The Kamara’s from Larabanga in a petition, has asserted their claim to the position of the savannah regional chief imamship as the history of the Gonja kingdom proclaims.
This was contained in a petition signed by the chief imam of larabanga, Alhaji Mumuni Zankawah, the heads of the 12 clans of Larabanga, the Tinkpema and the chief Imam of Dakurpe on behalf of the entire Kamara fraternity to the Jakpa palace (Yagbonwura) on the ongoing conversation and struggle for Imamship in Gonjaland.
According to the Kamara’s, the history of the Gonja Kingdom cannot be told without acknowledging the Kamaras as the default Imams of the Kingdom and therefore believes that the conversation about the Chief Imamship in the savannah region can not proceed without the Kamaras being in the forefront and without acknowledging their position in the Kingdom.
Read below the petition by the Kamara people as copied to this source.
Damongo, Savannah Region
Post Office Box UD56 Mob: +233(01 549697781
Our Ref Your Ref Date: 5th July 2023
05th July, 2023.
King of the Gonja Kingdom
Damongo, Savannah Region.
PETITION TO THE JAKPA PALACE ON THE ROLE AND POSITION OF THE KAMARAS IN THE
PALACE AND THE GENERAL AFFAIRS OF THE GONJA KINGDOM.
On behalf of the heads of the 12 clans of Larabanga, the Tinkpema, the Chief Imam of Dakurpe and
the entire Kamara fraternity, the Chief Imam of Larabahga, Alhaji Mumuni Zankawah wishes to offer a
special prayer for His Royal Majesty, Jira Bi-kunuto Jawu Soale I, the Jakpa Palace, members of the
Gonja Traditional Council and the entire’-Keg&nye1j.Jira, may your reign be long and prosperous.
We pray that the Gonja Kingdom remain strong and united. We also pray that the relationship between
Ndewura lakpa and Yidan Braimah continue to thrive.
The Imam, on behalf of all Kamaras wishes to bring this petition on the ongoing conversation and
struggle for Imamship n Gonjaland.
Your Royal Majesty, Jira Yagbonwura, we acknowledge the wisdom you and your Council apply when making decisions. We pray and know that the same wisdom will be applied in considering this petition of ours. We wish to proceed with this petition, premising our claims
and proposals on the history and the customs that hold the relationship between the Kamaras and the
The Gonja Kingdom, founded by NdewuralakpaSumailaDingoro in the 17s century, has grown to become one of the revered and powerful kingdoms, with very stable traditional institutional framew
of the largest landmass of about 35,853 sq Km with very insightful historical tourist sites, including,
the Larabanga Ancient Mosque, the Salaga Slave Market, the Mole National Park, among others.
The Gonja Kingdom has always lived and flourished on its strategic stratification (the Caste system); acknowledging the diversity and contribution of every segment within the system. The Kingdom has the royals, the Imams, the warrior clans, among others. Each of “these segments plays its specified roleand is thus recognized as such. The Kamaras as per the history and sustained traditional practices have been the default Muslim Clerics (Imams) of the Gonja Kingdom. The position of the Kamaras within thetraditional architecture of the Gonja Kingdom is thus settled within the context of the history of the
According to the history, the Kamaras are the descendants of Yidana Braimah, a poweful Kamara
Muslim Cleric who embarked on a conquest expedition with Ndewura Jakpa and his warriors, Yidana
Braimah often offered prayers in the bid to protect Jakpa and his warriors in the course of the conquest
expedition throughout the Western part of Gonja. In the course of this it was said that his elder brother
out of old age settled in Dakurpe leaving Yidana Braimah and Ndewura Jakpa to continue towards the
Easfin search of the spear that he was said to have thrown towards that direction(the East). Eventually,
The Gonja Kingdom has always lived and flourished on its strategic stratification (the Caste system);
acknowledging the diversity and contribution of every segment within the system. The Kingdom has
the royals, the Imams, the warrior clans, among others. Each of”these segments plays its specified role
and is thus recognized as such. The Kamaras as per the history and sustained traditional practices have
been he found the spear in present day Larabanga where he setUed, built the Ancient Mosque and received
the Quran to continue his prayers for Jakpa and his warriors in addition to his muslim clerical work.
The prayers and spiritual support Yidana Braimah and his people offered to Ndewura Jakpa and his
warriors, indeed, form the nexus ofthe relationship between the Kamaras and the Gonjas. The Kamaras
are by default the Imams to the Kingdom since the spiritual role was unambiguously defined before
the start ofthe conquest expedition embarked upon by Ndewura Jakpa.
Imamship in the Kingdom
Jira, we, the Kamaras wish to acknowledge the ongoing conversation and claims for the Regional Chief
Imamship in the Gonja Kingdom. Indeed, there have been counter claims by different groups with
some historical references being made. The Kamaras have over the years remained resolute and
iratient, knowing that the history of the Gonja Kingdom cannot be told without acknowledging us, the
Kamaras, as the default Imams of the Kingdom. We believe tlqat the conversation about this Chief
Imamship cannot proceed without thd Kamaras in the forefront ar,rd without acknowledging our position
in.the Kingdom. As Imams and wives of tlp. kinglonr, there are ceftain customs that have been
practiced and still being practiced to markand+ecognizelhis relationship. During Damba festival, the
Chief Imam of Larabanga presents soap to the King and the Palace to symbolize the relagonship. In
return, the mat on which they sit to pick the rice is given to the Chief Imam. In much the same way,
the people of Busunu equally hands the same mat on which the rice is picked to the Tinkpema of
Larabanga after receiving soap from the Kamaras to symbolize this relation. This is a standard practice
and so, our stake in the kingdom cannot be left to be determined by prevailing circumstances.
