon.
The degree of co-operation from the chiefs and people had been unprecedented which signified that even under the most horrible circumstances, even in sorrow. Kumasi would the happy hunting ground for the king — a customary obligation that fell to the lot of hunters who had been permitted to penetrate the area. Following the fertility of the soil, which is an important factor in cultivation that more aspirant migrant farmers took to cultivation of cash crops?
There was abundant supply of meat, cash crops, snails, mushroom, colanut — to give but a few examples — everybody expressed the joy that “there is plenty to eat”. It was from this saying that the region derived the name, “EHA-YE-FO” i.e. AHAFO.
The Spectator Page: 31 Saturday, September 25, 2010