The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has advocated the use of the traditional system to facilitate dialogue between contending political actors to encourage consensus building and minimize tension and acrimony in national politics.
Otumfuo observed that, by taking that path, an additional layer of the support mechanism will be created to sustain national cohesion and stability. “It is an option derived from our tradition which will strengthen the foundations of our democracy. We should be able to settle differences that impact the economic development of the country,” he emphasized.
In a keynote address at the St Andrews Africa Summit (SAASUM) in Scotland on Saturday, September 16, 2023, the King said contrary to the misconceptions of the past, the evidence is that wherever traditional leadership is strong, they are able to maintain peace and national cohesion. He spoke on the Traditional Leadership in a Modern Society.
Pillar of Peace
It was a well attended event with the organizers eulogizing Otumfuo for the many positives he has chalked especially in the areas of education, health, environment and peace.
They mentioned specifically the prestigious ‘Pillar of Peace’ award which he received at the Africa Premier Leadership Awards (APLA) for leading Dagbon to peace after many years of a devastating chieftaincy dispute.
Taking his audience which included academics, business leaders and students through the history of traditional leadership on the continent, the Asantehene said traditional leaders offer useful advice and counsel to political leaders and serve as link between them and the ordinary people.
Zooming in on Asante traditional system, Otumfuo said it is very democratic and accommodating. “We have created stools for all the settler communities who are represented on the Kumasi Traditional Council. Our system of adjudication is open and democratic .”
Otumfuo paid tribute to the five Presidents in the 4th Republic for the respect and cooperation they have accorded him in the 24 years of his reign. “I can only pay tribute to all of them for their exemplary service and commitment to the common good . “They’ve all accorded us the respect and honour and have been opened to counsel as circumstances demanded,” he stated.
He said the cooperation Manhyia Palace has received from the five presidents was because “they have all been decent and well steeped in the cultures and traditions of their people and conversant with their chiefs.“
Otumfuo, however, observed that the system of governance places serious impediments on traditional rulers in the governance of the nation.
Otumfuo stressed the need for the current generation of Africans to stand up and challenge the distortions of the past . “We hope great institutions like St Andrews University, through forums such as this, will be part of the quest to revisit positivity in the study of African affairs. It is a reason I’m here to share our thoughts on traditional leadership in the modern democratic society,” he stated.
Taking a look at the resurgence of military takeovers in Africa , His Majesty said the development suggests that something has gone seriously wrong.
But, regardless of the circumstances, he stated that military interventions do not offer solutions to challenges facing the continent.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II said “the coups are telling us that we have to better manage our economies to break he cycle of poverty and unemployment. “It also tells us that something has gone wrong with our vaunted democracy that needs urgent fixing.”
Nevertheless, the King pointed out that coups cannot be the antidote to the challenges of the continent.
“The critical issue is how to build the economy to create jobs for the people, provide education and healthcare for the people,” he said.