THE REIGN OF NANA KOFI KAKARI
( 1867 – 1874 )
Nana Kofi Kakari succeeded Nana Kwaku Dua I . During his installation he swore to his people that his main objective was to war. It was therefore interesting that there was war throughout his reign. According to oral tradition, the Asante Kingdom had renewed their old alliance with the Akwamu people before he was enstooled , therefore when trouble broke out between the Akwamu people and the Krepis, he was called by his friends the Akwamu people to come their help . This happened in 1868. He had not been on the the Golden Stool for even one year when he was called to undertake the assignment , yet he did it . It was in the war that the Asante captured Rev. Ramseyer and his wife and took them to Kumase . The help given of the people of Akwamu , cemented the ties between the two nations .
After the Krepi war , Nana Kofi Kakari decided to subdue the coastal states . He therefore took arms for his expedition on December, 1872. His forces attacked the forces of Assin in February , 1873 at Assin Nyakomase. The Assin forces found the going very hard and they retreated to Fante Nyakomase where the combined forces at the coast had gathered . The combined forces were defeated by the Asante forces . They reassembled at Jukwa where another fierce battle was fought . The Asante forces again defeated them all and took the day. That was the fifth battle between the coastal forces backed by the British to fought against the Asantes Kingdom . This defeat was a very big blow to the British, because apart from diminishing the confidence the coastal states had in the government, constant raids by the Asantes were retarding progress in trade and administration . The Governor and his men decided that to quell the Asante menace once and for all , they had to trained soldiers who could meet the Asante forces on Asante soil and defeat them there. The British government endorsed the idea and appointed Sir Garnet Wolseley to undertake the expedition. According to word,when Sir Garnet Wolseley arrived in the Gold Coast , he immediately called soldiers from Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Gambia for the assignment . The number of soldiers sent to him was not sufficient , so he called for more men from Britain.
The Asante forces were still at the coast and had defeated the coastal forces five times . When Sir Garnet Wolseley asked the Fantes to give some men for the assignment , they reluctantly agreed to offer some men because they realised that in 1863 , they relied on the British for defence but they were totally defeated by the Asantes . In their current war too, despite the help by the British , they had defeated five times , therefore , there was no hope . Rather they would prefer to leave the Asante forces alone till they returned to their homes rather than engage them in another encounter . Such an encounter might claim many more casualties. According to W.E Ward , two thousand ,five hundred men volunteered to join the forces of Sir Garnet Wolseley . When these people joined the forces from Sierra Leone , Gambia and Jamaica , the total was four thousand men . He realised that the number must be increased so he again appealed to the British government and three battalions of men were sent to him.
To restore confidence in the Fantes and to prove that they were then on the offensive, Sir Granet Wolseley sent some troops to Elmina to fight the Asante forces occupying the town . They made a surprise attacked on some of the Asante forces occupying the town and defeated them . The Asante forces , after defeating the Coastal forces five times, had remained at the Coast . Though they had wanted to return to their homes , they had not been given order to return . The rainy season had started and many of the Asante forces had been attacked by small pox . When at last the order for return had come , they were attacked on their return journey by some forces from Sir Garnet Wolseley,s camp and if not their great experience warrior Asamoa Nkwanta had arrived on the scene, the returning forces would have suffered a great defeat . Oral tradition has it that he led the returning forces to drive Sir Garnet Wolseley troops away. He was therefore honoured with the title ” Srafo Kra ” (meaning soldiers soul deliverer)
According to Claridge , the Asante forces finally reached their homeland but lost as many as 20,000 men through sickness and fighting . While they were discussing the many men they had lost in their homes, Sir Garnet Wolseley and his men were advancing towards Asante . Some of his men had crossed the River Pra and started building a bridge for the rest of the army to cross on 7th of January 1874 . Sir Garnet Wolseley sent a letter stating that he and his men had crossed River Pra and we’re heading towards Kumase , to Asantehene . He stated further that if Asantehene and his men were not prepared for war, he should free all the captives his men captured in their expedition to the coast. In addition to freeing the captives, the Asante Nation should pay a compensation of 50,000 ounces of gold to him . Further He would lead a team of 500 soldiers to Kumase to sign peace treaty with the Asnatehene, but before they started the journey, Asantehene should send some men as hostages to guarantee their safety . The hostages would be released to Asantehene after he, Sir Garnet Wolseley and his men had returned safely . The contents of the letter were not acceptable to the Asantehene . The Asante Nation was not a state of cowards who could be threatened with such a letter . His only worry was how to get his warriors organised to curb the invasion of the British . The Asantehene was not disturbed by the letter because his men had travelled to the coast , fought the Coastal states and conquered them, including the forces of the Governor . Therefore beating them on Asante soil will be an easy task . So ,he sent messengers to the Asante States to prepare for war . However , he sensed some bad omen because at that particular moment , he had news that the great tree planted by Okomfo Anokye in Kumase had fallen and checking from the date of the letter , the tree fell on the same date . According to oral tradition , they agreed to free one European captive as a gesture that they were not prepared for war . Another message from the Adansehene alerted Asantehene that the troops were engaged in a fierce battle with him and his men . This development compelled the Asantehene to release the European captives . He sent a letter through them to Sir Garnet Wolseley that he had fulfilled the condition by releasing the European captives . His reply was that he should release all the other captives , including the Fantes and he should also send half of the fifty thousand ounces of gold compensation to the General . In addition to the gold, the Asantehemaa( The Queenmother of Asante) , one royal to the Golden Stool and four other royals from Asante States should be sent as hostages .
According to Claridge, King Kofi Kakari found the demand too much , therefore he decided to go to war. Mamponghene, Kwabena Dwomo, was made war general and was asked to command the main forces, while Asamoa Nkwanta , the renowned Asante warrior was sent to Adanse to take charge of the troops there.
A very fierce battle was fought all the way but Sir Garnet Wolseley and his men , using superior weapons , were able to fight their way through to Kumase . According to Claridge , when the General found out that the King and his nobles had deserted Kumase , he sent another message stating that ,if he did not get the King or some of his nobles to for the peace treaty the following day , he would kill all the people in the town and destroy the town also . Following the message , he found the town deserted the next day with only the Fante captives going from house to house, looting . He commanded his troops to set fire to Kumase .
Asantehene(King of Asante) sent his men to make peace treaty on the 2nd February , 1874 at Fomena. Compensation of one thousand and forty ounces of gold ( 1040oz) was paid on that day to Sir Garnet Wolseley and his men . Signatories to the treaty were: Asantehene, Nine Chiefs from Kumase division , representatives each from Dwaben, Bekwai, Kontanase , Nsuta, Mampong and representatives from the five remaining Asante States . The final signing was completed on the 14th of March 1874 at Cape Coast . It was officially known as the ” The Treaty of Fomena”, because it was drafted in Fomena.
The war which was named ” Segrenti War ” was the sixth war between the Asante Kingdom and the British . It was won by the British . After the war, many of the Asante States decided to break away from the confederacy . The states which took that decision included ,Mampong, Nsuta, Bekwai, Kokofu, Dwaben and Agona. States like Kwahu, Gyaman, Sefwi, Banda, and some northern states which were under Asante Kingdom also declared their independence . According to Ward , Nana Kofi Kakari was deposed about seven months after the war . His main charge was misuse of the Golden Stool property.
Source: The Kingdom of Asante