While traditional rulers have always played significant roles in Ghana’s history, some of these men and women leaders have either not had their stories properly told or documented.
From Nana Yaa Asantewaa, Togbe Tsali, Okomfo Anokye and many more others, stories of these great leaders have over the years been given varying interpretations and depictions.
Today in GhanaWeb’s history class, we zoom in on the story of Awulae Kaku Ackah I, who was once a famous chief of the Nzema land.
According to a post shared by LELYA Images on Facebook, Awulae Kaku Ackah I’s journey first started when he ruled the Nzema Kingdom in the 1840s and climaxed at the time of the signing of the Bond of 1844 between the British and Coastal Chiefs.
The once great Nzema chief is said to be one who sought to unify Nzema land but had his plans ruined with the coming of the Europeans and partitioning of Africa.
In his quest to unite his people and create a formidable Nzema land, Kaku Ackah decided to garner support and execute his plans. Among some of his strategies was to annex a portion of the Aynin land which was situated in then Gold Coast and under the French colony.
With a well-coordinated plan, the Nzema King sought to compensate the loss of Nzema land in Ivory Coast after he was said to have beheaded the King of Anyin.
Through other means, he sought to unify his people and created a formidable kingdom where the people of Nzema were under the umbrella of Benynin.
Word of this formidable Nzema kingdom quickly spread and this troubled the George MacLean leadership in the then Gold Coast.
The British governor at the time decided to hatch a plan which sought to thwart Kaku Ackah’s regime which many Europeans, coming into the Gold Coast, could not withstand.
With a strict ruling module, Kaku Ackah quickly fenced the Nzema land within Gold Coast with an able army to defend the land and its people.
But in 1843, George MacLean’s leadership was outlawed by the British government and a new governor, Commander Hill was posted to the Gold Coast and given a brief on Kaku Ackah’s regime.
The new Commander, just a year after assuming the post, persuaded all nine coastal kingdoms to sign the Bond of 1844 – one which Awule Kaku Ackah and his Nzema land refused to sign as he would not allow foreigners to dictate to him.
The other eight states which included, Denkyira, Anomabo and others seemed to have betrayed the famous King and signed the infamous Bond of 1844 even after he [Awulae Kaku Ackah] cautioned them not to sign.
Little did they know they had innocently waived off their rights, lands, people and possessions to the British and Europeans.
While all this went on, Kaku Ackah remained unperturbed but sensed danger.
After the 1844 bond, the British hacked a plan to silence the famous chief of Nzema land by spreading falsehood about him “engaging in slave trade against his own people” due to his bold refusal to sign the Bond.
Upon this, Kaku Ackah was said to have transferred the capital town to Adoa Ne Bo, also known as Atoabo, in order to avoid any conflict and interference from the British.
But betrayal will once again follow him to Atoabo where one of his subjects named Ebanyele, was planted as a spy by the British and reported of the King’s daily activities.
After a while, Awulae Kaku Ackah was ordered to be arrested but he fled to North of Nzema land as a form of self-imposed exile after his faithful subjects and elders were now comprised and silenced by the British.
More falsehood quickly spread about the King to a point where his own people said nothing good about him. In his absence, the Nzema land was shared among the British and other signees of the Bond.
Nzema land which was once a formidable kingdom quickly become disintegrated and shortly after this, King Awulae Kaku Ackah was later captured and sent to prison in 1845 where he later died in exile at the Cape Coast castle.
Myth or Reality
Some indigenes of the Nzemaland sharing their knowledge about King Kaku Ackah, told GhanaWeb about the belief that the king was not human and could turn into an animal anytime he wanted
According to them, the man wielded a lot of mysterious powers which was believed to come from a hat he always wore.
During a war between Nzemaland and the British, King Kaku’s army was defeated and he was the last man standing but the only way the British could overcome him was to take off his hat.
He tried to escape but upon getting to a village called Sanwoma which means ‘only air’, his hat was blown away by the wind and that was when he was captured.