Ghana's political system is a unique blend of modern democratic and traditional African values. Its constitution guarantees the institution of chieftancy and the traditional councils established centuries ago. Typically the chief or acting chief adjudicates civil matters in the village, with keen oversight from the council of elders.
Dagbamete's council of elders is led by Chief Torgbui Klu Agudzeamegah II and Acting Chief Hunua Yao Dunyo. The elders of the current council include local farmers and traders as well as managers, educators, and public bureaucrats. New elders are appointed by consensus of the council, taking into account such qualities as leadership, good judgment, caring attitude, and deep understanding of the culture and traditions of the village.
A separate council of elders, known in Ewe as the hunuawo, administers the Apetorku shrine. Most of the members of the shrine council serve on the village council also.
Torgbui Klu Agudzeamegah II was installed as chief in 1988, more than a century after the death of the first chief, Kwasi Klu, in the 1800s. Before 1988 no chief succeeded Kwasi Klu and the village was instead led collectively by the village elders. In the 1980s, after a rash of unexpected deaths in the village from road accidents and illness, the council of elders decided to consult the oracle for advice. The oracle said that the spirit of the village's first chief, Kwasi Klu, was angry no chief had succeeded him. The elders then chose a young man, Kwame Victor Davor, to become only the second chief of the village, and gave him the title Torgbui Klu Agudzeamegah II. Because he was living in London at the time, and had planned to live there for some years longer before returning to the village, Torgbui's uncle, Hunua Yao Dunyo, was appointed acting chief.
In the chief's absence, the acting chief performs most of chief's duties, such as mediating civil disputes among villagers and representing the village at district, regional and national meetings. Every day people from the village and nearby villages and towns can be seen lined up waiting to see Hunua outside his home. The trust and respect that villagers have for the institution of the chieftaincy is what makes the traditional system work so well. Matters that would otherwise be forced to go through the courts are resolved amicably and fairly with the caring, compassionate and selfless work of the chiefs.
In October 2013, Mama Adzorhlor III was installed as Queen Mother of the village two years after the death of Mama Adzorhlor II who served as Queen Mother for over 50 years. The Queen Mother is head of the women in the community. Among her many responsibilities, she mediates disputes among women, promotes education among girls, opposes discrimination against women, and ensures women's voices are heard in village affairs. She is also responsible for coordinating the communal hospitality, hygiene and environmental work in the village.
|Torgbui Klu Agudzeamegah II
Chief of Dagbamete
|Mama Adzorhlor III
Queen Mother of Dagbamete
|Hunua Yao Dunyo
Acting Chief of Dagbamete and Chief Priest of the shrine
The council of village elders consists of the chief, the acting chief, plus more than a dozen leading men and women of the village. The village elders provide advice and direction to the chiefs and thus have a profound influence on the affairs of the village. They are keenly interested in the development and wellbeing of the village. They recognize the importance of helping the youth through education, as well as promoting the time-tested traditional values that bring peace, harmony and prosperity to the village. The village elders were solidly behind the electrification, sanitation, and water projects completed in the past two decades.
Retired farmer and carpenter
Retired revenue inspector and songwriter
Head of security, Ghana Ports Authority, Tema
Professor, York University and University of Toronto, Toronto
|Adzoyi Kwasi Dunyo
|Egle Kwaku Agbodeka
District Community Water, Akatsi
|Kofi Moses Davor
Ghana Private Road Transport Union, Volta Regional Chairman, Ho
|Kordzo Nero Davor
Deputy Commissioner, National Insurance Commission, Accra
|Mana Adzogble Davor
|Amavi Dunyo Dzeamesi
|Agbadada Akuvi Davor
Shrine mother and trader
Honorary elder (Canada)
The spiritual heart of Dagbamete is the Apetorku shrine. Thousands of people visit the shrine each year, especially during the Easter and Mid-Year festivals. The council of shrine elders gives direction to the shrine priests and ensures that the shrine is maintained and run effectively in accordance with the traditions. Construction on a new, expanded shrine began in 2010, and although the building is not yet completed, regular services and festivals are being conducted in the facility already. The biggest challenge for the chief priest, Hunua Yao Dunyo, and the council of shrine elders is to find the funds needed to complete the construction work. Once complete the new shrine will stand as a beacon of spirituality for the many members of the shrine.
|The Elders (Hunuawo) of Apetorku Shrine in front of the partially completed temple (2011).|