Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It was a cultural feast

A GRAND durbar at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi to climax the 10th anniversary celebration of the enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool, turned out to be a great cultural feast for thousands of local and foreign tourists, as well as leaders from all parts of the globe.

From Spain to South Africa and neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire as well as Togo and Nigeria and across Ghana, they came in their numbers to witness the rich culture of Asanteman which also signified the unifying factor of the Asantehene.

The rich culture and costume of traditional rulers of Asanteman and other parts of the country were in full glare as Otumfuo Osei Tutu II led his paramount, divisional and sub chiefs to celebrate the anniversary at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday.

The durbar grounds witnessed varieties of kente cloths and other traditional costumes, which brought memories of yesteryear, when traditional costume was the other of the day.

The main architect of the durbar, Otumfuo Osei Tutu was not left out of the pomp and pageantry as he danced his way in his palanquin onto the durbar grounds around 11am with his “soul” (Golden Stool) sitting in front of him.

At the rear was a long retinue of palace attendants depicting the various roles they play at the King’s Palace.

What enthralled many people were the presence of four former African Heads of States and a former Prime Minister of Spain who were honoured by the Asantehene for their various contributions to the growth and deepening of democracy on the African continent.

They included His Excellencies Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, a former President of Ghana, H.E. Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana, H.E. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, former President of Sierra Leone, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and H.E. Jose Maria Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain.

They were each decorated with rich kente cloths and a citation accompanying the awards expressed the hope that the awards would inspire incumbent African leaders to follow the shinning examples and footsteps of the former Presidents who constitutionally transferred power to their elected successors peacefully and smoothly.

Also in attendance was Prof John Evans Atta Mills, President of Ghana who was himself adorned in a rich kente cloth over a gold coloured jumper.

On the Asantehene’s entry into the inner perimeter of the stadium, almost everybody present waved their white handkerchief in spontaneous applause for the King.

The thousands of people who had filled the stadium in their numbers, mostly clad in kente and white cloths, some specifically designed for the occasion understood why he was sitting on the Golden Stool.

From head to toe, Otumfuo was dressed in rich kente cloth with ornaments of pure gold adorning his hands and feet. The weight of the gold ornaments made it difficult for him to lift his hands to greet dignitaries who had gathered at the stadium to join him to celebrate the anniversary.

Following the Asantehene was the Asantehemaa, Nana Afua Kobi Serwaa Ampem who also received great cheers for having given Asanteman a great King.

However just before the Asantehene delivered his anniversary speech, the Asantehemaa left the stadium and went back to the Manhyia Palace.

As early as 7am paramount, divisional and sub chiefs had already taken their seats at the durbar ground and residents who were eager to be part of the ceremony were also seated.

Ministers of State, government functionaries and other dignitaries including the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina T. Wood who were also richly dressed in kente cloths and native sandals also added colour to the gathering as they waited patiently for the Head of State, President Mills and the Asantehene.

The dignitaries included Oni of Ife, Oba of Okanade Sijiuwade, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Adebayo, the Osama of Benin, Chief Sir Dr Gabriel Igbenidion all of Nigeria and King Leruo Moltlegi of Bafokeng, South Africa, Madam Winnie Mandela, former wife of Nelson Mandela and Madam Xernona Claytor, a philanthropist and founder of the Prestigious Trumpet Awards.

There were also leaders of the various political parties including Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Presidential Candidates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) respectively in the 2008 elections.

Walking gorgeously in his kente cloth over a gold jumper, President Mills shook hands with the Asantehene on his arrival.

After the President and his entourage had returned to their seats after exchanging greetings with the celebrant King Osei Tutu, other dignitaries including former President Jerry Rawlings adorned in a white top over white trousers went over to greet the Asantehene amidst thunderous applause from the crowd.

Typical of the former President, he responded to the cheers of the crowd by waving and taking a pause to bow. Accompanying the former President was his wife, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings.

Gun wielding military personnel maintained a tight security in the stadium. Accredited media personnel had hectic times taking photographs as well as filming the event as the security men denied them access to where the Asantehene sat.

The crowd at certain times was uncontrollable with the security personnel having a hectic time controlling them. The Bantamahene, Baffour Amankwatia was himself a victim of embarrassment at the hands of the military personnel and his retinue for instance had a hectic time before he was given access to the inner perimeter to take his seat.

