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Why the British named kings in Ghana paramount chiefs, the advent of stools and the word enstoolment

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Speaking in a One Ghana TV interview Oheneba Ntim-Barimah said that the word paramount chief does not exist in any dictionary in the world and was manufactured by the British to undermine the authority of kings they came to meet in Ghana, during the colonial era.

According to him, all the traditional rulers in Ghana are all kings but have mistakenly accepted being called chiefs and paramount chiefs, titles which were forced on them by the British.

The chief made these remarks while reacting to an assertion by the Dormaahene, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu II, that there are no kings in Ghana.

He said that the Dormaahene, himself, is a king and not a paramount chief as he asserts but he (the Dormaahene) and the other ‘paramount chiefs’ have ‘sadly’ accepted that they are not kings.

“He, himself is a king but he does not know that he is one. As the British were colonising states, they didn’t want the leaders of these states to be referred to as kings or queens like their monarchs.

“So, they created the term paramount chief so that we would not call our monarchs kings. All our traditional rulers are kings, they are not chiefs or paramount chiefs. The word paramount means having the greatest importance or significance… it has nothing to do with chiefs. The word paramount chief does not exist,” he said in Twi.

He added “Now let me read what a renowned scholar wrote: ‘Paramount chief is the English Language designation for the highest-level political leader in a regional or local polity or country administered politically with the chief-based system. Paramount chief was a former title created by the British colonial administrators in the British Empire and applied in British colonies in Africa”.

He reiterated that the British used the term ‘paramount chief’ as a substitute for the word king so that nobody else except their monarch would be referred to as a king in their colonies.

Oheneba Ntim-Barimah also said that the British used the word stool as the seat of kings in the Gold Coast to demean the power of the monarchy they came to meet.

“The seat of any monarch is referred to as a throne and not a stool. What makes me sad the most is the reference to the seat of our traditional rulers as stools, it is a big disgrace… They intentionally used the word stool, which their king put their feet on while on their throne, as the seat of our rulers to show that their monarch has the authority over ours.”

“Enstoolment is not a word. It is not in any dictionary in the world, it does not exist. If a king is being put in power, it is called enthronement, not enstoolment,” he added.

Watch Oheneba Ntim-Barimah’s remarks in the video below (from 33:00):

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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