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Ghana: Possible reprisals against a Christian member of the Brong tribe, who refuses to accept the matrilineal inheritance of the position of the high priest of the Firi Shrine in the Brong Ahafo region of Kumasi in the Ashanti region

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 22 January 2002
Citation / Document Symbol GHA38302.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ghana: Possible reprisals against a Christian member of the Brong tribe, who refuses to accept the matrilineal inheritance of the position of the high priest of the Firi Shrine in the Brong Ahafo region of Kumasi in the Ashanti region, 22 January 2002, GHA38302.E, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be3518.html [accessed 23 May 2023]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Specific information on possible reprisals against a Christian member of the Brong Ahafo tribe, who refuses to accept the matrilineal position of high priest of the Fri Shrine in the Brong Ahafo region of Kumasi in Ashanti region could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, the following general information could be useful. During a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a professor of Political Science at Carleton University, in Ottawa, who is well versed in Ghanaian political and cultural issues, stated that generally, the position of high priest is not hereditary (15 Jan. 2002). He said that, usually, a person does not choose to become a high priest but is believed to be chosen by the gods or spirits.

The professor explained that it is believed that the spirits possess an individual whom they choose to be their representative. Other people recognize that he is the chosen one due to changes in his behaviour and comportment. He may speak in tongues, and/or may begin to tell fortunes or predict future events (ibid.). He also said the wide-spread belief among those who practice traditional religion, is that if a person chosen to become a high priest refuses, the gods themselves may visit death, madness, or some other punishment on him (ibid.).

He explained that the majority of Ghanaians today practise either the Christian or Muslim faith. Very few Ghanaians, except those in villages or other communities practise traditional religion today. It is unlikely that state protection would extend to matters pertaining to traditional religious issues in families, communities and/or villages (ibid.).

This information was corroborated by a professor of Sociology at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE), who has done extensive research on Ghanaian cultural issues, during a telephone interview with the DIRB (24 Jan. 2001). He explained that it is possible for the family of a high priest to produce a high priest. However, he explained, that the position is not inherited as such. The gods will choose a high priest among the sons of a practising high priest. The spirits "may enter the body of the son" and that is how his father will know that the possessed son is his designated successor (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Reference

Professor of Political Science, Carleton University. 15 January 2002. Telephone interview.

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Research Bulletin.

Encyclopedia of Religon. 1987. Vol. 7. Edited by Mircea Elaide. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company.

Keesing's Record of World Events.

IRB Databases. LEXIS/NEXIS.

Resource Centre. Country File.

Internet sites including:

All Africa News

Search engines including:

Dogpile

Mamma

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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