Give traditional rulers role in governance

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem, Naa Lamley Bentil & Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II (right) and Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin speaking at the durbar. Pictures: SAMUEL TEI ADANO & EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II (right) and Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin speaking at the durbar. Pictures: SAMUEL TEI ADANO & EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has called for a review of the 1992 Constitution to give traditional rulers defined roles in the country’s governance.

He said such a review would help chiefs shape up the decision-making process and encourage inclusiveness in society.

The Asantehene made the call when he addressed a grand durbar of the chiefs and the people of Akyem Abuakwa at Kyebi yesterday to mark the 75th anniversary of the death of Nana Sir Ofori Atta I.

At the durbar were dignitaries, including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his wife, Rebecca, former President Jerry John Rawlings and his wife Nana Konadu and a host of others.

It saw the tradition and culture of Asantes and Akyems on display.

The meeting of the Asantehene and the Okyenhene, both of whom acceded to their stools in 1999, dispelled the long-held perception of tension between the two traditional groupings.


Democracy

Otumfuo Osei Tutu said the adjudication of cases and the management of traditional issues at the Manhyia Palace reflected, to a large extent, some of the important values of democracy.

For instance, he said, traditional practices at Manhyia gave opportunity to people involved in cases to express themselves and call witnesses before decisions were taken on the issues.

The practice, the Asantehene said, was such that those who were even found guilty in traditional matters became satisfied with the decisions and the transparent process at the palace.

Collaboration

Going forward, Otumfuo Osei Tutu said, it was important for the two traditional leaders to work together and help find solutions to national issues, such as the one confronting the cocoa industry.

He advised the public to disabuse their minds of the long-held perception that Asantes and Akyems had scores to settle.

Rather, he said, the age-old unity and harmony between the Asante Kingdom and Akyems remained unshaken, adding: “Nothing will be allowed to strain our relationship.”

He said Akyems and Asantes were one people with a common ancestral root and, therefore, they would remain great allies.

“I want all to understand that Asantes and Akyems have no issues; we have a long-standing relationship. Our forefathers related very well, and we all came from Adansi and built our communities. Indeed, we are one people,” he stressed.

He recounted how Nana Sir Ofori Atta l wrote letters and helped in bringing back Nana Sir Osei Agyemang Prempeh I from The Seychelles and said that achievement was only one of the remarkable examples of the relationship between the two ethnic groups.

Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin

Earlier in his welcome address, the Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, had described the unity and relationship between him and the Asantehene as very cordial, which had been cherished by political leaders of the country.

He expressed gratitude to the Asantehene for the visit to Akyem Abuakwa, which he said was a trip to exhibit unity and showcase to the entire nation that Asanteman and Okyeman were one people.

The Okyenhene said apart from being the Okyenhene, Nana Sir Ofori Atta I, who died 75 years ago, was able to mobilise people for meaningful engagement and development.

He said the legacy Nana Ofori Atta bequeathed to the people of Akyem Abuakwa and the rest of the country should be replicated across the country.

Education

On education, the Okyenhene said Nana Sir Ofori Atta was very keen on ensuring that most people in the then Gold Coast benefited from education, for which reason he established the Abuakwa State College and introduced scholarship schemes similar to what the Asantehene was doing now.

He said it was no wonder that Nana Ofori Atta’s grandson, President Nana Akufo-Addo, was replicating what his grandfather had done by introducing the free senior high school policy.