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KOMEY v. ONANKA


  • New
  • 1962-02-02
  • HIGH COURT
  • 1 GLR 52-53
  • Print

OLLENNU, J.


Summary

Customary law?-Abdication from traditional office.

Headnotes

In a land appeal in which the question as to who is entitled to administer the land turned on which of the contestants hold a particular customary office, the plaintiff alleging that the defendant abdicated and he the plaintiff, was installed in his stead.

Judgement

APPEAL from a judgment of a local court in a land case.

It is agreed by all, that the land in respect of which the plaintiff-appellant sued in the local court, is portion of the land of the Kle Musum Quarter of Teshie, and that the proper authority to administer the same is the head of the quarter, a fetish priest, who carries the title of Osabu-Ayiku Wulomo. Thus the only issue joined between the parties is whether or not the plaintiff is the present Osabu-Ayiku Wulomo.

The appellant further narrowed down the issue by his admission that the respondent was installed the Osabu-Ayiku Wulomo sometime ago, and that he has not been removed from office. His case however, is that the respondent himself vacated his said priestly and traditional office, and the appellant was lawfully installed in his stead.

The local court magistrate dismissed the appellant's claim, but the grounds upon which he did so are not sound and cannot be supported. There are, however, good grounds which justify the decision of the local court, therefore the judgment cannot be set aside.

So long as the substantive holder of an office has not been removed, has not resigned or abdicated or died, the office cannot be vacant, and any purported installation of another person into that office is void are null and viod ab initio.

The only facts which the appellant proved and relied upon as constituting abdication by the respondent are: (1) that having originally been one of the supporters of the Teshie Mantse in a destoolment case instituted against the Mantse, he later withdrew his said support, and joined the destoolment party; and (2) that when he wrote a letter declaring that he no longer supported the Mantse, and signed it, he put under his signature only the words Ayiku Wulomo and not Osabu-Ayiku Wulomo, and therefore he must be presumed to mean that at that date he only held the office of Ayiku Wulomo, but not the office of Osabu Wulomo as well.

In my opinion those acts do not constitute abdication, or even an intent to vacate a traditional and priestly office as that of Osabu Wulomo. Some unequivocal act or declaration accompanied by the production of drink or so, or a definite refusal or neglect to perform the duties appertaining to that office is necessary to constitute vacation of a traditional office.

Since the respondent has never been deposed, and has never voluntarily vacated or abdicated his office as Osabu Wulomo, the alleged appointment and installation of the appellant as Wulomo, are null and void ab initio.

For these reasons I would dismiss the appeal. The appeal is dismissed with costs fixed at 7 guineas.

Decision


Plaintiff / Appellant

E. N. P. Sowah

Defendant / Respondent

E.K.N. Olaga with him Yeboah

Referals

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