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H.E. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

Kobina Annan, Jr.

In African communities as well as many others across the globe, there are kings and queens who by virtue of birth hold the highest positions in the their communities’ traditional societies.

In Ghana, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, King of the Ashanti Kingdom and the 16th Asantehene to ascend the royal throne is one such royal.


Otumfuo at his palace


Photo:  Kobina Annan, Jr.

It was not until the end of the 17th century that the grand Ashanti Kingdom emerged in the central forest region of Ghana. Osei Tutu I, military leader and head of the Oyoko clan, founded the Ashanti kingdom. He obtained the support of other clan chiefs and using Kumasi as the central base, subdued surrounding Akan states.

It is imperative that we understand the importance of this historical movement created by the first Asantehene. Initially, the Ashanti Kingdom operated first as a loose network and eventually as a centralized kingdom with an advanced, highly specialized bureaucracy, which in turn led to the Ashanti rule.

Being the first Asantehene (Ashanti king), he was guided by his adviser the priest Okomfo Anokye. The relationship between the king and his priest might not be vastly different from that found in Camelot, in the fable of King Arthur and Merlin.

As his fame and influence grew, so did the need to create a powerful kingdom that would unite the Ashanti’s as a prelude to the unification of all the Akan tribes. In this he was aided by Akomfo Anokye.

The Golden Stool became the embodiment of the political and military unity of this Akan confederacy, which made the Ashanti one of the most historically significant groups in the entire West African region. To this day, the Golden Stool still embodies the focal point of an Ashanti unity, the power of which supports the current occupant of the stool, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene.

With the defeat of Denkyira, then the most powerful kingdom, by Ashanti-speaking forces under Osei Tutu, the idea of a new united kingdom of Ashanti became a reality. Okomfo Anokye invited the various Ashanti chiefs to an important meeting. At this meeting Okomfo Anokye told the Chiefs that he was about to command a Stool from Heaven, with the powers given to him by God. He added that the Stool would rest on the lap of one of the assembled Chiefs. This ritual is quite similar to Merlin’s arrangement for the sword-in-the-stone contest which resulted in Arthur becoming the King of his kingdom.

The Asantahene, who inherited his position along matrilineal lines, has numerous chiefs below him throughout the kingdom who act on his behalf. He also has many counselors with whom he conferrers before making decisions.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is the youngest of the five children from Nana Afua Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, the current Queen Mother of the Ashanti. Born on May 6, 1950 he was given the name Barima Kwaku Dua, but is known as Otumfuo Osei Tutu II because of his royal status.

After completing his education in accountancy at the Institute of Professional Studies at Legon in 1971, he moved to the United Kingdom to pursue further professional courses at Kilburn Polytechnic.

On the completion of that part of his studies in UK, Otumfuo worked with several companies there, acquiring the managerial and administrative skills that would later prove useful to him as a modern ruler. Among the positions he held while in employment in the UK were as finance officer at a Food Processing Company, Oxo, in London and later as personnel administrator at the Manpower Services Commission.

In 1989, Otumfuo returned to his homeland Ghana to establish his own company, Transpomech International, LTD. He is still the executive director of this company.

Since ascending the stool, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s charismatic style and leadership strengths have won him admiration from Ghanaians, the Ashanti people, and foreigners. His vision to help Ghanaians entails education, and developments in economic and health institutions. Because of this vision the Osei Tutu Fund was created to offer assistance to those in need of prevention of loss of vision caused by glaucoma. He is the first traditional chief in Ghana to support this kind of health issue.

As Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s reputation grows throughout Ghana, his majestic presence and ability to interact with a diverse range of individuals and be effective politically and socially leaves footprints on the heart of our nation.


Kobina Annan, Jr, Accra, June 21, 2008


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