Africa: 300-yr old British-Dutch struggle inherited by two Dixcove chiefs
Two paramount chiefs in Dixcove in the Ahanta West district of the Western region, have been wrangling over who has the right to install another chief in the disputed Tourome area.
Dixcove, a name part of the colonial relic so woven into Ghana’s socio-cultural fabric, is a coastal town named after Fort Dixcove built in 1683 by the British.
The British transferred the Fort to the Dutch in 1868 and later four years later it was transferred back to the British in 1872.
This power rift between the British and the Dutch over the control of towns split several communities into Upper and Lower areas. Axim, Sekondi and Komenda all have Upper and Lower areas.
And this split continues to play out more than 300 years after it started even though the two colonial powers are far gone from the scene. In Dixcove, the British controlled the Upper, the Dutch controlled the Lower.
Divided, there is the Upper Dixcove where Obrempon Hima Dekyi is now paramount chief 336 years after the fort was built.
Down below him is the Lower Dixcove where Nana Kwesi Agyeman IX is also paramount chief.
It is the ownership of Turome, a land area along the coast which fuelled the kidnapping of the Lower Dixcove paramount chief Nana Kwasi Agyeman IX by a group allegedly on the instructions of Upper Dixcove paramount chief, Obrempon Hima Dekyi.
The incident last Sunday, happened after the Lower Dixcove chief installed a chief for Turome.
JoyNews Western regional correspondent, Inna-Thali Quansah, has explained that three months ago, an enstoolment of a chief for the same area by the Upper Dixcove traditional authority, was disrupted by persons linked to the Lower Dixcove area.
The installation by Lower Dixcove is seen as an opportunity for Upper Dixcove to revenge the disturbances.
Their captors Monday dawn, forcibly broke into the palace of the Lower Dixcove chief Nana Kwesi Agyeman and his subjects, damaged some items there including the transformer in the community, resulting in a total blackout in the area. They were later rescued by police officers from the Western Region.
Smashed cars of the kidnapped chief and lacerations inflicted with sharp machetes on four of his subjects, remain evidence of the attack.
The Western Regional House of Chiefs has condemned the violence and the police say they have arrested four persons believed to have broken into the palace.
It is the Upper Dixcove chief who has not been arrested. While police investigate the dawn violence, what does not need any investigation is who controls the Turome area.
A Sekondi High court decision on July 3, 1980 and an October 2001 judgment give traditional control of Turome to Upper Dixcove.
A July 20, 2016, District Security Council meeting also records that the Lower Dixcove paramount chief Nana Kwasi Agyemany IX admitted that Turome is not for his paramountcy.