Water was a very essential commodity and any time some water was brought into the arena, the speed with which people rushed for some to quench their thirst was better experienced than imagined.

Pickpockets had a field day. The Red Cross was handy to provide first aid to those who developed problems standing in the scorching sun just to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

About 50 people collapsed from hunger and thirst but many were those who were disappointed, as they could not have a clear view of the sacred Golden Stool, which was carried into the arena of the stadium sitting in front of the Asantehene in the palanquin.

It was however on display on a special dais made for it beside where the Asantehene sat.

Friday, April 24, 2009

How prepared in Kumasi for the rains

There have been times in the not-so-distant past when many areas in Kumasi did not seem like a flood-prone area but these days, a lot more neighborhoods in the city have been underwater from the slightest of rains or thunderstorms.
Last week residents were at the receiving end of yet another torrential rainfall, which caused serious damages to properties amounting to thousands of cedis, as a result of poor planning and the bad drainage system of the city.
Many people have been praying for rains to come but in a twist of fate, it looks like Kumasi was not prepared for the floods.
Last week’s rains stretched the virtually collapsed drainage system in Kumasi to its limit. It all started on Easter Monday and throughout the week, the clouds continued to gather and once again the torrential rainstorms hit the city and several other towns in the Ashanti region.
Vehicles in some affected areas such as Atonsu, Ahinsan, Airport roundabout, North Patasi were submerged in the water.
A bridge on the Adiembra-Atasemanso road was not spared as floods washed portions of it away.
In some areas, traders had their possessions swept away as a result of heavy flooding, the cause of which was attributed to choked gutters and the lack of a proper drainage system.
Some had to navigate through the flood, carrying some of their goods on their heads, in order to ferry them to safety.

At the Asafo, Bantama and Ashanti New Town communities, which boasts of a relatively good site plan and well-constructed roads and gutters, store owners displayed their goods in front of their shops convinced that they were protected from running waters from floods. They however, had a shock of their lives, when they realised that the water had filled the gutters and ran onto the main streets, carrying along valuable items.

Vehicular movement also became extremely difficult, particularly for saloon cars, which had no choice, but to park in safe places and allow the "artificially created rivers" to dry up before continuing with their journey.
Reports gathered by the Daily Graphic indicated that many drivers were forced to use alternative routes, as many roads were flooded.
Residents who live in areas highly prone to flooding were also reported to have suffered serious damages to properties, as a result of the torrential rain.
The accompanying strong winds also destroyed some properties, including billboards, while some residents had the roofs of their stores ripped off.
Along the South Suntreso - North Patasi road there was flooding on the road as well as at the Friend’s Garden junction.
With further rains forecast for the entire country the situation is not bound to get better. It therefore behoves on all to prepare for the floods.
Residents have meanwhile blamed city authorities for allocating lands on waterways to private developers, thereby preventing rivers from flowing freely anytime there is a heavy downpour.
The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), have in the past warned residents in the metropolis about the devastating effects of rains and cautioned against building on waterways.
As the rainy season draws near, there was the need to take practical steps to protect lives and property.

However it is not clear residents are adequately prepared for any eventualities as many people continue to throw litter into gutters to block free flow of water as well as continue to build on waterways.
As we look back on past years, we are being urged to think ahead in case the situation is repeated but it looks as if many people living in flood prone areas aren’t aware of the risk, and are not taking any action to prepare for such disruption and damage.
There is therefore the need to encourage people to be aware of the risks they may be facing and also to persuade people to prepare for flooding.

Flooding is a real risk. It is one we know about and one that people can do something practical about. Previous years’ floods have been described as ‘wake-up’ calls, but there are signs that the alarm bells aren’t ringing loudly enough to trigger action by many people.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Photo Exhibition marking 10th anniversary

Pictures show Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene viewing photos of himself at the 10th anniversary Photo Exhibition of his reign. The exhibition opened at the Prempeh Assembly Hall in Kumasi on Wednesday April 15 and would end on Tuesday May 8, 2009. Also in the picture is Professor Irene Odotei, Former Director of the Institute of African Studies and Nana Otuo Serebour II, Juabenhene.An audio-visual and photo exhibition of the achievements of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, for the past ten years has been opened in Kumasi. The three-week exhibition which forms part of activities marking his tenth anniversary as the Asantehene will offer the public the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the achievements of the King.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu himself was presented at the exhibition.

