27.04.2005 General News

Asantehene confers with President Kabba

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From Christian Akorlie, GNA Special Correspondent in Freetown

Freetown Sierra Leone, April 26, GNA - The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, on Tuesday stressed the need for traditional rulers to initiate programmes that meet the development aspirations of their people instead of relying totally on central government for support.

He said traditional leaders who could not assert themselves through designing projects on education, health and sanitation among others, risked losing their authority and the trust of the people.

"Development projects are the only way traditional leaders can win the confidence of their subject and society at large," Otumfuo said. The Asantehene was speaking during a courtesy call on the Sierra Leonean President Ahmed Tejan Kabba, at the Presidential Lodge in Freetown on the first day of his week- long official visit to the West African state.

"Traditional leaders must serve as conduit pipes between their communities and government in partnership that deliver development." Otumfuo said the chieftaincy institution would be good agent of development if government saw it, as a partner rather than an adversary. In this direction, he advised governments against actions that interfered with the growth of the institution.

President Kabba expressed his resolve to work with traditional leaders in his country to promote the welfare of the citizenry. He however, bemoaned the increasing incidence of succession disputes plaguing the institution, saying it posed a big danger to its stability and survival.

President Kabba said there was the need for bold guidelines to streamline the institution to safe it from eventual demise. He expressed the hope that the cordial ties being forged between the traditional institutions in Ghana and Sierra Leone would promote better understanding and enhance development.

The Asantehene, who is accompanied by a retinue of chiefs, traditional leaders and courtiers, was scheduled to address the National Council of Paramount Chiefs in Bo, the capital of the Southern Province. He will also visit number 9 Howe Street, where the British Governor of the Gold Coast in Sierra Leone confined King Agyeman Prempeh for four years before he was sent to Seychelles.

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