It was a blend of display of the Akan tradition and culture last weekend in the Eastern Regional capital of Koforidua as thousands of mourners from all walks of life paid their last respect to the Omanhene (paramount chief) of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Prof. Emeritus Oti Boateng.
There was heavy security presence at the event with the Eastern Regional Police Command indicating that about 500 police personnel were for the final funeral rite of the late Paramount Chief.
In the face of these security arrangements, a young man in his early 20s dressed like one of the Royal Executioners known in the local parlance Abrafoɔ was fished out.
It is not immediately known how he found his way into the centre of the traditional rites but the Chief Executioner of the New Juaben Traditional Area spotted him and indicated that her his conduct he could not be one of them.
He immediately summoned him and upon interrogation, he admitted being a fake Abrafoɔ. He was stripped of his regalia and shamed publicly after which he was asked to vacate the scene amidst hooting by some mourners.
Like the modern-day armed services, Abrafoɔ generally refers to those who, in the olden days, constituted the constabulary and were responsible for law enforcement in the kingdom. These include Abrafoɔ (executioner and poets), Tɔprɛfoɔ, and Animosum. The Abrafoɔ and Tɔprɛfoɔ were, in the past, responsible for carrying out executions and other forms of punishment for criminal offenders and in some cases, war captives. In current terminology, we may consider the animosum (also known as anadwosekan or night knife in English) as commandos or more accurately, special forces. While it is the duty of Asekanfo (lit. knife bearers) to protect the Asantehemaa, they are not, technically speaking, regarded as Abrafoɔ.