Akan Institute

Governance

A more modern
form of Governance

Modern governments were preceded by a more ancient form of governance, instituted by Afrikans. It is believed Europeans inherited their political institutions from the Greeks. It is also believed that Europeans originated modern forms of governance, which is a false narrative.

Much of the hierarchical form of governance used by most countries like corporations in the world today, is the same political structure, used in every Akan State. Afrikans were the first to institute governance. Afrikaans were the first to develop into nation-states.

Ohene, the paramount king. From here comes the more modern form, president. A king will always have an inner circle of elders, who are experienced in various fields for advice. This inner circle of elders in modern terms will be the ministers. The king along with his elders form the Judiciary,  the Executive and also the lawmakers. These became the three branches of government in modern governance. 

A more modern form of governance. This form of governance was not only confined to the King's palaces as such but also in every household of the common people. In Akan culture, every household is headed by the Abusua Payini (the head of the family). This, in most cases, will be the oldest person and in the family. This individual must be matured in words and in deeds. Abusua Payini is more or less your president and along with other elders in the family,(ministers), they help resolve every issue pertaining to the family, or any issue pertaining to individual family members. 

They also help resolve issues among warring families in the community. They are your first port of call for any family related issue. Abusua Payini serves as the president with the other elders in the family serving as the ministers. If the Abusua Payini and the elders cannot resolve an issue, there will be a referral to the Ohene presiding over that village or town.  A more modern form of governance,  prevalent even, in our family units.

A King Will Always Have an Okyeame

The notion of governance was instituted by Afrikans and was never instituted by the British.  The very notion of vessel states did not also escape our cultures. These Kings will also have vessel states that pay homage and pledge allegiance to them, and a king will always have an Okyeame. Okyeame, a linguist, an orator, a person skilled in the use of words, the Okyeame mediates between the Ɔhene (king) and anyone who wishes to have an audience, and from here comes the notion of public relation officer or communications officer.

A King Will Also Seek the Counsel of Abrewa

In the Ahenfie, the palace, in Akan societies, the king and his elders preside over judicial matters, and before the king makes his final pronouncement and judgement, the King has to pay a visit to Abrewa. Abrewa, an old woman, often the queen-mother. The king has to seek the counsel of Abrewa before final judgment. Abrewa is always absent from proceedings and does not have prior knowledge of matters at hand. The Abrewa is therefore always impartial in her judgement and assessment of the matter at hand. This idea of Lady Justice, certainly from the idea of Abrewa, who better to seek counsel than the very old, wise woman, who birthed a generation?

Afrikan and Indigenous Cultures Were all Communal

Communism like all forms of governance was first established by Afrikan and indigenous cultures. What is communism? Communism is simply communal living, and communal living was the way of life for Afrikans and indigenous cultures around the world. People live in small communities and for each other.

Afrikan like most if not all indigenous cultures were community-based, governed by a set of laws set to maintain peace and social cohesion among the people, and in a communist society, everything is based on equity. Ideals and principles such as the needs of the community come first before the needs of an individual. Community-based where each member of the community worked to advance the course of not an individual or a private enterprise but the community and the people as a whole. The interest of the community comes first. Ownership of land and everything on that land belongs to the community rather than to an individual. It is these principles prevalent in Afrikan and indigenous cultures that became the bedrock of modern communism

Land, the most important asset, to any society or Afrikan people or any indigenous culture for that matter, and everything on it belongs not to the individual, but rather to the community and people as a whole. The land has been acquired by those before you, and it is your duty to cater, for it, for those yet to come.

The people, those of working age, apaafo, as we will call them in the Akan language, work in tandem in various sectors, serving the community farming, building, in artisan ships, and in all areas of activity to serve the community and the people as a whole. The people are the means of production. These are the true origins of communism.

A communal way of living, first instituted and established by Afrikan and indigenous cultures around the world. It is an age-old system of living, where the people solely depended not only on themselves but on the natural environment for food, shelter, tools and many other necessities in life. Communism today is often credited to Karl Marx theorising and these communistic ideals and principles. Communal living however has been the way of life for Afrikan and indigenous cultures since time memorial. Karl Marx certainly did not theorise these communistic ideals. The communists were remnants of indigenous cultures around the world who were seeking to maintain their ancestral ways of life.

Image of people in Saigon

Remnants of indigenous cultures around the world who were seeking to maintain their ancestral ways of life. Saigon,Vietnam

Capitalism, Opposite of Communism

Capitalism is the negation of communist ideals. In communal or communist societies such as  Afrikan and indigenous societies, where ownership is community-based, in a capitalist society, ownership is private and individual-based.  You work for your own interest rather than that of the community.

