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How the Asantehene climaxed the 20th anniversary on the Golden Stool [PHOTOS]

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong and Daniel Kenu
Pictures by Douglas Anane Frimpong and David Paa Kwasi Able
Pictures by Douglas Anane Frimpong and David Paa Kwasi Able

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, publicly expressed joy and “deep gratitude” when he addressed thousands at the Manhyia Palace Dwabirem on Sunday, at a grand durbar which climaxed 20 years of his reign.

“We are humbled by the presence here of so many emissaries, and eminent chiefs who have travelled from far and near, across oceans and continents to share with us tidings of amity and fraternity,” the Asantehene said in his opening remarks.

"We are pleased to welcome His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Suriname, who has made the long journey from the Pacific at the head of a 15-man delegation to be with us. Our thanks goes to our own head of state, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the great honour he has accorded us, and for leading our elder statesmen and former heads of states and indeed the whole nation as our special guest of honour," he added.

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The Otumfuo's anniversary speech, was preceded with other speeches from President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Vice President of Suriname.

Below is a transcribed version of the Asantehene's address by Graphic Online

Your Excellency, the President of the Republic and noble guests, it was by the grace of God that we ascended the Golden Stool to continue the mantle of our forefathers on April 26, 1999.

Throughout our journey, we have sought His [God] guidance and protection and he had never failed us and so we must see some significance in the fact that our Adae Kɛseɛ, commemorating the 20th anniversary of our reign, coincides with one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar, a day of resurrection, a day of hope and renewal for mankind.

You only have to look at this unique assembly here today to feel the manifestation of the hope, and the renewal that beckons for our beloved nation. 

Anlo and Dagbon at Adae Kɛseɛ

For the first time in the history of Ghana, Asanteman welcomed a Yaa Naa from the historic Kingdom of Dagbon in the north and to the coastal Kingdom of Anlo.

Expressing his delight, the Asantehene said, "they have come in all splendour, in peace and brotherhood, not just to share in our moment of joy, but to remind us of our common heritage and the new spirit of peace and unity abiding in Ghana.

"I would also want to let nananom know that on the 2nd of June, the next Akwasidae, we shall be hosting the Okyehene here.

"For 17years, our brothers in Dagbon were in despair from a conflict setting brother against brother, and sucking resources that could have been better spent on economic development for the people," he added.

The Asantehene said through painstaking efforts and applying the centuries-old tradition, peace has been restored and "we are able to welcome a new Yaa Naa to a reborn Dagbon."

Togbe Sri III, Awomefia of Anlo at Adae Kɛseɛ

"Last year, I invited the Awomefia of Anlo state, Togbe Sri III to come for us to ponder over the curious state into which political differences have plunged relations between our two people, we concluded that, there was absolutely no reason why politics should be allowed to undermine the state of amity that has existed between Asante and Anlo since 1824, on which we formalised when King Otumfuo Kofi Karikari and the King of Anlo entered into a sacred pact in 1865, never to lead war against each other."

"That pact, led to the establishment of the establishment of the Anloga community, which still thrives in Kumasi. Today, Togbe Sri and his entourage are back with us to re-affirm our cherished friendship and remove any artificially contrived discord with the potential to undermine the stability of our nation."

"We draw attention to the significance of the presence of our brothers at this Adae Kɛseɛ, because they provide the clearest signpost to a new spirit that is brewing in our nation, the spirit of a resurrected Ghana, united by common heritage and at peace with itself.

"We feel that our bounding duty therefore, in the presence of our noble gathering to address a fervent appeal to His Excellency the President, our former presidents and elder statesmen and the leadership of political parties, who seek to govern our nation to let this signpost guide us to our true destiny, which is a vibrant Ghana, developing in peace and harmony."

"Let us distil the rancour, the bitterness and the violence out of our political discourse and allow our nation to embrace a new era of peace."  

"Therefore on this holiest day, we send a simple but powerful message to our political leaders, let peace rain upon our nation."

'Fulfiling and challenging 20-years reign'

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II said the journey with his 20 years reign has been "both fulfiling and challenging".

