By Samuel Abednego Agbo
Tsiami for Togbe Buami
The chiefs of Gbi-Bla and for that matter Gbi are not expected to address their audience in public directly. They convey their messages through their TSAMI. No member of the audience of a chief is also expected to address the chief directly. All messages for the chief in public must be routed through the TSAMI.
The office of TSAMI is very important and highly respected within the chieftaincy structure of Gbi-Bla and for that matter Gbi. The office has an ornamental stick as a symbol called TSAMITI. On the top of each TSAMITI lies an image which carries a customary traditional message.
The customary traditional office of Torgbe Buami (Divisional Chief of Gbi-Bla) has two (2) TSAMI positions namely Tsami Asiamah Kotobri from the Asiamah Kotobri Clan of Blanyigbe and Tsami Krakani from the Kpone Clan of Bladzigbe. In the order of seniority, Tsami Asiamah Kotobri is the Senior while Tsami Krakani is the Junior.
The two (2) TSAMI are collectively the mouthpiece / spokesperson for Torgbe Buami. Their additional duties, among others, include prayers (pouring of libation to the gods and ancestors) on behalf of Torgbe Buami and running high level messages / errands for Torgbe Buami.
The customary traditional office of Mama Ama Serwa (Divisional Queen Mother of Gbi-Bla) however currently has only one (1) NYORNU-TSAMI position namely Nyornu-Tsami Asiamah from the Asiamah Kotobri Clan of Blanyigbe. It is expected that the Kpone Clan of Bladzigbe will soon institute a NYORNU-TSAMI position in the customary traditional office of Mama Ama Serwa (Divisional Queen Mother of Gbi-Bla) as is the case in the customary traditional office of Torgbe Buami (Divisional Chief of Gbi-Bla).
The language of Torgbe Buami and Mama Ama Serwa and for that matter all other chiefs in Gbi, is proverbial in nature and since the cardinal responsibility of the TSAMI / NYORNU-TSAMI is to receive messages from Torgbe Buami / Mama Ama Serwa for their audience, the TSAMI / NYORNU-TSAMI is expected to be well versed in the proverbial expressions associated with the language spoken in Torgbe Buami’s court. The TSAMI / NYORNU-TSAMI sit in front of Torgbe Buami / Mama Ama Serwa in public and on special occasions, they are expected to carry their respective TSAMITI which is the symbol of their respective offices.
The TSAMI / NYORNU-TSAMI of Torgbe Buami / Mama Ama Serwa are identified, selected and installed into office by their respective clan elders.
KPORME-TSAMI / KPORME-NYORNU-TSAMI
The traditional customary chieftaincy structure of Gbi-Bla has (four) 4 sub-divisional chiefs in practice namely Torgbe Buami, Torgbe Vule, Torgbe Awalie and Torgbe Ayim. This means that Torgbe Buami is first of all the sub-divisional Chief of Tsrivi Sub-division of Gbi-Bla and then the divisional chief of Gbi-Bla division of Gbi. The principle of first among equals (i. e. primus inter pares) is at play here. All the four (4) chieftaincy positions in Gbi-Bla have their corresponding queen mother positions namely Mama Ama Serwa, Mama Vulesi, Mama Awaliesi and Mama Ayim.
In addition to the divisional TSAMI / NYORNU-TSAMI positions, there exist another set of TSAMI / NYORNU-TSAMI positions in Gbi-Bla called
KPORME-TSAMI / KPORME-NYORNU-TSAMI
This set of TSAMI attend to their respective sub-divisional chiefs within their respective sub-divisions. Thus Torgbe Buami, Torgbe Vule, Torgbe Awalie and Torgbe Ayim each have TSAMITI and are expected to have KPORME-TSAMI. The same applies to their corresponding queen mothers.
Occupants of the traditional customary office of KPORME-TSAMI / KPORME-NYORNU-TSAMI are not ceremonially installed in pomp and pageantry. The same applies to the customary positions of FIATOR, KPUKPOTOR, AMETSITSIE and KALAKALADULA. Occupants of all these positions in addition to the KPORME-TSAMI / KPORME-NYORNU-TSAMI are just identified, appointed and introduced to the elders of Gbi-Bla.
When Torgbe Buami is acting as a sub-divisional chief in the Tsrivi sub-division, he is serviced by his KPORME-TSAMI. The last substantive KPORME-TSAMI of Torgbe Buami is Prawu Korsi Avetse from the Nyavor Clan of Tsrivi Sub-division. He was the father of the late Mr Michael Kormla Avetse who was a popular surveyor in Hohoe township. Ametsie Prawu Avetse passed on in the 1980s and a substantive KPORME-TSAMI for Torgbe Buami is yet to be identified, appointed and declared.
The current KPORME-TSAMI of the Vule Stool is Korsi Awumey aka BANANA.
The rest of the sub-divisional chieftaincy positions also have their respective KPORME-TSAMI as earlier related.
(The above is quite an abridged presentation on CUSTOMARY TRADITIONAL OFFICE OF THE TSAMI OF TORGBE BUAMI OF GBI-BLA. Others are entreated to feed-in with relevant missing-links or correct any inaccurate information identified.)