Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Members of Parliament (MPs) have amply eulogized the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, for transforming the image of chieftaincy and pursuing policies and programmes that have brought dignity and respect to the age-old-institution.
According to them, the Otumfuo has over the years demonstrated without doubt that the chieftaincy institution can be effectively used to promote peace and unity; and socio-economic advancement of the people including education, health and infrastructural development.
Member after Member praised Otumfuo, following a statement on the floor of Parliament on Friday by the MP for Kwadaso, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the enstoolment of the Asante King which falls on April 29, 2009.
On April 29, 1999, Otumfuo, then Barima Kwaku Dua, took the Great Oath of Asante (Ntamkese) at Manhyia and ascended the Golden Stool as the Sixteenth King of Asante.
In presenting the statement Dr. Akoto noted, “we have all been witnesses to what the reign of His Majesty has brought not only to the Golden Stool and Asante but also Ghana as a whole. Using modern methods and a unique style of communication, Otumfuo has succeeded in transforming the image of the age old institution”.
He added that Otumfuo has pursued innovative initiatives, which apart from bringing reverence to chieftaincy have also introduced modern practices without compromising on the principles of the institution.
Identifying education as the major instrument of social change and progress, Dr. Akoto said the Asantehene instituted the Otumfuo Education Trust Fund soon after his enstoolment and the Fund has since implemented many infrastructural and scholarship programmes to promote education amongst brilliant but socially disadvantaged and poor children.
“These programmes have not only benefited residents in Ashanti Region but also many young people from other regions of Ghana. The Fund has been so successful that it has been adopted as a model by many traditional rulers up and down the country. And children from socially disadvantaged background, in particular those in the rural areas, are the biggest beneficiaries of these initiatives,” Dr. Akoto noted.
Another important area the Asantehene has sought to promote, the Kwadaso MP mentioned, is healthcare and that Otumfuo Health Trust Fund has been launched to champion the control of Malaria, HIV AIDS and other common diseases afflicting the people.
He said the Otumfuo has initiated these social interventions in the belief that the Central Government alone cannot shoulder the full burden of the needs of the people and that all hands must be on deck.
According to Dr. Akoto, the efforts of Otumfuo have met the admiration of all, adding, “In this regard we must recognize the tremendous efforts of other traditional rulers in several areas of endeavour”, including the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia II in the area of Environment, Togbe Afede in Energy generation and the Naayiri, King of Mamprusi in peace making in the Northern Ghana.
In commending Dr. Akoto for making the statement, Iddrisu Haruna, MP for Tamale South said the Otumfuo is not only an epitome but an embodiment of values and cultures of the people and has clearly demonstrated that over the years that even in the face of modernity; chiefs can still perform important cultural, spiritual religious, economic and economic functions.
Hon. Haruna, who is also the Minister for Communication noted that Otumfuo's commitment to national peace and unity; and cohesion within the Ghanaian politic body cannot be in doubt and that one can only pray for God to give him more wisdom and guidance.
“Indeed, but for his wisdom and guidance, we would have witnessed much more chaos, if not senseless violence, in Dagbon, following the unfortunate incident of March 22, 2002 and no wonder he is affectionately called King Solomon,” Hon. Haruna acknowledged.
He said the Otumfuo, together with two other eminent chiefs, Yagbon-Wura and Naayiri of Mamprugu, has managed and safeguarded the current peace in Dagbon and that the Asantehene has been dealing with the matter in a manner that is firm and consistent with the time tested values and traditions of Dagbon.
“One can only hope that when he (Otumfuo) gives his final ruling on the matter, all the sides in the Dagbon crisis would respect it for lasting peace to prevail,” Hon. Haruna suggested with high expectation.
In his contribution, the MP for Kwabre West, Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah said the Asantehene has shown that he does not condone unnecessary chieftaincy and land litigation and this has ensured amicable settlement of such issues.
This according to Hon. Owusu-Ansah, has brought peace and unity in the Ashanti region, urging other traditional leaders who have problems in dealing with such disputes to emulate Otumfuo.
On her part, the MP for Evalue-Gwira, Mrs. Catherine Abelema Afeku, acknowledged the tremendous role played by the Asantehene and other eminent chiefs in the country who have brought dignity, respect and showcased Africa personality.
Otumfuo, Hon. Abelema related, followed the great feat of his predecessor and that his projection of women had earned him a number of accolades, hoping that other traditional rulers who are doing excellent work would be projected so as to encourage them to contribute their quota to national development.
In his submission, the MP for Dormaa West, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu noted that the Asantehene has led an exemplary life over the past 10 years and that Otumfuo has related to politics in manner that is enshrined in the Constitution, which states that chiefs should not take part in active politics.
He expressed the admiration of the mutual respect among Ashantis and noted that Otumfuo could not have attained this feat without the support of his people, calling on other tribes this emulate this unity of purpose.
By Awudu Mahama & Sheilla Sackey