Asantehene To Bawumia

Feature Article Asantehene To Bawumia

“All Ghana is seeking is development. The current government will end its tenure very soon. It's now time to prove the reason he (Akufo-Addo) chose you as his Vice President.”

Solomonic words of Otumfuo for Bawumia, June 12, 2024.

AND IT CAME TO PASS that Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President and flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), spent days in Ashanti on his campaign trail (June 10-12, 2024). It must have been exciting to the Ashanti NPP voters, and believers. It was an opportunity to pep up with the spirit and the moral of the party's supporters.

Call it a working or walking tour, and you may be right either way. And if you saw the aggressiveness in the walk at Asafo Magazine from True Vine Hotel with Kennedy Agyapong, Kwesi Nyantakyi, Kwabena Nyame, Dr. Nsiah-Asare, you could be enthralled.

Dr. Bawumia come face-to-face with the realities on the ground; saw the poor road network of Kwabre East where the Chief of Kenyasi, Barima Fredua Agyemang Ababio bemoaned, “We've been starved of good roads in Kwabre East for a long time.”

In the bus that carried Dr. Bawumia and some of the NPP players, one could see him sharing the singing with the Regional NPP Chairman Antwi-Boasiako (Wontumi) and demonstrating intricate syncopations to the whole world. You may have enjoyed the situational irony and smiled away at the TikTok dancer, Adwoa Safo, or you may have asked: “How serious are these?” at a time of sky-rocketing cost of living (a ball of kenkey is GH¢5, Exchange rate is $1for GH¢15).

Should these challenges draw one to a pensive mood or a hilarious disposition? Somebody do us a favour by tutoring us on how to explain: “when the fundamentals are weak, the exchange rate will expose you.”

Reporters sniff and report on issues raised at public functions. But with Asantehene who speaks through an Okyeame (Linguist) one has to be careful in their reportage. Most of the words from Otumfuo are couched in proverbs, apothegms, gnomes, epigrams and dicta. In the 60s, Adamu-tro, a labourer at Kokobra, would say, “Ohene kasa a, tie no abebuom” (when the chief talks, listen to it as a proverb).

So, at the Manhyia Palace, the King addressed Bawumia. The newspapers reported (on June 13, 2024) thus, The Chronicle: Bawumia to Otumfuo – My Government Will Focus On Solar, Railways.” Daily Statesman: “Asantehene Praises Bawumia's Humility.” Crusading Guide: “Otumfuo Commends Bawumia's Humility, Supports Presidential Bid With Prayers.” Daily Dispatch: “I Know You Can Do The Job If You Are Voted As President – Otumfuo To Bawumia.” Daily Guide: “Otumfuo Lauds Bawumia: You're Respectful, Humble.”

Then, Ghanaian Times splashed on June 14, 2024: “Justify Confidence President Reposed In You: Asantehene Tells Dr. Bawumia.” And Daily Graphic on June 14, 2024 intones: “Speak Truth To Vice President – Asantehene.” Writing from Manhyia Palace, Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor in http// notes: “The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has asked the handlers of the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, to be truthful to him and not to be moved by their parochial interests. He said the team should be frank with him if things were not going well so he should re-strategise rather than allowing him to go astray.”

The piece from Daily Graphic can be juxtaposed with the message from Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor. According to Daily Graphic, “Acknowledge Your Government's Shortcomings – Asantehene to Bawumia: The Monarch of the Asante Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has counselled Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to acknowledge the shortcoming of his government in his campaign to win the confidence of the electorate.

“You need to deliver your message effectively because there are other competitors. No government can do the entire work. Let Ghanaians know where you are leaving off with Nana Addo. Let the people know your shortfalls and tell them you will continue from there. By that, Ghanaians will gain trust in you. If you fail to acknowledge your shortcomings they will mark you down.”

In short, in our local parlance, walk the talk, and stop sloganeering. You may have read: The Six Blind Men and an Elephant, in which Tittha Sutta writes, “One blind man asserts an elephant is like a pot (the blind man who felt the elephant's head); a winnowing basket (ear); a plowshare (tusk); a plow (trunk); a granary (body); a pillar (foot); a mortar (back); a pestle (tail); a brush (tip of the tail).”

John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) gave this a poetic slant: “It was six men of Indostan To learning much inclined; Who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind), That each by observation might satisfy his mind.” You may not see the dangers of dogmatism where people believe issues from a single perspective.

Disseminate the allegory in the Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson: 'The Emperor's New Clothes' published in 1837. An Emperor obsessed with fancy new clothes; some con-men posing as weavers whose clothes cannot be seen by those who are stupid; the con-men coming to dress the Emperor, in a mime; the towns folk uncomfortable with the Emperor's nakedness, but afraid to tell the truth and be put in the cast of incompetent and stupid; a child blurting out, 'the Emperor is naked!'”

Hans picked the story from Spanish Don Juan Manuel who picked the theme from an Arabian Court in the 1300s. We may see the dramatic effect from Hans Anderson's own infantile exclamation on seeing the King (King Frederick VI): “Oh, he is nothing but a human being.”

Of course, politicians may delight in likening political critics to “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” by the fabulist Aesop in the 700s BC. A shepherd boy who amuses himself by shouting 'wolf' 'wolf' when there was no wolf, and laughing at the villagers who came to “help”. When the wolf really came, the villagers shouted, “He cannot fool us again”. The villagers did not go to “help” the shepherd and the wolf killed many of the sheep.

All the presidential aspirants John Dramani Mahama, Alan Kyerematen, Kwame Bediako will call on Otumfuo. We are waiting to see/read what the newspapers will report. You may sympathise with those who will accuse you of being Samballat and Tobiah; those who will tell you “As for me, I was born into NPP, there's no need to change course now.” But remember 1979 at Auntie Mary's house at Dzorwulu when we confronted Okatakyie Akwasi Afrifa's supporters threatening to break away from United National Convention (UNC) to form “another party”. Remember, we gained support from Prof. Adu-Boahen!

We criticised Mahama “selling” the Nyinahin Bauxite to his brother; we criticised Mahama for “assailing” us with dumsor; we criticised Mahama for this and that, and we are expected to be quiet when Bryan Acheampong, an NPP Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, buys off profitable SSNIT hotels – the veil of corporation of Rock City Hotel is pierced. A politically exposed person, Bryan Acheampong as Member of Parliament (MP) for Abetifi Constituency has “moral questions” to answer, and it would be in the interest of NPP, including himself, to get out of the mess. “God is in me and with me,” Bryan could assert!

Well was it said by Abraham Lincoln: “Don't criticise them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.”

Africanus Owusu-Ansah
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