>From Christian Akorlie, GNA Special Correspondent Bo, Sierra Leone
Bo, Sierra Leone, April 28, GNA - The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has reiterated the call on Ghanaians to eschew parochial tribal interest and work towards the development of the country. He said such strong tribal sentiments had the tendency to derail the peace and reverse the clock of development and progress that the country had so far made.
"The welfare of Ghana is important than seeing oneself as being Asante, Ga or Ewe," the Asantehene Otumfuo said. He was speaking at a meeting with the Ghanaian contingent (GHANABATT 11) of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone at Bo, the second largest city of the country on Thursday.
The Asantehene was in Bo to address the council of paramount chiefs on the role of traditional leaders in governance.
He arrived on Tuesday on a weeklong official visit to Sierra Leone.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said he was not interested in becoming the King of Ghana but only using his position and influence in seeking the welfare of Ghanaians and development of Ghana.
"I am ready to work with any President be he Asante, Ga or Ewe to advance the welfare of the country," he said.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu asked the soldiers to always seek peace and ensure that the sovereignty of the country was maintained at all times to afford rapid development. He stressed:" But above all be at peace with each other and keep relationships that would ensure that you are your brothers keepers."
"We must all be thankful to Ghana for the peace we enjoy now. Lessons from places of conflict should remind us at all times to work for peace." He lauded the commitment of the Ghanaian troops to duty, saying their valour and dedication was internationally acclaimed.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu asked the soldiers to translate the lessons and experiences gained from peacekeeping duties to enhance the development of the country.
Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, Ghana's High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, said the visit of the Asantehen had raised the image of Ghana and showed the richness of the country's culture.
He said the soldiers should be reminded by the scars of war in Sierra Leone to work for peace and good governance back home in Ghana. Lieutenant Colonel William Omane-Agyekum praised the Otumfuo Osei Tutu for his contribution to Ghana 's development, saying his stool had raised chieftaincy to a higher level in the country.
He mentioned the establishment of the Otumfuo education fund and the various development projects as demonstration of the king's valuable contribution to the country's development.
Meanwhile, the Asantehe had also met with the Ghanaian community in Bo and surrounding areas. He asked the Ghanaian residents to be good ambassadors for the country.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu told them rapid progress had been made in Ghana, for instance the great strides in the field of education and freedom of expression. He advised the Ghanaians to channel any problem they might have through the Ghanaian High Commission in Sierra Leone. Mr Raymond Baiden, Chairman of the Residents Association of Keneman, said they were facing tough economic difficulties and were ready to return home to contribute their quota to the country's development.