In 1635, a young Prince was made king of the Ga people of Ghana. His father, King Manpɔng Okai was assassinated in 1610. He was then too young to ascend the throne, so his mother, an Obutu Princess Dode Akaibi became the regent. She was also assassinated in 1635, and Okaikoi was made the substantive King.
Okaikoi was not only a warrior king like David but also a wise one like Solomon. One of the greatest nation-builders, constitutional reformers, and political strategists ever, he made good reforms to unite the state after a hellish time between his mom and leaders of the akulanshi (arms of government).
Until Okaikoi, the king controlled the military and the priesthood. A woman could not enter the Gbatsu (the Temple) because of menstruation. Dode fought this. The priesthood and the military ran the administration of justice, (it is so even today) but the monarch had a veto power in exceptional cases. Queen Dode interfered so much that the exception became the norm. So what did Okaikoi do?
Okaikoi relinquished his priesthood hat and gave full authority to the Chief Priest also known as Nae Wulɔmɔ. He only acted in the absence of Nae since he held the original sovereignty (it is so even today). The most outstanding change was not the priesthood stuff but something that had not been done before.
Okakoi created MOJAWE (House of Blood – Moja is blood in Twi and We is house in Ga) as the Supreme Court of the Ga Jaku (federation). What is so special about the creation of Mojawe? Wait, kaaa rushi!
Who would be the judges of this court? How were the judges appointed? This was the master stroke!
Okaikoi created the AKWAASHƆN (Twi Eku Esɔn or group of 7) – the Supreme Military Council (you know where Kutu got his SMC from) from the military commanders (SHIPII) of the 7 chieftains of Ga. He then made the Akwaashɔn, judges of Mojawe. He did not only relinquish his direct control over the military, but he also gave up his veto power over administration of justice. This guy was uneducated.
Every Ga chieftain appointed its own Shipi – the King had no role in the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court– the truest independent judiciary. This happened 239years before Britain colonised south of the Pra and 2 generations before Asante and Akyem became independent kingdoms.
Asere being the largest chieftain in the kingdom, its Shipi was made the Akwaashɔntse – the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief Justice of Ga. This refers to the Kpakpatse We of Asere (the Quarteys and Kpakpafios or Papafios). It is so even today.
By these reforms he satisfied both the priesthood and the restless military. This made the kingdom less febrile even if temporarily. Anyway, it was the same generals who betrayed him to Akwamu. So, you can imagine how long he would have lasted without those revolutionary changes. He would have been killed just like his parents.
I wondered why he used a lot of Twi words, then I remembered it was the same guy who knowing the numerical weakness of Ga made the Ga immigration policy of ABLEKUMA – assimilation of foreigners ni wɔyi afa. It was a good policy to use some of your neighbours’ words to make them feel welcomed.
The uneducated King was so well-informed he knew that for justice to be dispensed properly, it was not good enough that the SC judges were not appointed by the King, but also the number of judges could not be altered. He capped it at 7. What happened when schooled people wrote our constitution?
This is the pre-med for my response to the Judicial Service aka Jokers Squad that linked well-informed to ‘’education’’ and the need for a stricter application of a certain law to gag the savage majority and protect the Saltless Court. Uneducated Okaikoi was wiser than all these jokers from 1957 put together.
If the Ga monarchy had not been that hopelessly dysfunctional, Mojawe should have been a World Heritage site by now, and these functional illiterates would have known that uneducated people were administering justice long before the white man came with his useless wigs. Buului asane.
Tswa omanye aba.
Written by Nii Amu Darko, President — ARM