Yes, a man was assaulted in Sunyani for not wearing funeral cloth

About a week ago, a Twitter/ X user, @KwakwaWrites, shared a video which showed how a man who purportedly flouted a directive by the Sunyani Traditional Council to wear red or black was being harassed. The video was accompanied by the text: 

“Sunyani Paramount chief is dead and it is mandatory to wear red or black attire nigga say no hm[sic].”

In the video, four men wearing black who looked like palace guards were seen brandishing sticks and belts while approaching a man wearing white by the roadside. As they approached him, a loud sound like a gunshot was heard in the background of the video. The man in white threw a fist at the men when they got closer. The 0:19 secs video ends with the three men harassing the man wearing white.

At the time of writing this report, the video had garnered over 169,000 views and about 326 retweets, and approximately 1,500 likes on Twitter with others doubting the authenticity of the video and the commentary accompanying it. 

Checks by Fact-Check Ghana indicated that indeed the Omanhene (paramount chief) of Sunyani has passed. Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri II, who was also the President of the Sunyani Traditional Council, was reported to have died in late July. 

A banner announcing the demise of the paramount chief

Following the demise of the Chief, it was reported that an oral directive was announced at the Sunyani Old Palace that all workers wear red for a month in mourning the Chief. 

The Sunyani Traditional Council has also imposed some restrictions on the movement and conduct of people in the Sunyani traditional area as it mourns its chief. 

Other restrictions by the Sunyani Traditional Council include a ban on noise-making in the Sunyani Municipality, from Tuesday, July 25, 2023, to Thursday, August 24, 2023.

This restriction affects gatherings such as wedding ceremonies, funerals, parties, naming ceremonies and other merry-making. 

Food vendors and shop operators had also been ordered to close their shops and markets in the Sunyani township from 6 am-6 pm on Friday 28 July 2023.  However, financial institutions, health facilities, civil and public servants, and other institutions that render critical service to the public are allowed to operate. 

Checks by Fact-Check Ghana which included interviews with journalists based in Sunyani confirmed that indeed palace guards in Sunyani were attacking people who were not wearing black and/or red to commemorate the passing of the paramount chief. 

The checks also revealed that the video was not fake or edited. The footage was taken in a street between Twene Amanfo Senior High Technical School and the Sunyani Coronation Park.  While the exact location where the incident happened could not be cited on any of the geolocation maps, photos journalists shared with Fact-Check Ghana showed the same features found in the original video. 

A screenshot from the video || Source:
Photo of the street in front of Twene Amanfo Senior High Technical School || Source: Michael Sarpong Mfum

For instance, in the background of the video is an OmniBSIC Bank which is on the ground floor of a beige and blue three-storey building.

Fact-Check Ghana also found that this is not the first time residents in Sunyani are being attacked for not wearing funeral clothes when a traditional leader is deceased.

In February 2020, a similar video that emerged online showed how some residents of Sunyani were assaulted for not wearing black or red, as prescribed by the traditional council when the late queen mother died.

This was when Nana Yaa Nyamaa Poduo II, the former paramount queen of the Sunyani Traditional Area, passed in 2019. 

Following her demise, a directive was given to people to put on red or black attire. People who flouted this directive were severely dealt with by some individuals believed to be from the Traditional Council. Pupils were also asked to stay home on the 27th Thursday and Friday 28th of 2020 ahead of her burial in February 2020.

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