Kumasi May 14, GNA - Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, has called on African politicians not to sideline traditional rulers but should rather seek genuine partnership with them to promote socio-economic development.
He said chiefs were not in rivalry with politicians and stated that their primary concern was the welfare of people they lead. "It is for this reason that over the years, traditional rulers have been engaged in the development and provision of schools, water and health facilities in their communities".
Otumfuo Osei Tutu was speaking at a durbar of chiefs in honour of the Zambian President, Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, who is on a State visit to Ghana, at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on Saturday. Accompanied by the First Lady of Zambia, Maureen, Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama and some Ministers of State from Zambia and Ghana, President Mwanawasa was treated to the rich Asante culture.
There were artistic performance by the Asantehene's court "kete" and "fontomfrom" dancers, drummers, horn blowers and praise singers. Otumfuo Osei Tutu pointed out that the underlying justification for being a leader was to always promote and protect the collective good of society.
He said chiefs had crucial roles in development and urged them to be deeply involved in efforts to bring progress.
The Asantehene said he was happy that Ghana and Zambia were now making moves to restore the warm bilateral relations and dialogue that existed during the days of the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
President Mwanawasa said he was impressed by the recognition given to traditional rulers by the government in Ghana, adding, "This to me is a learning curve.
I pay tribute to President Kufuor for enlightening me of this aspect of involvement of our traditional leaders in national programmes".
The Zambia President said he was carrying away sweet memories of his historic visit and was convinced that it was going to open the way for more visits both at the government level and between the people of the two countries as well as interactions among their traditional rulers.
He also spoke of the determination of his country to work with Ghana to explore ways to attract investments into the exploitation of natural resources while ensuring that the people living within the confines of the exploited resources enjoyed the fruits of those investments.
Alhaji Mahama had earlier noted that the visit of the Zambian President had consolidated the cordial relationship between the two countries.