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Asantehene as Supreme Judge

Although the different Amanhene of the states retained their local sovereignty, they recognised Asantehene as their overlord and his court in Kumasi as their final court of appeal. They were also obliged to pay annu­al tributes to him. Once their loyalties were ensured, member states of the Union retained their independent existence. On the other hand, to ensure improved personal protection of Asantehene and a balance of power between Kumasi chiefs and others in the confederacy, stools were created for the chiefs in the Kumasi division, which were gradually increased (especially in the Gyaase). Each tributary chief also had a representative resident in Kumasi who served as a link between the chief and Asantehene.

The Asantehene is the supreme judge of his people. Though he pos­sesses a thorough knowledge of Asante history and culture as well as its traditions, he performs his role through his linguists and council of wing chiefs. He knows about the procedures for trials and judgements. In doing this he has to be well briefed and have an independent mind to promote fairness and justice. In the past, he tried all cases including murder, theft, adultery, dissension and rebellion. In the conquest of Asante and the estab­lishment of British dominion, the judicial role of Asante kings has been lim­ited to land, chieftaincy and family disputes.

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