STATE OF THE NATION: Has The Otumfuo Lost His Authority?


With the kind of Governance in Ghana and the uncertain nature of the Internet, one is thrown into a hypothetical mode as to what to believe when met with some news items these days, either to believe or not to believe.


A news item I came across, left me wondering if the Ashanti King is really who he is or what we are made to believe he is. How credible is the internet and can it be a reliable news source?


Historically, the Ashanti King is supreme and in the days of old, the punishment for disobeying the King or uttering insulting words against the King, was death or banishment from the Ashanti Kingdom.


Things have changed. The Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) took over the reins of Government in Ghana in 1979 and exposed some indiscretions of some members of the Ashanti Royal family and that destroyed the aura surrounding Manhyia.


It was for that reason that some members of the Royal family, lost their right to the throne and be crowned Kings and occupant of the Manhyia Palace.


Accept it or not, some actions of the AFRC, were in conflict with the customs and cultural traditions of the Ashanti people and they demystified Manhyia in the eyes of many Ghanaians including even Ashantis and since then, the Ashanti King’s reverence has not been the same.


With the advent of the internet, we are all witnesses to how sons and daughters of Ashanti, in the diaspora and even some at home, have launched scathing attacks on the Manhyia and its occupant, Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll, hence my question, has the Ashanti King lost his authority and control over his people?


In 2008, during the Presidency of His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, with the current President as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Presidential candidate for the New Patriotic party (NPP), the Danquah Institute launched a book entitled “The Okyeman Kingdom”. The book outlined the creation of the Okyeman Kingdom with Ofori Payin Amoatia as the overlord to parallel the Ashanti Kingdom of which the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll, is the overlord.


Since then, reverence of the Ashanti King hasn’t been the same especially, with some members of the Akyem Royal family, who openly spoke about the Ashanti King in a manner unbefitting people in government and the King had cause to invite and speak with a few of them at the Manhyia Palace.


Relations between the NPP Government, led by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo and the Ashanti King on the surface seem cordial but observers say underneath the surface, all is not well.


The administration has not dealt well with the Ashantis despite the Region being the party’s stronghold in terms of politics, but they have been denied development.


This is why some Ghanaians believe the President is intentionally destroying the ‘goodwill’ between the people of Ashanti and the NPP since the party’s formation.


Alleged derogatory utterance of the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako aka Chairman Wontumi to the Ashanti King is considered a taboo in the eyes of the Ashanti people, no son or daughter of Ashanti, would speak in such derogatory manner to the Otumfuo and walk free.


There can never be a ‘Kingdom’ in a Kingdom as claimed by the party’s Chairman. “I have built my own Kingdom, I have my own police and military and I will speak my mind to Otumfuo if I disagree on an issue with him. He is nobody”, Wontumi is alleged to have said.


No Ashanti speaks to the Otumfuo in such a derogatory manner and Manhyia would not react, because the King is the owner of the Land and no resident in Ashanti, challenges his authority. It was for this reason that the Kumasi Traditional Council invited the NPP Regional Chairman to Manhyia for questioning.


All of sudden, trending on the internet was the headline “Wontumi is my grandson and won’t disrespect me – Asantehene directs Kumasi Traditional Council to free Wontumi”.


Whether the story on the internet is true or not, fake or real, it’s left many Ashantis confused, especially members of the Asanteman Traditional Council and wondering what would make their King behave so sheepish in the face of grave provocation and outright disregard of his authority.


The rumor is that the President, Nana Akufo Addo has intervened and influenced Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll to be lenient tempering justice with the NPP’s regional Chairman.


The statement from the Ashanti King has dented the image and dignity of his Sub-Chiefs, who make up the Asanteman Traditional Council. Their egos bruised and their subjects would now see them as toothless Bulldogs. Otumfuo has not respected the authority of the Asanteman Traditional Council and his Sub-Chiefs and some of them would never forgive him for making them look very stupid and of no consequence in the eyes of their subjects.


While out of the Manhyia Palace, the expectation of the people of Ashanti was that their King was coming home to deal with Chairman Wontumi for disrespecting the Golden Stool, but now they are very disappointed with the action of Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll.


The President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, has succeeded in destroying the image of the party in the Ashanti Region, using the party’s Regional Chairman to denigrate the Ashantis and their King.


Speculations are that the King’s refusal to reprimand Chairman Wontumi is because of the intervention of the Government. The President is cunningly pushing an agenda to achieve his aim of sending the NPP into opposition by weakening their support in the Ashanti Region.


I have continually said the President, Nana Akufo Addo, has not forgiven the NPP, especially the Council of elders, who in 2008, watched His Excellency J. A. Kufuor denied him the Presidency.


To the ordinary Ghanaian, Wontumi is a loose canon, who speaks without thinking, but all that is happening is a well-orchestrated move to achieve a certain purpose.


This is why some believe all the hullabaloo about Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, is the Akyem Royals making him an escape goat by leading him to the slaughter to be sacrificed for the iniquities of the NPP and J. A. Kufuor, for intentionally denying Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo the Presidency in 2009.


The writing is on the wall. Those who have eyes have seen it. Those who haven’t seen it are the “doubting Thomas” of the NPP, who against all odds are still trumpeting “breaking the eight”.


Source – Jojo Bruce-Quansah


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