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02.10.2005 General News

GAF returns gold ornaments to Asanteman

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Kumasi, Oct 2, GNA - Lieutenant-General Joseph Boateng Danquah, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has called on Ghanaians to see the Armed Forces of today as well-developed and exquisite professional national entity and committed totally to the realization of the aspirations of the people.

He said the Armed Forces would not relent in their efforts to achieve their expanded goals, which included national development issues and their traditional role of maintaining peace and security of the nation.

Lt-Gen Danquah said this at the handing-over of gold ornaments and regalia from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at a durbar of the Asanteman Council at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on Saturday.

Lord Baiden Powell, a member of the British Colonial Expeditionary Force in 1896, took the ornaments, which included 332 gold weights and 27 gold dusts, away from the Asantehene's palace. In 1951, the wife of Baiden Powell, returned the items to the late Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh II, who instructed that they be kept at the Kumasi Fort for safe keeping.

In 1987, a team representing the Ghana Armed Forces, led by Brigadier G.N. Guomil, then Two Brigade Commander, sent the items to the Ghana Commercial Bank, Kumasi Main Branch, where they had been kept until now.

Lt-Gen Danquah noted that the return of the items to their rightful owners should serve as an opportunity to reinforce the normal bridge of co-operation, build on the trust already achieved and remove all suspicions that might have existed between the Armed Forces and civil society.

He said the Armed Forces were not committed only to the promotion and safeguarding the security and territorial integrity of Ghana. "We are equally committed to the strengthening of our traditional leadership and institutions, which offer the medium for the development of the spiritual and physical nerve centres of the various communities we serve and ultimately, the nation at large".

Lt-Gen Danquah reiterated the resolve of the Armed Forces to support the democratic dispensation and all other national institutions whose existence were guaranteed by the Constitution.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu thanked the government and the Armed Forces for the release of the items and said negotiations for the return of the items started from the tenure of late Otumfuo Opoku Ware II. He said he would continue to press for the release and return of all Asanteman properties including lands and buildings, which had been confiscated by the State on political grounds.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu said the Golden Stool, which was the embodiment of Asanteman was still intact and would continue to unite the people of Asanteman to achieve greater heights in the country.

The Asantehene pledged to protect all properties that belonged to Asanteman and urged the Asantes to rekindle themselves and demonstrate to the world that the Asante Kingdom still existed.