Awua Domasehene Nana Kwabena Kyere

Commander-in-Chief of Asanteman Army

Yaa Asantewaa War

  

Spies brought information to the effect that the remaining rebel leaders had fled to the north-west, that Queen Ashantuah [Nana Yaa Asantewaa] had deposed Kofi Kofia [?Kofi Fofie] from the chief captainship of the army, and had made Kobina Cherri [Awua Domasehene Nana Kwabena Kyere], a powerful chief of Odumassi, her chief war captain.....

Later on, more definite news reached Kumasi that the rebel leaders were all living in a town called Bechim [Bechem]......

On the morning of the 6th [November 6th 1900] the messenger to the chiefs returned with my letter unopened, and brought an insolent message from the head chief, Kobina Cherri, to say that they would fight us. Preparations were therefore made for an advance on Bechim on the following day......

  

......The captive turned out to be Kobina Cherri, and he was brought back a prisoner to Odumassi.

  

When interrogated by me his manner was insolent and defiant, and he harangued the Berekum levies, who were drawn up in the town, calling on them to rescue him...... I could not help admiring his courage in openly defying us..........

  

........Thirty-one kings and chiefs were brought in as prisoners, and 900 guns and 5000 lbs. of rubber, besides a small amount of specie, were taken from the enemy, who had received a punishment the memory of which will be handed down to their children's children.......

  

Kobina Cherri was tried for murder by a military commission, found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged. The sentence was carried out on the morning of the 25th November, and true to the instincts of his race he marched to the scaffold with a firm step, his head erect, and his eyes glaring defiance at the white men.

  

  

Ref: The Ashanti Campaign of 1900: Capt. C.H. Armitage and Lt-Colonel A.F. Montanaro

  

  

The return march was begun on the 14th, and just before the column reached Odumasi news was received of the capture of Kobina Cherri. Major Browne had heard from a daughter of one of the men...  that he was...  in Suinjam [Sunyani], a village about two hours' march from Odumasi, and sent four sections of the West Africa Frontier Force, under Lieutenants Kingston and de Putron, to surround it. When they entered the village, the people hurried out of their houses in great alarm, but found their escape cut off by the cordon of troops, and Native Officer Daniells, who understood Ashanti, heard them calling to one man in particular to run and hide himself. Feeling sure that he must be someone of importance, Mr Daniells gave chase and seized him, when his identity was soon discovered. When brought before Major Montanaro, he was openly defiant, and called on  the Berikum Levies to rescue him. The column marched  into Kumasi on the 23rd.... The burning  of Odumasi on the 17th had nearly ended in disaster, for, owing to some mismanagement, the place was prematurely set on fire, and the sick were only got out with the greatest difficulty, while the officers and men of the rear-guard had to run for their lives through the flames.

  

Kobina Cherri was tried by a Military Commission, found guilty, of murder, and sentenced to death. He maintained  his defiant attitude throughout the trial, but afterwards  sent for Sir James Willcocks and offered to buy his life... but his offer was refused, and he was hanged in the market-place  of Kumasi on the morning of the 25th in the presence of the whole garrison and population. Once he found his life was really forfeit, his courage never failed him: he walked firmly to the gallows, with head erect, and his eyes glaring defiance at his enemies. As he passed some Krepis who had tremblingly given evidence against him, he spat contemptuously on the ground, and after he had climbed the scaffold, stood on the drop as erect as a soldier on parade. There was not a man present who was not impressed by his bearing, and an involuntary murmur of admiration arose.

  

Ref:  W. Walton ClaridgeA History of the Gold Coast and Ashanti. Vol II John Murray, 1915 pp564-565 John Murray, 1915

  

Nana Kwabena Kyere's Loyalty to the Golden Stool

  

Nana Kwabena Kyere, occupant of Bosomtwe Stool of Odomasi in the former Western Asante boldly surrendered himself to the British soldiers when he learned that Yaa Asantewaa had been arrested after the war. He led his subjects to attack... whites and their supporters when Asante declared war on the "white man". The Odomasi Stool is an extension of the Kurontire Division of the Kumasi Traditional Council, which is headed by Bantamahene. Nana Kwabena Kyere demonstrated his loyalty to the Golden Stool by taking part in the war to defend the Sacred Stool from being captured by foreigners. He was taken to Kumasi on July 23 [actually, November 23, see account by Capt Armitage et al] tried on the 24 and hanged on Sunday, the 25th 1900. His execution on Sunday gave the Odumasi Stool the oath- "Kwasiada". Moments after his execution, Nana Kwabena Kyere was granted posthumous pardon on Monday the 26th by Her Majesty, the Queen in a telegram ordering the release of all detained captives of the Yaa Asantewaa War. Nana Kyere had been hanged shortly before the Queen's message was received. Nana Kyere thus became something of a legend as a result of the clouds which overshadowed the sun thoughout the day of his execution. Nana Kyere had been nominated to succeed Nana Amankwatia, Bantamahene, but this was delayed because of the Yaa Asantewa war.

  

Ref: Asirifi-Danquah, Yaa Asantewaa: The Woman Who Led An Army To Resist Colonialism. Spring of Water Foundations International, Box 315, KNUST, Kumasi (ISBN 9988-8028-0-3) pp 65-66

  

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