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25.04.2019 Feature Article

20 Years on the Golden Stool: How's the Ashanti King fared in two decades?

20 Years on the Golden Stool:   How's the Ashanti King fared in two decades?

The streets of Kumasi--- the Ashanti regional capital aren't paved gold. But the boots of the people are full of pride.

Ashanti is culturally endowed.
Arguably, the Ashanti kingdom or region is/was seen as the bastion of rich culture, norms and mores in Africa.Take a ride from Manhyia to Kajetia and you'd see what I'm talking about.

Asante Kotokohene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is 20 years on the Golden Stool (Sika Dwa Kofi).

So, the king and Asanteman have been marking the anniversary with great pomp.

And I'm sitting here musing on something that could perhaps be viewed by some as insignificant. But significant or insignificant, I think it needs be said or asked.

Ever wondered how some childhood friends of Otumfuor think about him now?

For instance seeing him today, dressed majestically, carried in palanquin, flanked by paramount and divisional chiefs: Seeing dignitaries coming from far and near --trooping in and out serenading him with praises and best wishes.

Question is:

  • Do these friends have any fond memories of Kwaku Dua (his private name) in the yester-years?
  • How many of them played in the sand with him during elementary school days?
  • How many of them probably teased him, called him names, bullied him or probably ignored him?

And how many of them probably had the inkling that the young royal would one day assume the monarchical throne.

I should point out that not everyone born royal could be a king or chief. Otumfuor, certainly, exudes power and influence. He's blessed with wisdom and wealth. He's majestic and adorable. However, he'd a very humble beginning.

The occupant of the Golden Stool once sat on a wooden chair at Sefwi- Wiawso Secondary Secondary. You thought he went to some of the affluent schools in Kumasi like Prempeh, Opoku Ware. Or the likes of Mfantsipim, Adisadel, and St. Augustine's in (Cape Coast) or Achimota college, Presbyterian Boys' Secondary school in Accra.

Nana Kwaku Dua probably got teased and spanked one hundred times and over.

Yes, his mother wouldn't spare him the rod if he misbehaved.

And who says royals don't get the beat?
He cried like his peers, even though he walked majestic, talked majestic and did things majestically. I'm told he loved his mom's homemade foods 'Abunuabunu' soup, which often tamed his hunger.

Akufo Addo praises Otumfuor
Ghana's President Akufo-Addo, a long time friend of the Asantehene, describes him as a 'pillar of peace' and 'development' in the country.

At a grand durbar to climax Asantehene’s 20th Anniversary which coincided with the celebration of ‘Akwasidaekese’ festival at Manhya Palace, Mr. Akufo Addo underscored that it had been an amazing journey for the king so far, with his imprints stamped firmly on many aspects of the life of Asanteman, and Ghana in general. The results of which he noted 'are evident for us all to see'.

The "Akwasideikese' festival is marked every five years.

He also said this about him:
“Helping to ensure access to education through the Otumfuo Education Fund, joining the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS, re-energising the institution of Chieftaincy, and, recently, as Chairperson of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, helping to bring peace, at last, to Dagbon, and to install a new Yaa-Na, are but a few of his many achievements and successes as Asantehene”

On behalf of the government and people of Ghana, Mr. Akufo Addo said: "I join all well-wishers in extending warm, hearty congratulations to Otumfuo Osei Tutu Ababio on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his ascension onto the great Golden Stool.

“From my days as his lawyer to those as Leader of the Opposition, he was a source of sound and consistent advice. This has not changed since I became President of the Republic," the president recalled.

It is my prayer that Almighty God will continue to bless him with wisdom, good health, long life, and prosperity, and, certainly, another 20 years on the throne and my hope is that our friendship will continue to remain strong,"he added.

Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and his wife, Second Lady Samira Bawumia, First Lady, Rebecca Akufo Addo, Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye and his wife, Former president John Mahama and many dignitaries attended the event.

Beside, over 40 international dignitaries, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, are expected to attend the event.

Other Dev'ts by Otumfuor
Otumfuo is said to have played a key role in bringing government's development projects to Kumasi, in particular, including the Kejetia Market Redevelopment Project, the Kumasi City Mall and currently has initiated the construction of the Kumasi Airport City to house first-class offices and businesses.

Education
Born some 69 years ago, Otumfuo Osei Tutu attended the Sefwi-Wiaso Secondary School for his GCE Ordinary Level, then to the Osei Kyerekyere Secondary School for his Advanced Level certificate before proceeding to the then Institute for Professional Studies (IPS) to study accounting.

He later went to the United Kingdom for further studies where he also worked as a professional accountant and had stints in other businesses before he was enstooled as the Asantehene on April 26, 1999.

The Oyoko Piesie was enthroned on the Golden Stool as the 16th Asantehene on 26 April 1999. And the kingdom was founded more than three hundred years ago.

Meanwhile, the three-month-long anniversary celebration will end on 12 May 2019 with a golf competition at the Royal Golf Club in Kumasi.

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong
Gordon Offin-Amaniampong, © 2019

This author has authored 269 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: GordonOffinAmaniampong

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