It is worthy of note that Ndewura Jakpa decreed the Kamaras as the Imams of his kingdom and same
binds all his descendants. In recognition of the Kamaras as the spiritual leaders (Imams), upon
enskinment in Nyange,Yagbonwuras make two stops; at Jintilpe as custom demands and in Larabanga
for special prayers to be said to the newly enskinned King before he proceeds to Damongo.
The current King, Jira Yagbonwura BFkunuto Jawu Soale I, has acknowledged this tradition when he stopped over in Larabanga after his enskinment for special prayers to be said for him by the Imam of Larabanga at a special ceremony. This was fufther captured in the Yagbonwura’s speech during the Gonja Traditional Council Meeting held in the Jakpa palace on Tuesday 13h June, 2023, when he said in the speech, “it
is part of custom and tradition that immediately after the enskinment at Nyange, all the chiefs
especially, the sons and B’gbonpo present follow the new Yagbonwura to make whisfle stops at both
Jintilpe and Larabanga for certain rites and prayers to be offered before the new King moves to
Damongo…” Additionally, the current Speaker of Parliament Right Honorable Alban Kingsford Sumana
Bagbin visited the Jakpa Palace on 14th June, 2023, during which he acknowledged the spiritual role of
the Kamaras to the Kingdom.
Larabanga houses one of the oldest mosques in West Africa and is considered the Mecca of West Africa.
Given its history and the fact thatit is a 100% Muslim community, Larabanga and for that matter the
Kamaras symbolizes Islam in Gonjalarod and serve as the spiritual.,home for the kingdom. So, it is fairly
justified for the Kamaras to at this point, assert our claim to the position of the Regional tmamship in
the Kingdom as the history proclaims. Over theyears, we have been quiet when any such conversation
is provoked. It is not because we do not:know our stake oFposition in the kingdom, but it is because
we are peace-loving and in particular believe that every concerned Gonja (chiefs, warriors, drummers,
etc.) knows the history of the Kamaras as the spiritual heads (Imams) of the kingdom.
Jira, the petition for the creation of the Savannah Region was led by the late Yagbonwura Tuntumba
Boresa I, and for that matter the Japka palace. All of us participated immensely to realize the region.
In acknowledging the lead role played by the Palace and the fact that the biggest stakeholder is the
Yagbonwura, immediately after its creation, the Chief Imam of Larabanga and the elders called on the
late Yagbonwura and his Council in which the issue of the Regional Chief Imam was discussed. tn the
said meeting the Kamaras reminded the Yagbonwura that, the Regional Chief Imam is ours anytime
such a consideration comes up because we are the Imams of the Kingdom by default. We were told that the Damongo chieftaincy dispute was still outstanding so, once that is settled, our demand will be
considered In view of this development, it is strange that there is an emergence oF different groups
claiming the Regional Imamship without the Kamaras in the forefront. By this petition, we wish to remind the King and the Council of our earlier demands.
with the advent of this new norm, where claims are being made through petitions, backed by history
and practices in the kingdom, we deem it necessary to equally bring this petition to Jira, yagbonwura
Bii – Kunuto Jawu Soale I and his Council, with the following proposals;
1′ we wish to propose to Jira and his council that, a mechanism (committee) for selection of the
Regional Imam should be constituted immediately to engage the key stakeholders including the
Kamaras in order to avoid any future confusion.
2′ as the history of the Kingdom holds the Kamaras the ImEms by default, we humbly state that
the Regional chief Imam is for the Kamaras. we wish to therefore notify Jira yagbonwura and
his Council that we are preparing for tlp installqtrion at his instance and same to be recognized
and endorsed by the Kingdom
3′ we further humbly request that Kbmaras must be recoEnized as the spiritual heads of the Jakpa
Palace henceforth, as we were during the era of Ndewura Jakpa, and this should be replicated
in all other paramouncies within the Kingdom.
4′ we believe in due process and institutional effectiveness.To ensure this, we wish to suggest that
Jira Yagbonwura and his council should document all structures within the traditional
architecture of the Kingdom, their relative powers, roles and functions well spelt out. This should
serve as the reference document to complement the oral history in any future decision-making
process in the palace.
5. Finally, we wish to propose a review of the 1930 Gonja Constitution. Any contemplated review
should clearly spell out the position and the role of the Kamaras in the affairs of the Gonja Kingdom in order to avoid any ambiguity and any future controversies.
Jira, in conclusion, the Imam of Larabanga on behalf of the Kamara fraternity wishes to reiterate his
unwavering commitment to the peace and progress of the Gonja Kingdom as our founder did for Ndewura Jakpa.
The Jakpa palace remains our home, the Gonjas remain our husbands and prayers remain our support system to the Gonja kingdom. We cannot be oblivious of the challenges the Kingdom is currenuy facing and so we pledge to continue to pray for peace to prevail. It is in this ligh! we deem it necessary to formalize and assert our claims through this petition and not to resort to any engagements outside of this palace especially, on social media.
We hope Jira and his Council will consider this petition on its own merit and without pregudice to other petitions and claims.
Jira, we humbly submit our Petition for your kind consideration.
- Alhaji Mumuni Zankawah
(Chief Imam, Larabanga)
- Yakubu Soale
(Chief Imam, Dakurpe)
- Alhaji Seidu
(Chief Imam, Nabori)
- Mahama linapor ( Chief Imam, Yapei)
- Seidu Iddrisu(Chief Imam, Canteen)
- Alhaji Sumaila((Chief Imam, YRA Mosque, Damongo)