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Ghana: Succession of chiefs among the Akan, in particular, the Sunyani traditional area including the name of the current chief and how long he has been ruling

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 26 June 2001
Citation / Document Symbol GHA37397.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ghana: Succession of chiefs among the Akan, in particular, the Sunyani traditional area including the name of the current chief and how long he has been ruling, 26 June 2001, GHA37397.E, available at: [accessed 27 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Sunyani is the "regional capital" of "Brong Ahafo ... a region that is highly related culturally and geographically to the Ashanti region (Tourism n.d.).

The name of the current chief of Sunyani traditional area and the number of years he has been ruling could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, the following information taken from the University of Manitoba, Department of Anthropology Website, describes the general structure of chieftaincy and succession issues among the Akan.

The Akan have developed elaborate stratification systems based upon the maintenance of hereditary status tied to their political order that represents a form that anthropologists call a ranked society. The principle positions consist chiefly of titles arranged in a graded hierarchy from the king who rules over the entire state, to divisional chiefs heading subordinate regions, to town chiefs at the bottom of the administrative ladder (ibid.).

Succession to leadership is determined by genealogical seniority within the group and is assigned to a man or woman who must be: 1. of the most remote generation that has living members 2. in the senior minor segment that still has members in generation 1, 3. the eldest person of the appropriate sex in the segment identified in 2. (ibid.).

Matrilineal inheritance and succession among the Akan is usually formulated in terms of the transfer of property and status from mother's brothers to sister's sons. However, generational seniority imposes a complication and dictates that property must first pass successively through a group of brothers and can descend to sisters' sons only after all the males within a generation have died. (Formerly the nephew was further preempted by cousins within the senior generation of the other branches, but this practice has been modified to restrict inheritance within a sibling group) (ibid.).

For additional information on chieftaincy among the Akan, please consult Ernest Obeng's Ancient Ashanti Chieftaincy available at Regional Documentation Centres.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Tourism in Ghana. n.d. "The Natural Beauty of Ghana." [Accessed: 18 Apr. 2001]

University of Manitoba, Department of Anthropology. 1997. Brian Schwimmer. "Akan Social Organization." [Accessed://25 June 2001]

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential.

Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series.

Keesing's Record of World Events.

New African.

Resource Centre. Country File. Ghana.

West Africa.

Search engines including:




Internet sites including:

All Africa

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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