Thursday, 18 April

New Juaben elders remove 'offensive' Oheneba Yao Boateng statue

The statue

The New Juaben Traditional Council in the Eastern Region has destroyed a statue of Oheneba Yao Boateng erected in the town.

According to the council, the statue was removed because it was erected without the authorisation of Omanhene Daasebre Professor Oti Boateng and the Council.

A statement issued by the Council signed by its Registrar, Maxwell Asante on Wednesday, 24 March 2021, said: "At its meeting held at the Omanhene’s Palace, Koforidua, on 19th March 2021, the New Juaben Traditional Council decided to remove the statue of Oheneba Yao Boateng, placed at the main round-about from the Omanhene’s Palace, for the following reasons: 

1. The statue was erected without the authority of the Omanhene and the Traditional Council. This is considered as gross disrespect to the Omanhene, the occupant of the Yiadom-Hwedie Stool and Overlord of the New Juaben Traditional Area as well as the Traditional Council.

2. Oheneba Yao Boateng, who is not a royal from the Yiadom-Hwedie Royal Stool derives his status as Oheneba from his father, Nana Kwaku Boateng I, who reigned as Omanhene of New Juaben from 1913 to 1930.

3. One would have expected the children of Oheneba Yao Boateng, who erected the statue, to exercise due diligence and circumspection by first considering their grandfather, Nana Kwaku Boateng I, for the honour rather than his son and their father.

4.  The inscription of “Prince Yao Boateng” instead of “ Oheneba Yao Boateng”  displayed boldly on the said statue is also considered very offensive to the Akan customary practice and usage.  From the matrifocal analysis of the Akan kinship structure, Oheneba Yao Boateng, whose mother is not an Akan, is also not an Akan. The said inscription is therefore a dirty trick that Oheneba Yao Boateng belongs to the Yiadom-Hwedie royal lineage without the pertinent blood of consanguinity.

5.  On page 5 of the commemorative brochure on the late son of Oheneba Yao Boateng, Nana Yao Boateng Junior, dated 30th January 2021, which coincided with the timing of the erection of the statue is written the following: “Being a royal from both the paternal and maternal sides of the divide, Nana Yao was passionate about his heritage”. This claim to the New Juaben royal lineage is completely false since, in the Akan kinship structure, the son of an Omanhene is not a royal.  Lineage in the Akan kinship system is always traced from the mother side and never from the father side as the children of Oheneba Yao Boateng are purporting to do.

6.  The New Juaben Traditional Council has already earmarked the very spot for erecting the statue of Nana Kwaku Boateng I to commemorate his unique contribution as the Omanhene who built the New Juaben Palace. This decision is non-negotiable and cannot be varied in any way.

7. Oheneba Yao Boateng has not done anything tangible for the New Juaben State to merit the erection of his statue at such a vantage point or anywhere else in the Traditional Area. Besides, it is totally wrong on the part of his children to take such an extremely self-serving and inward-looking decision to honour their father without involving the traditional leadership.  

8.  When Oheneba Yao Boateng’s children were summoned to the Traditional Council on 5th February 2021 for questioning on the issue, they apologized to the Council and agreed to remove the offending statue.  The statue has to date not been removed. The children have also on two different occasions, on 5th March and 19th March 2021 respectively, refused to honour specific requests by the Traditional Council to attend its meetings on the issue. 

9.  It has now emerged that Oheneba Yao Boateng’s children have produced and widely distributed a video of the offensive statue in the United States of America, United Kingdom and Ghana. The Traditional Council is in possession of a copy of the video which is totally repugnant to the history and sensibilities of the Chiefs and people of New Juaben.

The statement said for the above reasons, the traditional leadership of the New Juaben State, the New Juaben Traditional Council, decided without any equivocation on Friday 19th March 2021, to remove the statue of Oheneba Yao Boateng forthwith.