The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II last Thursday stepped out to inspect a number of ongoing development projects under construction in Kumasi and threw his support for the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) in the ongoing decongestion exercise of the Central Business District (CBD).
The Asantehene said it was improper for traders to take over pedestrian walkways and streets to do business and urged them to move away from the streets.
He said the satellite markets were there and that the traders should relocate there and stop playing politics with the entire exercise.
“We need to support it and stop people from doing business on streets and pedestrian walkways”, he said.
The King’s inspection tour which took him to project sites at the Kumasi Sports Stadium, Asafo Interchange, City Hotel, the Jubilee Park and the Affordable Housing at Asokore Mampong was greeted with thunderous appellations from residents of the metropolis, coming in the wake of rumours that the King had passed on to his ancestors.
Otumfuo also went to the Central Business District (CBD) to have first hand information on the decongestion exercise currently being undertaken by the KMA.
The city of Kumasi went gay on Thursday morning as the Asantehene waved back at the large and happy crowd that followed his entourage and sang appellations.
The crowd waved and shouted ‘Nana o! Nana o!’ as he moved from one project to the other.
In spite of persistent denials of his death from the Manhyia Palace, many were those who had convictions that the King had really passed on to his ancestors.
An early morning downpour on Thursday that threatened to postpone the planned tour of projects only helped to mystify the rumour.
The tour was the first outing of the King after the Independence Parade of March 6 at the Paa Joe Park at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The King’s entourage, which included the Ashanti Regional Minister Mr E.A. Owusu-Ansah, the Metropolitan Chief Executive, Madam Patricia Appiagyei, chiefs from Manhyia as well as a large media presence stepped out for the inspection at 11am on Thursday.
He first visited the SAT area at Kejetia to observe progress made on the decongestion exercise followed by the City Hotel, Asafo Interchange, Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Jubilee Park and Affordable Housing project at Asokore Mampong.
Contractors at the City Hotel refurbishment project, China Hualong State Corporation assured the Asantehene that they would complete and hand over the project by December, while those working on the Interchange said they would finally finish by end of June 2007.
The Asantehene advised the contractors to ensure that the project was devoid of any structural defects since the people have gone through a lot of inconvenience with traffic congestion as the project drags on.
Astonished by the progress of work at the Kumasi Stadium upon entering the inner perimeter and seeing the beautiful green grass, which was only three weeks old, the Asantehene exclaimed, “Oh Stephano! Thank you very much, that is a good work you have done here”.
This was in apparent reference to the Managing Director of Consar Limited, Mr Stephano Ramalla, contractors undertaking the stadium project.
The Stadium project is 65 percent complete and the contractors have promised to finish on time.
Speaking to the media after the tour, the Asantehene said there was the need for local Ghanaians working with the foreign contractors to take advantage of technology transfer and tap the knowledge of the foreign contractors and don’t allow them to go away with all of them.
He said he was happy that the Asafo Interchange for instance was finally going to be completed and commissioned by July.