Source: Dr. George Osei-Tutu Darkwah | Constitutional Lawyer and Sociologist
I refer to the recent comments made by the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Mr. Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, on Wednesday, 9th May 2018 on PEACE FM (“Kokroko Morning Show”), in relation to whether or not the Asntehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu 11 is a “King”, and I was extremely disappointed with his arrogance, impudence and the “authoritative” manner in which he displayed his ignorance on air to Ghanaians.
According to Mr. Kweku Baako, it is not written anywhere in the 1992 Constitution that, a Chief in Ghana can be described as a “King”, and therefore, despite the nostalgic feelings the Asantes may have in calling the Asantehene as a King, in order to boost their cultural pride, the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, however, does not recognised the Asantehene as a King.
This is misleading and a complete ignorance of the law coming from an ignoramus, who does not understand the workings of the Constitution and is hiding under the cloak of republicanism to drag the name of the Asantehene in the mud and lower his authority and reputation in the eyes of Ghanaians and the international community.
I think that Mr. Kweku Baako and those who think like him need some education in Constitutional Law. Significantly, according to Article 11 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, Common Law and Customary Law are part of the Laws of Ghana, and therefore, if customary law describes the Asantehene as a King, then, it follows logically that, the Constitution also recognises the Asantehene as a King.
Invariably, Customary Law, as defined by Article 11 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, is part of the laws of Ghana, and therefore, any cultural practices, norms, beliefs and conventions acceptable under customary law are considered part of the Constitution.
Thus, despite the Republican status of Ghana, the Constitution, ipso facto, recognises the Asantehene as a King.
Apart from customary law, Section 58 of the Chieftaincy Act, 2008 (Act 759) also recognises the Asantehene as the “primus inter pares” of all the Paramount Chiefs in Ghana.
It is also noteworthy that, the Asantehene is the only chief in Ghana who can be described, customarily and legally, as a King.
It is regrettable that, some natives of Akyem-Abuakwa – such as, Nana Asante-Bediatuo (Executive Secretary to President Akufo-Addo), Gabby Otcher Asare Darko (Former Executive Director of Danquah Institute) and others – are making frantic efforts, not only to elevate the Okyenehene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori-Panin 11 to the status of a King, but also, to equate the Okyenhene on the same level as the Asantehene.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Asantehene is considered as the only King in Ghana mainly because of the following:-
(a) First, the Asantehene is the only chief in Ghana whose authority and control over Paramount Chiefs extend beyond the Ashanti Region to other traditional areas in other regions in Ghana – such as, Volta, Eastern, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Western and Northern Regions. Indeed, the Okyenehene’s jurisdiction does not even extend to Manya-Krobo or Akwapim traditional areas in the Eastern Region.
(b) Second, the Asantehene is the only chief in Ghana who can enstool or destool a paramount chief. Thus, unlike, the Okyenhene, the Asantehene is over and above a paramount chief.
(c)Third, the Asantehene is the only chief in Ghana who has absolute control and authority over all the lands in one particular region. Thus, unlike the Okyenehene (whose authority is limited to lands in Akyem-Abuakwa traditional area), the Asantehene’s authority covers, not only the whole of Ashanti Region but also, extends to other regions and beyond the borders of Ghana.
(d) Fourth, the Asantehene has the power to customarily confer titles like, “Osagyefo” to paramount chiefs and other distinguished personalities, and therefore, the title “Osagyefo” cannot be equated to the title “Otumfuo”.
Indeed, the late Asantehene, Otumfuo Agyeman Prempeh II conferred the title “Osagyefo” on Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (First President of the Republic of Ghana) for the distinguished role he played towards the political independence of Ghana.
Apart from the needless and ridiculous arguments by some people to equate the status of Okyenehene to that of the Asantehene, I am extremely disgusted by the political mischief of some leading National Democratic Congress (NDC) members and communicators to create a rift between the Ashantis and the Akyems.
The politicisation of the perceived rivalry between the Ashantis and the Akyems is rather unfortunate, and all those NDC members spreading falsehood and propaganda to discredit the Asantehene must be ashamed of themselves.
The Asantehene is above politics, and it is noteworthy that, the wife of the Asantehene (who is a Lawyer by profession), Ms. Julia Ama Adwapa Amaning (currently known as Lady Julia Osei-Tutu) is a native of Akyem-Abuakwa.
In light of the above, I humbly plead with Mr. Kweku Baako, Nana Asante Bediatuo, Gabby Otchere Asare-Darko and others (including some leading members and communicators of the NDC) to desist from their republicanism theories and derogatory comments to mislead Ghanaians and denigrate the Asantehene.
Undoubtedly, the Asantehene is the only “KING” in Ghana, and he is recognised by the 1992 Constitution under the customary laws of Ghana.
The Ashanti Kingdom is a home of peace, and the Asantehene should be left alone in peace.