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27.10.2004 Feature Article

The Asantehene Effect-A Rejoinder

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Against the backdrop of the article, The Asantehene Effect, posted on Ghanaweb, this rejoinder does not seek to complicate the issue but rather ask all chiefs who can emulate to do so.

In Ghana, there is clear evidence, that at levels of leadership, many hold positions, which they are not qualified for or have no business occupying. It is sad but true.

In the case of the Asantehene, he has been smart enough to understand the 'brand value' of his stool and has gone to great lengths to leverage it, combining this with his personal experiences and international exposure, to chart what can be said to be an unprecedented positive path in chieftaincy, as far as Ghana is concerned.

In Ghana today, innovation is very much needed at all levels of institutions and if a definition of innovation includes finding new uses for old things, then one can say that the Asantehene has done just that. Also it has been said, the true definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

The Asantehene has not done this. In his own style he has found a new way to use the powers and well respected position of his stool, an old institution, to effect change.

Actually there is another chief, Okyehene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, who enjoys the same level of prominence locally and internationally. One can also say that his many years in the USA, can be part of the many influences that drive him also to be different. This is not to say that all chiefs need to have international exposure, but they need to have knowledge beyond their region, and by all means be formally educated. Our world today is complex.

These two chiefs must be clearly honored for being trendsetters in the transformation of an old institution in modern day Ghana. Tribalism and all the other nonsense associated with the actions of the two chiefs, especially the Asantehene need to be dropped. It has no place.

Other chiefs should emulate the examples of the two, because the 'New Ghana' needs a new approach. Old ways get old results, and that is what has brought us to the point we find ourselves in today.

Without sounding patronizing, it should not be shameful for other chiefs to copy some of the various things the two have done, as there are many causes to be championed and many more people to be helped. Chiefs today need to take ownership of some developmental issue, either as it relates to their areas or even on a national scale and focus on making contributions that impact the well-being of the lot.

Not all individuals regardless of their positions have bright ideas or even a vision, but when a positive trend is identified, as is the case with these two chiefs cited, and their overall positioning in our society, it is foolish to ignore the value that has been gained through their actions.

Also along these lines, it is our hope that as we move forward, those with the responsibility when it comes to enstoolment issues etc., ensure that successors of the various stools are groomed to meet the needs of the contemporary situation in Ghana and not just be figure heads by virtue of their persons. That has no value and in fact the relative ineffectiveness of some chiefs, even amongst their 'subjects', definitely weakens the esteem, relevance and value of the position.

This is where big thinkers and visionaries like Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II have clearly distanced themselves from the lot and found the niche that has brought them the well-deserved prominence and respect they enjoy today. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Ako Folson
Ako Folson, © 2004

The author has 58 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: AkoFolson

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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