Dignitaries at the function included the Ashanti Regional Minister, Kofi Opoku Manu.

The former Director of the Institute of African Studies, Professor Irene Odotei, noted that the exhibition which showcases the wood works of the Asantehene as well as interaction with world leaders, will serve as inspiration to the public. She therefore advised all to patronize the exhibition so as to learn at first hand, Otumfuo’s numerous works.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kumasi Girls School wall destroyed - As boundry dispute worsens

Daily Graphic Wednesday April 15, 2009 Page 11

Story and Picture: Enoch Darfah Frimpong, Kumasi

The tension between the authorities of the Kumasi Girls High School (KUGHIS) and the chiefs and people of Abrepo over a boundary dispute took a new turn as unknown assailants demolished the school’s wall/
The assailants who were alleged to have been hired by the chiefs of Abrepo destroyed about 100 metres of the wall whose construction had been funded by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) last week.
The matter has since been reported to the Suame Police for investigations and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has been informed about the latest development.
There has been a protracted boundary dispute between the authorities of KUGHIS and the chiefs and people of Abrepo comprising the Apeede and Dufie Royal House which had travelled to many quarters for amicable solution over the years.
Whilst the authorities of the school claim that about 50 private individuals have encroached on its land at Bohyen Abrepo, a suburb of Kumasi and put up residential accommodation making the expansion of the school difficult, the developers claim the land was sold to them by Nana Kwabena Poku, Asantehene’s Apeedehene and Nana Osei Mensah Bonsu representing the Dufie Royal House.
The chiefs on their part claim that the authorities of the school did not pay for the land when it was acquired in 1974; hence they have the right to take parts of the land from the school.
The developers have built without any proper building documents from the appropriate quarters.
An attempt by the authorities of the school to complete a fence wall project, which was started in 2007, was initially interrupted with a suit at the Kumasi High Court filed by Nana Badu Antwi against the Lands Commission, GES and the Board of Governors of the school to put an injunction on the project, but the plaintiff decided to discontinue the case at the third sitting and a fine of GH¢1500 imposed on him.
In July 2008, the chiefs again sent an appeal to the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council (ARCC) for the Regional Minister to intervene since the construction of the wall was going to deny the developers access to their homes.
The then Regional Minister, Mr Emmanuel A. Owusu Ansah in arriving at an amicable resolution after personally inspecting the entire stretch of the school’s boundary which had been encroached upon asked the school’s authorities to let go off the lands, which had already been encroached upon in the interest of peace.
He ordered that the school authorities should construct the fence wall to protect the remaining lands and leave a space of not less than 40feet behind the wall so as to give the encroaching developers, access to their various homes.
The Regional Minister was able to come up with the resolution when he met with the authorities of Kumasi Girls, the Chiefs of Abrepo and some of the private individual developers in July 2008.
However, in March this year, the Apeede and Dufie Royal House sent a new petition to the Ministry of Lands and Forestry whilst some of the private developers who have encroached on the schools land, describing themselves as Abrepo Concerned Citizens Association also sent a petition to the Minister of Education for intervention.
The petitioners claimed that in 1996 the Ghana Education Service (GES) recommended that 20-acres out of the 100-acre land which was acquired by the school should be given to the royal family in other to prevent further trouble or encroachment and bring about peace.
They contended that ever since the mediation by the GES, the Board of Directors of the school has refused to honour the agreed terms of settlement by the GES.
In a response to the petition, the school authorities explained that the GES in 1996 never agreed to cede 20-acres of the land to the chiefs, rather the GES only recommended that the lands be given to the chiefs in the interest of peace.
Again, the school authorities said the GES in its reply in 1996 made it clear that “no one had legitimate right to cede any peace of government land to anyone”.
They said in any case, evidence on the site shows that more than 20-acres of the school land have already been sold to individual developers by the chiefs and there are volumes of letters from the Lands Commission and GES but none has been adhered to by the chiefs and elders.
The school authorities explained that the contract to build the fence wall along the legally surveyed boundary was awarded by the government through the GETFund to help stop further encroachment and also to protect the students.
The Board Chairman and the Headmistress of the School, Mr E. Asamoah-Yaw and Ms Mary Kraah told the Daily Graphic that they would wish for peace to prevail on campus to ensure effective teaching and learning.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, bearing in mind the importance he attaches to education is said to have expressed displeasure at the destruction of the school’s fence wall when the matter was reported to him.

