The reverence and elevation accorded the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in Ghana and in the West African sub-region is unparalleled.
As he celebrated his 69th birthday yesterday, May 6th, at the St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church in Kumasi, the dignitaries that attended the ceremony and the flurry of well-wishes from a cross-section of Ghanaians reiterates his significance.
Speaking at the ceremony, Vice President of Ghana, Alhaji Dr. Mahammudu Bawumia, didn't mince words in his praise of the ruler of the Asante kingdom. He said: "His Majesty continues to play a critical role in the Ghana project, and his constant advice and guidance has been a tremendous asset to Ghana’s growth and development."
Coincidentally, the birthday thanksgiving aligned with the 20th anniversary with his enstoolment on the golden stool.
His 20th anniversary commemoration took place on the 21st of April 2019, at the Dwabirem of the Manhyia Palace. It was climaxed by a big durbar that was attended by the likes of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin, the vice president of Suriname and Torgbui Sri, the Awomefia of the Anlo state.
Born as Nana Barima Kwaku Duah, Otumfuo Osei Tutu has been the monarch since 26 April 1999 following the death of his predecessor Otumfuo Opoku Ware II.
Otumfuo's two-decade reign has been characterized by a numerous achievements and milestones both in Ghana and in the West African sub-region.
These achievements span from peace mediation, education, technology, humanitarian services and many others.
We, at Pulse Ghana, has therefore chronicled five (5) of these milestones that sits at the top of Otumfuo's tenure as the Asantehene.
Restoring peace to Dagbon
The role of the Asantehene in the restoration of peace and the subsequent enskinment of an overlord for the people of Dagbon cannot be overemphasized.
In 2002, after the unfortunate murder of Ya Na Yabuku Andani, regent of Dagbon, then President John Agyekum Kuffour instituted the Committee of Eminent Chiefs headed by Osei Tutu II to intervene.
The committees' mandate included facilitating negotiation and mediation talks between the Andani and Abudu royal families, and drawing a roadmap for the restoration of peace in the Kingdom of Dagbon and in November 2019, the Committee finally made a peace pact with the feuding factions.
This led to performance of the funerals of Mahamadu IV and Yakubu II from December 14, 2018 to January 18, 2019. These were then followed by the investiture of Ya-Na Abukari Mahama as substantive king of the Kingdom of Dagbon.
Otumfuo Education Fund
Shortly after his enstoolment in 1999, the Asantehene instituted an educational fund to help the youth in the Ashanti Region.
The Executive Director of the Foundation, Dr Thomas Agyarko-Poku has said that 301,980 students have received full scholarships and bursaries.
"They include 25,756 people who have received full scholarships to pursue education at various levels and 276,224 others who received some form of financial support ranging from, bursaries for part payment of fees, accommodation, stationary, clothing transportation and airfare as well as admission examination fees", he said.
Mediation of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology riots
In October 2018, protests by students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology turned violent which led to destruction of school properties.
The students alleged that the University authorities have abandoned them and the security on campus were manhandling them. They also called for the resignation of the Vice Chancellor of the University,
However, the intervention of the Chancellor of the University, Otumfuo Osei Tutu led to the reopening of the school after it was closed indefinitely by the Ashanti Regional Minister. The Asantehene also set up a committee to investigate the causes of the riot by students.
Influenced IMF's aid to Ghana
In July 2016, ex-President John Mahama revealed the significant role of the Asantehene in the bailout the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave Ghana.
He said that Otumfuo’s intervention at the IMF had actually facilitated an assistance which helped to sustain the economy.
10-year development plan for Kumasi
Otumfuo Osei Tutu unveiled a 10-year development plan for Kumasi in April, 2019.
The plan also includes an initiative to industrialize the local economy to scale up employment and create wealth in the city.
The projects lined up under the plan are estimated to cost about $400 million to be sourced mainly from the private sector.