"Many are the people who have been with us along the journey, who have contributed with all their might and resources to support and sustain our efforts. I pay tribute to nananom Amanhene and Abrempong for their steadiness in sustaining the unwavering unity and loyalty to the Golden Stool."

"I pay tribute to our royal sons and daughters at home and abroad, whose incredible loyalty has been our greatest source of strength and I pay tribute to our political leaders whose wisdom and courtesy have created and sustained the level of collaboration beneficial to the nation."

"I have had the honour and privilege of working with five heads of state in our 20 years reign and each one has treated us with the utmost courtesy and to each one of them, they have made freely available, our counselling advice, as we help them in the governance of our nation."

"I thank them in equal measure and assure the nation that we will continue to support whoever they choose by their votes to occupy Jubilee House."

And I pay tribute to eminent sons and daughters and friends across the world, men like the former president of the World Bank, James Wolfensen, to our late Busumuru Kofi Annan, the great ambassador of peace and development for all mankind, His Holiness Pope Francis and the Archbishops of Canterbury for giving us the opportunity to reflect the voice of traditional Africa at global level.

"By the grace of God and by the support of nananom, our sons and daughters and friends, who have been true to the vision that we set for Asanteman and our people, bear witness to the impact that we have made on the lives,

The theme for this anniversary was chosen advisedly, deepening our cultural heritage through socio-economic development.  

"The ultimate goal of governance, we know, is to provide for the wellbeing of the people and for years, the responsibility of economic development which will provide for the people's wellbeing has been deemed to belong to almost explicitly to government.

"Traditional leaders, who are the custodians of an undieing heritage have had no space in the development process.

In ascending to the Golden Stool, we took the view that our heritage must mean more than the song and dance which have come to signify our culture. We were convinced that as frontline leaders of the people, particularly in the rural communities, traditional leaders should be the one who inspire and encourage effective development. Indeed, a peep into the history of our colonial past may suggest that such development as the colonial authorities brought to our people were at the behest of enlightened chiefs and of the tiime. 

The Asantehene said "it was from this perspective that we set out our vision to deploy our heritage on the course of development in full support of government.

Education as a priority

We set education as our priority and thankfully, we have provided full education for so many Ghanaians, who otherwise would have been deprived of the benefits of education in their lives. 

"Today we are proud to acknowledge that one of the first batch of recipients of our education awards is a Minister of State in the government of President Akufo-Addo and he joins a long line of recipients who are serving in the traditional, in high public service and in the corporate world.

Besides education, we have developed a programme which has enabled the city of Kumasi, finally achieve the re-development of Kejetia, central market to bring new life to our capital.

We are encouraged by the number of projects such as the Kumasi Mall made possible through our direct interventions and by the number of major corporate bodies, who have had recourse to our good offices in resolving issues and enhancing their operations in Ghana.

We mention in particular, the Obuasi Mine of Anglogold Ashanti, which is back in production, having overcome the danger of closure. 

As we celebrate our achievements over the two decades past, we solemnly renew and to recommit to the vision for the decade ahead. We will work in tandem with government and with willing institutions and partners at home and abroad.

We do so in the spirit that what we do may inspire similar efforts in other parts of Ghana, all of which will inure, ultimately to the total development of our country.

Looking up to the next decade, we will urge the nation an end the culture of dependency now afflicting body politic. 

"Yes it is right to look to government to create the right environment for the triumph of enterprise, and yes, we should look to the emergence of banking and financial institutions, better attuned provide the necessary tools to support endeavour. 

But people must take up the greater challenge to creativity, innovation and enterprise. I believe we have among us sons and daughters with the resources and the capacity and ability when fully utilized can propel Ghana to heights unknown.

We have reason to be proud of our past, but this should really inspire us to aim for a greater future.

Your Excellencies, Nananom, sons and daughters of the Golden Stool, I urge you to rise to battle stations once more, not to shoot at any force, but to shoot for the stars, the stars of glory, of peace and of development for all our people. Long live Asanteman, Long Live Ghana. I thank you very much. 

More to follow...

More to follow...