On the WhatsApp audio clip in which a woman, presumably of noble and/or royal status, is heard virulently accusing Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II , of having invested the wealth of Asanteman and, thus, the wealth of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana abroad, at the expense of his subjects and the good and hardworking people of Ghana, we also learn that The Asantehene has purchased a “mansion” – this is actually the word of the accuser – in one of the plush or upper-class suburban communities in the State of Maryland, just outside the United States of America’s capital city of Washington, DC, in which Otumfuo has allegedly settled his Lebanese-descended paramour and her children. Now, we are not informed about the fact of whether Nana Osei-Tutu, II, has any issue or children by the unnamed Lebanese woman who is alleged to be living in his Maryland “mansion.” Not that it would matter to any of us anyhow.
In the past, yours truly has even backed The Asantehene on some of these allegations. But such backing has been primarily and invariably predicated on what he perceived to be the imperative need for some radical changes to be effected in the Akan traditional inheritance system. You see, The Asantehene’s wife is an Akyem relative of yours truly; but we have absolutely no personal or physical acquaintance with one another, in much the same manner that the brutally assassinated Mr. Joseph Boakye Danquah-Adu, then the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Akyem-Abuakwa-North, was a paternal uncle that he never met. You see, under the Akan inheritance system, The Asantehene’s wife, Julia, has absolutely no inheritance in the Asante monarchical system or the wealth and material resources of Manhyia. Which means that upon the passing of Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, whatever His Majesty owned would automatically and immediately revert to the collective ownership of the Manhyia Royal Family. I am not aware, as of this writing, to what extent Chairman Jerry John Rawlings’ Intestate Succession Law covers the right of inheritance of The Asantehene’s wife and his children.
It is this problematic system of inheritance that may very well have motivated Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, to create some wealth outside of the Asante Kingdom or the Asante Federation, the objective here being that following the inevitable physical transitioning of Nana Osei-Tutu, II, hypothetically speaking, his widow, and daughters would have some properties or material wealth to fall back on that could not be easily confiscated by the deceased king’s kinsfolk and clansmen and women. You see, according to the constitution or customary practice, both the wife of the Asantehene and the couple’s children are not bona fide members of the Manhyia or the Oyoko Royal Family; they are, however, entitled to some form of nominal protection. So, in a practical sense, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, is the wiser for having allegedly created considerable wealth outside of his matrilineal and matrilocal Asante Kingdom.
Now, the question that logically needs to be asked is the fact of whether as the “King Solomon” of the postcolonial Asante Federation, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu does not have the lobbying power and influence to cause some significant and radical changes to be made to the Asante and traditional Akan inheritance system. This is the aspect of our culture that I would rather have the critics of The Asantehene, in particular those who publicly accuse him of thievishly stashing caches of wealth outside the country, to be vigorously lobbying for. But, of course, the widely alleged high crimes and misdemeanors of Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, far transcends the mere stashing of substantial wealth outside the country. You see, Dear Reader, when the credibility of the most powerful and influential traditional ruler in Ghana becomes so questionable that an even more questionable former President John Dramani Mahama can publicly issue a press statement literally calling Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, a liar before the Ghanaian and the greater International Community at large, then, of course, it clearly cannot be gainsaid that, indeed, there is a problem with both the personality and the monarchy of Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II.
I am also fascinated by the symbolic of $ 5 Million (USD). You see, Dear Reader, in 2005, when a renowned Harvard University professor of African-American descent, Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., decided to engineer my ouster from Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, as reliably related to me by the extant Affirmative Action Officer at my college, to wit, Mr. Harold Bellinger, it was exactly the decent sum of $ 5 Million that Prof. Gates allegedly offered my college’s administrators. I had just returned from a sabbatical leave that I had been granted by my college, when I unsuspectingly decided to pay Mr. Bellinger – whom I considered him to be a friend at the time – a casual visit in his office, with the intention of gifting him a copy of my newly published book titled “Dr. JB Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005), only told by Mr. Bellinger, to my utter horror and discombobulation, the story related above.
Then, we also have on record that round about the summer of 1998, then Nigerian military strongman Gen. Sani Abacha, late, had delivered a brief case containing exactly $ 5 Million (USD) crispy currency notes to the Jerry John Rawlings Posse at the old slave castle at Osu, Accra, which was at the time Ghana’s postcolonial seat of governance. And then, in the WhatsApp audio clip with the still-photograph accompanying the voiceover of the same that was recently circulated on social media or the WhatsApp platform, as it were, and is presently under discussion, the anonymous plaintiff also reported to the global community or anybody who cared to listen, that, indeed, just before the William Atuguba-presided Supreme Court panel that adjudicated the 2012 Presidential-Election Petition commenced sitting, The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, had, in fact, offered the handsome payola sum of $ 5 Million (USD) to have the decision of Ghana’s Apex Court handed down in favor of the then-Interim President John Dramani Mahama and the then-ruling National Democratic Congress.
Aren’t these truly interesting times to be alive and focused on the bizarre phenomenon that is Fourth Republican Ghanaian democratic political culture, Dear Reader?
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
April 5, 2020
E-mail: [email protected]