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The Ashanti King who loved war more than anything else – Asantehene Nana Kofi Kakari



Nana Kakari, felt he had to restore the past glory of the Ashanti Kingdom after they were earlier defeated in the Katamanso war against the British.

The Ashantis were said to have suffered a great defeat under the rulership of Nana Yaw Osei Akoto, whose ‘negligence’, led to the then destruction of the kingdom.

This was contained in the submissions of a historian, Mr. Anokye Frimpong, who gave a brief account of the successive kings of the Ashanti Kingdom in a discussion on the GTV breakfast show.

“The Ashantis lost all their states serving them. They lost all the castle deeds which enabled them to collect tributes from the white people. Also, Ashantis had to seek permission before they could trade with other states and it was a very bitter pill to swallow. The next king, Kwaku Duah I, brought in diplomacy and that didn’t help much,” he stated the extent to which the Ashanti land was destroyed.

Mr. Frimpong added that Nana Karikari’s obsession about fighting to restore the Ashanti land, knew no bounds.

He asserted that Santehene Nana Karikari even formed alliance with the Anlos who helped him with ‘map readings’ on some of his expeditions.

“There was a King called Kofi Karkari. The moment he appeared on the scene, he felt he had to restore the past glory of the Ashanti kingdom so he started fighting. He went to the volta region and made friends with the people of Anlo and they became his map readers. When he was heading towards Dahome. Then he fought the Fantes too. In fact, he was able to defeat all the states again,” Mr. Frimpong further noted.

However, his refusal to fight one crucial battle led to the kingdom suffering another catastrophic defeat and he was dethroned in the process.

“In 1872, the British passed a law that Ashantis have to be totally destroyed because they felt they were not helping the British trade in the Gold Coast. So, their finest general at that time who had succeeded a lot in New Zealand and India, Sir Garnet Wasley was brought into a famous battle in Kumasi. At that time most of the Ashantis were down here in the coast. He defeated Ashanti and burnt down Kumasi including their palace at Pampaso. They were also asked to pay 50,000 ounces of Gold.

“Kofi KariKari was also set to be de-stooled. One of the reasons was because he had this perception that why should kings be buried with gold when others are hungry? So, he desecrated the museum and gave the gold to the poor,” Mr. Anokye said.

Although his refusal to participate in that particular war was highly condemned at that time, it was eventually celebrated because his decision was intended to avoid the escalation of war.

Nana Karikari reigned from May 28, 1867 until his forced abdication on October 26, 1874.

A gold head which was owned by him and represented him, was among the objects recovered from the royal mausoleum of Kumasi by the British expedition in the 1880s and which is now in the Wallace Collection in London .

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