Heavy rains wash away bridge


A damaged bridge at Adiembra Nsuom on the Adiembra – Atasemanso road in Kumasi.
A deluge of rainfall on Easter Monday apart from preventing revelers from having fun washed out a bridge on the Adiembra – Atasemanso road in Kumasi.
According to eyewitnesses the waters began receding around lunch time without getting into any homes in the area and that the bridge collapsed at about 5:30pm as the floods washed parts of the bridge away.
Fortunately no injuries or accidents were recorded at the site. It took the intervention of residents to use tables and tree branches as warning signs to prevent a mishap.
The road was closed to traffic on Monday.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Book on Otumfuo launched

Picture shows Sir Dr Chief Gabriel O. Igbenidion, the Essam of the Benin Kingdom in Nigeria, launching the book. On the left is Mr Kojo Yankah, the author of the book

A WHOPPING amount of approximately GH¢300,000 was last Wednesday realised at the launch of a 96-page book that details the achievements of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in his 10year reign on the Golden Stool.
The book titled, “Otumfuo Osei Tutu II: The King on the Golden Stool” covers the most important aspects of the Asante Kingdom and life – the historical, political, economic, cultural, social and religious – culminating in the achievements of the Asantehene.
It was officially launched at the Manhyia Palace by Sir Dr Chief Gabriel O. Igbenidion, the Essam of Benin Kingdom in Nigeria as part of activities marking the 10th anniversary celebrations of the coronation of the Asantehene as occupant of the Golden Stool.
Sir Igbenidion, whose title Essam, means the richest man set the tone for the great patronage at the launch, when he purchased the first copy of the book at US$50,000.
He later purchased 5000 other copies of the book for supply to students of Igbenidion University in Nigeria.
A paper-back of the book sells at GH¢15 whilst the case binding goes for GH¢40.
Sir Igbenidion again the fourth copy for the Asantehemaa, Nana Afua Kobi Serwaa Ampem at US$20,000.
The Essam of Benin Kingdom did not end there. He also purchased copies for Archbishop Emeritus Kwasi Sarpong and the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Opoku-Manu at US$5000 each and 50 other copies at US$100 each for chiefs in Asanteman. Picture shows Chief Igbenidion in a handshake with the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

Global Haulage Limited purchased the second copy at GH¢50,000 while Avalon Petroleum in Ghana purchased the third copy at US$20,000.
Corporate bodies, chiefs, educationists and technocrats also bought copies of the book at various sums of money.
Sir Igbenidion commended Asantehene for giving meaning to traditional rule through innovative programmes for the benefit of his subjects.
Mr Kojo Yankah authored the book, which comprises of 12 chapters whilst Unimax Macmillan published it.
Mr Yankah said he was motivated by the sterling leadership of Asantehene, since his enstoolment a decade ago and that informed his writing of the book.
He said he had already written six other books but said writing about the Asantehene had always been his dream and it was dream come true for him especially as the King was celebrating his 10th anniversary.
Mr Yankah said there have been so many traditions and values which has been lost over the years because they were not written down.
“Ashanti pride and culture is a commodity Ghana as a whole should be proud of”, he said.
Mr Yankah explained that what was contained in the book was only a slice about the Asantehene and Asante culture and that a detailed book would be published on the 20th anniversary of the Asantehene.
He said it was important for traditional rulers not to participate in politics because of the sacred role they play in other not to prejudice their actions on political lines.
Mr Eddie Addo, the Managing Director of Unimax Macmillan said his outfit offered to publish the book because of the numerous strides and achievements of the Asantehene.
“We were left with no choice but to publish this book about the Asantehene when we were contacted”, he said.
He said in most areas, traditions and trade secrets had been lost because they were not written down for posterity.
Archbishop Emeritus Peter Kwasi Sarpong, the immediate past Kumasi Metropolitan Archishop of the Catholic Church commended Mr Yankah for the good work done and hoped the public would patronise the book.