Whether, indeed, he was or had been quoted out of context or not, the fact of the matter is that a remarkable number of Ghanaian citizens are of the selfsame shared beliefs vis-à-vis the socioeconomic and political significance of The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, as those that have been attributed to the Founding-Proprietor of the Lighthouse Chapel International Company, namely, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills (See “Social Media Users Poke Holes in Dag Heward Mills Apology to Otumfuo” Ghanaweb.com 6/21/21). Not very long ago, for example, when Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, inaugurated the Maternity Ward of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), which had been left uncompleted, in the wake of the palace-coup ousting of the Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong-led junta of the Supreme Military Council (SMC-1), some 40 years ago, a project which Mrs. Akufo-Addo had personally solicited charitable funds to complete all by herself, legion were the tongues that called the political significance of Ghana’s most powerful monarch into question.
Some have even called the capacity of Otumfuo Osei-Tutu for humility into question. Which, of course, amounts to a very serious upbraiding of the Supreme Commander and Overlord of the globally recognized and celebrated Asante Federation, that is, the presumption that The Asantehene woefully lacks what in the French language is called “Noblesse Oblige,” that is, the cultural protocol or mannerism that ought to sharply distinguish the most influential Ghanaian monarch from all other monarchs or chiefs in the country. More so because Mrs. Akufo-Addo had accorded Otumfuo Osei-Tutu’s then recently deceased centenarian mother, Her Majesty, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem, the great honor of having the KATH’s Maternity Ward named after the latter.
For some ardent critics of Nana Osei-Tutu, it amounted to nothing short of downright scandalous that the Overlord of the Asante Federation had literally let the Maternity Ward of the second-most-important civilian hospital in Ghana become a veritable eyesore or go to waste. It also did not help matters that under the 8-year tenure of President John (Kofi Diawuo) Agyekum-Kufuor, a bona fide scion of Manhyia Palace, absolutely no attempt had been made to either complete or reconstruct KATH’s Maternity Ward. There is also a palpable and logical reason to suspect that, indeed, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills had called the stature and nobility, dignity and sociocultural and political significance of The Asantehene into serious question because the Founding-Proprietor of Lighthouse, as his chapel is popularly known for short, informs his readers in his apology letter to Otumfuo Osei-Tutu that he made his patently unflattering and snide remarks about The Asantehene because some officials of the Manhyia Palace, presumably, had threatened to shut down several of his reportedly very lucrative churches located in the Kumasi Metropolis.
In sum, what the medically trained Founding-Proprietor of Lighthouse wants his audiences to fully take into account is that he impugned the regal integrity of Nana Osei-Tutu, when he became fully convinced that The Asantehene and some of his subjects wanted to seriously undermine his livelihood and widely known comfortable existence. You see, for those of our readers who may not know much about the proprietor of Lighthouse, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills has a longstanding reputation of being an obscenely Christocentric “Prosperity Gospel Entrepreneur.” One simply does not fuss with the Lighthouse’s Pontiff where there is a lot of money to be made. The half-European and half-Ghanaian veritable pimp of a prelate is also widely known to operate his chapels as economically fetching franchises, pretty much like multinational fast-food franchises like Wendy’s, Popeye and McDonald’s hamburger joints. Now, once you put Bishop Dag, as he is popularly known, and his business activities and ventures into the proper context, it begins to make perfect sense why he would be provoked into calling the socioeconomic and cultural and even political significance of The Asantehene into question.
Interestingly, in his letter of apology, Bishop Heward-Mills lists some 788 public schools whose nondescript infrastructural conditions or states The Asantehene has reportedly helped to develop. As well, the Lighthouse’s Prelate tells his audience that Otumfuo Osei-Tutu has completely built and furnished some 40-Six-Unit classroom blocks all over the land. Now, that is much more than can be said to the credit of “Yabonwura” Kwame Gonja in about 30 years of political careerism.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
August 29, 2021
E-mail: [email protected]