Otumfuo chalks 25 years on Golden Stool today
Otumfuo chalks 25 years on Golden Stool today
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Otumfuo chalks 25 years on Golden Stool

Today marks 25 years of the enthronement of Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

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However, the Silver Jubilee anniversary will be marked on Akwasidaekese on June 12 at Dwabrem, Manhyia Palace.

To herald the day, there were spectacular fireworks in Kumasi last night, which was witnessed by Otumfuo.

On April 26, 1999, Barima Kwaku Duah, as he was then known, took the Busumuru sword and with his kuntunkuni cloth dropped to his waist, swore the customary oath to the chiefs of Asanteman. The event was witnessed by thousands of Asantes and other well-wishers.

It was at the occasion that he adopted the name Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. He is a direct descendant of the 17th-century founder of the Asante Kingdom, Osei Tutu I.

PROFILE OF OTUMFUO OSEI TUTU II ASANTEHENE

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is the 16th Asantehene, (King of the Asante). He ascended the Golden Stool on April 26, 1999. He is a direct descendant of the founder of the Asante Kingdom, Osei Tutu l.

Biography

Born on 6th May 1950 and named Barima Kwaku Dua, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is the youngest of the five children of Nana Afua Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, Asantehemaa (Queenmother of Asante). From early childhood, Barima Kwaku Dua came under the tutelage of his Uncle, Oheneba Mensah Bonsu who had been enstooled as Hiahene in 1952.

Oheneba Mensah Bonsu, therefore, ensured that Barima Kwaku Dua benefited from a childhood of careful grooming in Asante traditions and statecraft.

The young Royal was given his Secondary Education at Sefwi Wiawso Secondary School in the Western Region of Ghana where his guardian was Nana Kwadwo Aduhene II, Omanhene (Paramount Chief) of Sefwi Wiawso Traditional Area. Barima Kwaku Dua returned to Kumasi in 1969 and enrolled at the Osei Kyeretwie Secondary School. He then moved to Accra in 1971 and was admitted at the Institute of Professional Studies, Legon for a course in Accountancy. 

Two years later, he travelled to the United Kingdom and continued his Accountancy Studies at the Kilburn Polytechnic. He later attended the University of North London where he read Human Resource Development and Public Administration.

By the time he returned to Ghana in 1989 to establish his own business, Transpomech International (Ghana) Ltd., he had behind him a wealth of experience which he had gathered working as Senior Consultant with Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company of Toronto; Finance Officer at the British firm Oxon, in London; and as Personnel Administrator at the Manpower Services Commission attached to Brent Council in London.

His ascension

Barima Kwaku Dua’s nomination to succeed his late brother Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, as Asantehene, was received with universal acclaim in the Asante Kingdom and Ghana in general. He ascended the Golden Stool with a natural gift of calm and radiance, which instantly inspires loyalty and motivates people round him. He learnt values of courtesy and tact in dealing with both his peers and subjects; he had grown up with a conviction that traditional leadership rests on a capacity to reconcile, mend, heal wounds and motivate people.

Vision and traditional accomplishments

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has won great admiration for the unique brand of leadership he has provided the people of Asante, in particular, and Ghana in general, since he assumed the high office of Asantehene and the enormous responsibilities that go with the position. Ever mindful of the importance of peace and stability to good governance, one of his first tasks was to encourage his people to seek the path of arbitration instead of litigation in numerous land and succession disputes that had plagued Asanteman for decades.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has brought peace and reconciliation to his Kingdom ever since he has been in power. So far he has been able to settle over five hundred land and Chieftaincy disputes which could have sparked of agitations and conflicts in his Kingdom and elsewhere. He has established a solid foundation for co-operation between tradition and modernism, by emphasizing the need for tradition to redefine itself in a rapidly changing world without losing its essence.

In recognition of this unique leadership role, the Government of Ghana appointed him Chairman of a Committee of Eminent Chiefs to resolve the Yendi Skin Affairs which had already resulted in the murder of the King of Dagbon and other sub-chiefs and whose effect was the looming conflict which could have destabilized Ghana as a whole. A lot of work has been done in this sphere and the intervention has stemmed the tide favorably.

He has been able to perform these tasks with great wisdom and tenacity of purpose, earning for himself remarkable respect among the people. The vision of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II encompasses education, health and economic development.

New Initiatives

He set up the Otumfuo Education Fund to generate resources, as an effort to provide opportunities for quality Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Vocational Education not only in his Kingdom, but also in Ghana generally. In 2000, he embarked upon a vigorous campaign to draw attention to the benefits of individual/group sponsorship of the education of orphaned children. Since its inception, the Otumfuo Education Fund has benefited over 5,000 students at various levels of education.

He has also set up the Serwaa Ampem Aids Foundation for children under the leadership of his wife, Lady Julia Osei Tutu to help children who have become victims of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

These two bodies now operate under the umbrella of the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Foundation whose mandate appears unrestricted and which is doing remarkably well in the area of supporting people in different spheres of endeavor.

It was his keen determination to enhance the quality of education of Ghanaians that he received the commendation of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, conferring on him the Symons Award in April, 2000.

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International recognition

Besides this, the underlisted Universities have given him Honorary Doctorate Degrees.

Essex County College Newark, U.S.A - May 22, 2001

University of Maryland, Eastern Shore U.S.A - May 25, 2001

Savannah State University U.S.A - June 6, 2001

University of Glasgow, Scotland - June 2001

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Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology - December 15 2001

University of Ghana Legon, Ghana - March 12, 2004

Igbinedeon University, Okada, Nigeria - November 25, 2007

Metropolitan University, London - December 3, 2007

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To crown it, he has been appointed Chancellor of one of the most prestigious universities in Africa, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.

Another initiative of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is the Health Fund he has established to pursue a basic health care plan whose laudable objectives include financial and material support for the reduction of maternal and infant mortality, glaucoma and other eye diseases, Buruli Ulcer (which has become the bane of many rural dwellers in the country), as well as the eradication of Guinea worm disease.

In this direction, Otumfuo is supporting Rotary Club’s campaign to promote inoculation of children against the six killer diseases including polio.

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