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Dwetɛ Kuduo (Silver Casket)
Baafoɔ Osei Asibe, Dɛɛboɔsohene
Nana Osei Kuffour, Dwetɛkuduohene
Technically, dwetɛ kuduo is not a chair or a stool but since it is a vital part of the Gold Stool, it usually precedes the stool carriers when the Asantehene is carried in the palanquin. It is placed in front of the king’s chair and/or stool when he is not present and this explains our rationale for adding it to this chapter. Under the leadership of Ɔpemsoɔ Osei Tutu, the Asante forces finally captured the dwetɛ kuduo from Bɔdwesɛanwohene Nana Adu Gyamfi in Adanse. After unifying Asante with the Gold Stool and adding the variety of regalia items, Kɔmfo Anɔkye informed Ɔpemsoɔ Osei Tutu that they needed the dwetɛ kuduo belonging to Bɔdwesɛanwohene Nana Adu Gyamfi to ensure victory in potential wars. According to Kɔmfo Anɔkye, Nana Adu Gyamfi’s dwetɛ kuduo possesses special tumi (powers) that are needed to reinforce that of the Gold Stool. The analogy, according to Baafoɔ Osei Asibe, is like buying a car with no gas in it or a car without tires. In that sense, it is fair to say that the dwetɛ kuduo provides Asateman with ahoɔden (strength), akwankyerɛ (guidance), nimdeɛ (knowledge) and akokoɔduro (bravery) to successfully defend the kingdom against aggression from potential enemies. Further, Kɔmfo Anɔkye informed them that victories in wars are assured once they are able to add the dwetɛ kuduo to the Gold Stool. Obtaining Nana Adu Gyamfi’s dwetɛ kuduo was not easy as Ɔpemsuo fought Nana Adu Gyamfi on seven different occasions, but the latter’s forces defeated the Asante forces in all the encounters. After failing to defeat Nana Adu Gyamfi, the king, in consultation with Kɔmfo. Anɔkye came up with a new strategy that would not require the use of force. For the new scheme, the Dɛɛboɔsohene was sent to Bɔdwesɛanwo as an undercover agent to capture the dwetɛ kuduo and bring it to Kumase. After a couple of months, he returned and reported to his superiors that it was an impossible mission. Faced with a near impossible situation, Kɔmfo Anɔkye then performed special rituals for Dɛɛboɔsohene to enable him to withstand any spiritual forces that might prevent him from accomplishing his mission. Following the rituals, Dɛɛboɔsehene went back to Bɔdwesɛanwo as a palm wine tapper and lived there for three years. In that time, he ocassionally returned to Kumase to report and update his superiors of his investigations. In the process, Dɛɛboɔsohene managed to marry Nana Adu Gyamfi’s niece and that gave him the opportunity to get closer to the chief’s court. Due to his knowledge of the Asante court traditions, he endeared himself to the courtiers and soon developed a close relationship with Nana Adu Gyamfi. Eventually, he was able to coordinate with the Asante forces and coordinate a day to move in and seize the dwetɛ kuduo. On this day, Dɛɛboɔsohene killed Nana Adu Gyamfi and fled with the dwetɛ kuduo. With perfect coordination, the Asante forces provided him with cover, surrounded Bɔdwesɛanwo, and with a surprise attack, defeated them for the first time and finally brought the dwetɛ kuduo safely back to Kumase. Once in Kumase, Osei Tutu identified a carrier and created a stool for him and as a result, we have Dwetɛkuduohene, but Dɛɛboɔsohene is recognized as the one who brought it to Kumase. The Dwetɛkuduohene swears his oath of office to Otumfoɔ in addition to having access to the royal chamber. Kuduo refers to a special container where precious items are kept while dwetɛ is the Twi word for silver. Dwetɛ kuduo therefore means a kuduo made of silver (Raymond Silverman, 1983: 10-29, examines in detail, the form and function of the kuduo in Akan). In the past, the Akan used kukuo (earthenware pot) or kɛntɛnku (woven basket made from cane or the back of palm branches) for similar purposes and expensive cloths, jewelry, and other valuable items were placed in it for safekeeping. As mentioned previously, the Asantehene’s dwetɛ kuduo contains several ritual objects that collectively give him tumi (power) and it is always in his presence. Dwetɛ kuduo is the last regalia item that is handed to a newly installed Asantehene to formally complete the ceremonies of his installation. During processions, the carrier walks to the right of the Asantehene and within easy access of the king. It is placed on the king’s right when he sits in state. In times of crises, or when judging extremely complex land or succession cases, the king places his right hand on the dwetɛ kuduo and it is said to be able to transmit the ahoɔden (strength) and tumi that he may need to negotiate difficult cases. By virtue of his office, the Dwetɛkuduohene is able to transmit tumi if the king places his right hand on his heart.
Kneeling from left to right: Kwadwo Obiri Yeboah, Yaw Atta
Standing from left to right: Nana Osei Kuffuor (Dwetɛ Kuduohene), Baafoɔ Osei Asibe (Dɛɛboɔsohene)