Traditional chiefs in the mountainous parts of Ghana’s eastern region have annulled the enstoolment of Sun Qiang, the Chinese man whose image of shoulder ride on local men cause social media uproar in September.
Chiefs and elders in the Abetifi Traditional Area annulled the enstoolment within days because according to them the proper procedure was not followed. Qiung also announced that he was declining the offer in response to the outrage.
In early September, the Chinese businessman was given the titular position of Nkosuohene (development chief) in Kwahu-Abetifi, a town in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
Customarily, the title and position he was given is ceremonial and holds no power or authority. It is awarded to private individuals who aid in developmental projects and help to bring socio-economic amenities to the community.
As part of the installation process, the beneficiary of the chieftaincy is hoisted on the shoulders of the men as a gesture of elevating a regular individual to the position of a chief.
But pictures of Qiang, a Chinese man carried on the shoulders of black men in Africa quickly went viral on social media which immediately sparked outrage and received backlash from Ghanaians and people of African descent worldwide who saw the image as representing feared Chinese domination in Africa.
People all around the world took to social media to chastise Ghana for giving a Chinese man the title and honor of a chief in the first place.
However, not everyone saw the installation of a Chinese man for a rather symbolic chief as a bad thing. They pointed to Michael Jackson and scores of other foreigners who have been given similar titles in Africa and frownedbut oupon the double standard that greeted the Chinese chief.
One business executive DNT spoke to insisted that with all the discrimination towards black people around the world, when it comes too our territory, it should be only people like us that deserve to be installed as chiefs and rulers. “We have to have a place of our own where all the rulers are our own kind,” he said.
Others ask rhetorically whether a black man can ever be installed a chief in China be it real or symbolic?
But in the final analysis, mounting pressure from the Ghanaian youth, press, and diaspora caused the King Makers of Kwahu Abetifi to agreed to rescind the title and position as a form of damage control.
Indeed a quote on the website of the Abetifi Traditional Area states that “no Chinese has been enstooled as Improvement chief, Nkosuohene, and starting at now Abetifi doesn’t have any Nkosuohene.” Apparently with no proper proceedure followed, the enstoolment never happened in the first place.
It remains to be seen if this episode and the public relations nightmare that it brought to Ghana would serve as the last time a non-African would be installed chief.
Nana Owusu-Attakorah, DNT News, Accra.