The 1st king I wrote about was Kwamina Ansa of Elmina or Anumansa. He was met by a Portuguese crew led by Azambuja that included Columbus in 1472.
The Portuguese found a more structurally complex kingdom 18km north of Accra. That was the Ga Kingdom of Ayawaso and its monarch was Nii Ayi Kushi.
Though there is some evidence that Ga-Dangmes have been around probably from early 13th century, there is no evidence of an organized political authority prior to Ayawaso.
It appears therefore that Nii Ayi Kushi was the 1st person to consolidate the various Ga groups into one political authority. According to Armaah Amartey, he was King from 1483 to 1519. That makes Ga the earliest organized Kingdom with central authority in Ghana.
The organizational structure of Ayawaso confirms my group consolidation theory of its foundation.
Ayawaso consisted of 5 sub-groups:
- Wo Sagba ………………… present day Ga Mashi
- Wo Doku ………………… ‘’ ‘’ La
- Wo Krowor ………………… ‘’ ‘’ Nungua
- Wo Kple ………………… ‘’ ‘’ Tema
- Awutu ………………… ‘’ ‘’ Awutu
Amartey in his authoritative book ‘’Omanye Aba’’ referred to the kingdom as JAKU. JA = divide, KU=group. Jaku means a divisible group or union of nations. That is why it is the Ga word for continent – a big group that may be divided. In the context of Ayawaso, it meant a federal kingdom.
Head of the federation was Ga Mashi which then had only 2 divisions; Tuŋma (Abola), the royal clan and Jɔɔshi (Asere) which appears to have headed the military. The other 5 divisions of Ga Mashi and the towns of Osu and Teshi were not at Ayawaso. They are coastal additions after Ayawaso’s collapse.
Each group had its own leader who was answerable to the supreme leader, the federal king. It is instructive to note that Awutu was part of Ayawaso and remained part of Ga until the early 1950s when it ‘’seceded.’’ Still, Awutu pledged allegiance to Ga and Nii Amugi when the latter was enstooled in 1965.
Nii Ayi Kushi is reputed to have built the Kingdom on 7 puritan commandments or Kitai Kpawo.
- Love and respect the rules of your father
- Obey the commandments of the deity at all times
- Sacrifice as a life-time obligation for the sake of the group
- Sacrifice as the life-time duty to one’s own children
- Do not lie
- Do not steal
- Pure and truthful in all things
These 7 commandments formed the basis of Ga Constitution. You hear variations of them in all Ga customs notably = Kpojiemɔ, Ŋɔɔwala and Yoo kpeemɔ.
Ayi Kushi was a 3 in 1 – King-Priest-Warrior, though it appears he delegated most military duties to Asere, he was the Commander-in-chief.
His dual role as King-Priest confused early writers who referred to Ga as a theocracy. Ga was never a theocracy unless the UK was also a theocracy. The monarch is still the head of the Anglican church.
Ayi Kushi died in 1519 and was succeeded by his son Nii Ayite.
Why is Ayi Kushi important in the making of Ghana?
- Nation-building – he was able to negotiate & organize different groups to form a new nation.
- Federalism – an entity of many parts is best managed in a federal fashion.
- Constitutional rule – he clothed his federal nation with rule of law.
- Separation of powers – in its basic form, he separated the military from the monarchy.
- Citizenship – he assimilated non-Ga Awutu as equal partners in Ga polity. Ga accommodation of other ethnicities is a pillar in peaceful Ghana. Ga Ablekuma policy was started by this man.
- Good foundation – the Tuŋma Dynasty he created has survived ethnic wars, European oppression, political interference among other troubles. It is 534years old in 2017. The oldest surviving dynasty in West Africa if not the whole Africa. Good foundation pays.
RIP King Ayi Kushi.
Nii Amu Darko