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09.05.2004 Regional News

Chiefs urged to eschew negative tendencies

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Kumasi, May 9, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Sunday appealed to the National House of Chiefs to endeavour to eschew negative practices that were subverting the nobility of the chieftaincy institution in the country.
He expressed regret that the relevance of the institution had come under serious questioning in recent times as some chiefs had exposed themselves to become divisive elements that had tendered to undermine peace and security and stifle development in their own communities. President Kufuor made the appeal when addressing a colourful durbar of the chiefs and people of Asanteman to mark their 'Adae Kese' festival at the Kumasi Sports Stadium.
The festival provides an occasion for communion with the ancestors as well as the re-union of families.
It also gives an opportunity for all chiefs in the domain of the Golden Stool of Asante to renew their allegiance to Asantehene, occupant of the Golden Stool.
The last Asanteman 'Adae Kese' was held in 1991 under the late Otumfuo Opoku Ware II.
This year's festival has the theme: "Asanteman Adae Kese: Promoting Traditional Leadership For Accelerated Development". It coincided with the fifth anniversary celebration of the enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as Asantehene and the 16th King of the Asante Kingdom.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, 54, was enstooled as Asantehene on Monday, April 26, 1999 to succeed Otumfuo Opoku Ware II.
Among the dignitaries that participated in the festival were President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone, Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and
Mr Don McKinnon, Secretary General of the Commonwealth. Others were, Mr Somda Jean De Dieu, Burkina Faso Minister for Regional Co-operation, former President Jerry John Rawlings, the NDC flag bearer
Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Dr Edward N. Mahama, leader of the People's National Convention (PNC) and Mr Dan Lartey, flag bearer of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Ministers of State, the diplomatic corps, the clergy and chiefs from other parts of the country.
President Kufuor said at the local and traditional levels, chieftaincy continued to be the fulcrum of all activities and provided continued leadership, vision and social cohesion for the people.
He said chieftaincy in addition, had the great potential to strengthen peace and security while promoting both the social and economic well-being of the people within its jurisdiction, complements and facilitate the efforts of the government in the management of the country.
However, President Kufuor said most of the chiefs were endeavouring to meet the challenges of hunger, diseases, illiteracy and unemployment that were affecting the people.
He said these chiefs in tune with the Government through the district assemblies and on various boards and committees, spearheading some of the development programmes especially those being undertaken all over the country as part of the poverty reduction programme emanating from the HIPC Initiative.
"I have no doubt, that you will continue to work in partnership with the Government to sustain the socio-economic gains which have been made within this short time", he added.
President Kufuor expressed appreciation to the achievements of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, saying, "In less than half a decade, you have helped to modernise the chieftaincy institution and recapture its pristine beauty and innate strengths of wisdom and social cohesion to the fore".
"You have deployed same to promote sports, tourism and investment for this area of Ghana. You have resolved various conflicts in Asante and contributed to the resolution of conflicts in other parts of the country", he added.