Capitalism was developed in view of communism, or the communal living of Afrikans and other indigenous cultures around the world. Capitalism negates the very principles of communal living. Not only does Capitalism negate Afrikan principles and way of life but also is a poor interpretation of our Afrikan or Akan ideals and principles.

One of the main beliefs we hold as a people, every man, which is to say, every family (extended family), is responsible for their own life. You are solely responsible for providing for your family, food, house, and all basic necessities humans need to survive.  This is not the role or function of any higher authority such as kings, chiefs. This is not the role of any president, minister or any individual yielding political power. This is your very own responsibility as a human to cater for your own needs. This is your basic human right. This is your basic natural right. Your basic universal right. Food, shelter, freedom of movement, access to land and everything nature freely provide. 

As a result of this, every family or household is entitled to have a piece of land, well, two pieces of land. One land to build a home, another to build a farm to feed yourself. This is certainly the picture if you go to our villages. In our villages, every household has its own farm where they get food to feed themselves. Land like food is a natural right, a universal right no one should uphold from you. 

One school of thought in a capitalist frame view is the idea of an open market and everyone has an equal right to success. Everyone is entitled to the same piece of the pie but unlike  Afrikan cultures, not everyone has access to the same opportunity or resources to compete in a capitalist society.  In Akan societies, however, every household is entitled to a piece of land, two pieces of land, one to build a home, one to build a farm. There is equity, everyone starts from the same base and builds up.

A Dynastic Rule Will
Never Vanish Without a Trace

"Men Are Kings But Dynasties Are Built on the Shoulders of Women"

What is a dynastic rule and how are they formed? A dynastic rule begins with one family on a piece of land. Like all forms of government, they were first instituted by the original cultures of the world. A dynastic rule begins, when a man and his family find a piece of suitable land. They then build a settlement. Over time, a different family comes along who also view the land as suitable for habitation, if they are good of character, they will ask for permission to settle on that land. Certainly, permission will be granted by the original people or family. Both families settle and with time, they begin to exchange ideas, food, items, sharing the night together, telling stories.
 
As time goes on, these two families expand and more other families come along, following the same process, asking for permission to settle, and permission is granted. This family of two become three, then five, then ten and over time these collections of families, have developed into a community. As the community grows, so does the need for social structure and organisation.

Mmra or community laws will be enacted. Roles and responsibilities are given out and for who is going to be the leader or head of that community, the responsibility will be accorded to the First People, the First Family. The First Family who founded and built a settlement and also granted permission for all others to settle will be selected as the leaders of that community, the head of that community, the rulers of that community. This is exactly how dynastic rules are built. This is how Afrikans built and maintained dynasties. This community grows to become an Oman, which means nation. Afrikans were true, the first to develop into nation-states.

For as long as that family lives and is free of any outside intrusion or invasion, their leadership and rule of that community will reign and be recognised by all those that bore witness.  They will be considered, builders of that society or nation or civilisation. Building a dynasty is one thing, maintaining a dynasty is another. To maintain a dynastic rule,  you need to be of A Seed of the Woman from the original family. Men are kings but dynasties are built on the shoulders of women and these women are what Akanfo will call, Obaahemaa or the Queen Mother.

The Queen Mother rules alongside the King and every King has to come through the lineage of the presiding Queen Mother, she carries on the lineage of the original people or family. This true and just form of governance is the same in nature, with male lions and female lions. The genetic code is carried on by female lions, they always will remain in the same clan or pride that they are born, whilst male lions move on to form a pride on their own. It is the same with ants, the queen ant is the most important in any ants colony, it is the same with hyenas, with female hyenas being the most important and also the head. 

Obaahemaa, in Akan culture, has the responsibility of nominating candidates suitable for the role as a King and it is her responsibility also, to choose the King. Important, is the role of a Queen Mother, that children of a King(s) are not the direct heir to the throne. All Kings ascend to the throne through the Queen Mother. All Kings are nominated and chosen by the Queen Mother. A Queen Mother stays on and rules till death, and after that, a new Queen Mother from that same ruling family is appointed. The Queen Mother is therefore the most important figure especially in times of war, conquest or invasion, her protection is paramount to the rule of any King and therefore all measures must be made to ensure Her safety. Her demise means the end of that dynasty.

This is exactly how the ancient Egyptians (who are Afrikans) built their dynastic rule that lasted for thousands upon thousands of years. To be a Seed of the Woman, also means that no person outside of that family can lay claim to the throne and any rule from an outsider is therefore invalid.Today, Europeans like Egyptologists presents Ptolemaic rulers, as legitimate rulers of Egypt which, they can’t possibly be, because you must be the seed of the woman, the first Queen-mother. A direct descendant and none of these Ptolemaic rulers is and therefore their rule is invalid but somehow, Europeans and Egyptologists, portray these Ptolemaic rulers as legitimate rulers of ancient Egypt.