Colourful display of Asante culture at its best was on a high pedestal at the Manhyia Palace Sunday, to herald the grand durbar that climaxes the 20th anniversary of enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Traditional rulers from Ashanti, Bono, Ahafo, Oti, Bono East, Eastern and Volta regions, who owe allegiance to the Golden Stool are in attendance. Dagbon King, Ya-Na Abukari II and chiefs from other regions are also present.
It's virtually a showcase of Sika Kente, the traditional cloth for chiefs and royals and 'ahenema' (traditional sandals), as chiefs and queens arrive in turns amid the firing of musketry.
The atmosphere is drowned in the sounds of 'atumpan' (talking drum), throbbing of fontomfrom and others drums fill the Dwabrem durbar ground.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II ascended the Golden Stool as the 16th Asantehene, on April 26, 1999, having succeeded his brother, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II.
His enstoolment, attended by over 2,000 dignitaries, involved the performance of several rites, including the 'Batakarikesie' (war attire), as he swore the great Asante Oath to his people.
It was to show the King's ability to command and lead the Asante nation.
Sunday's ceremony which marks the 20th anniversary of that event is taking place at Dwabrem, Manhyia Palace, the same venue which was scheduled to host his enstoolment until it was changed to the Kumasi Sports Stadium two decades ago.
The celebration of a man whose early initiatives included an order to withdraw all chieftaincy disputes in Asante pending in court for settlement through the traditional and customary structures has drawn thousands of people, including foreigners from across the world to the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.
Security personnel have a herculean task on their hands, ensuring the milling crowd is contained and controlled to ensure an incident-free durbar.
Otumfuo's dispute settlement prowess earned him the accolade 'King Solomon' which he justified beyond measure, leading a Committee of Three Eminent Chiefs to fashion out a road map that culminated in a peaceful end to a 17-year chieftaincy dispute and enskinment of a new Ya-Na in Dagon.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is the special guest of honour at Sunday's Akwasidae-Kese durbar leads a government delegation, including Speaker of Ghana's Parliament, Chief of Staff, Ministers of State as well as Members of Parliament.
Former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufour, and John Mahama are also in attendance, as well as the members of the diplomatic corps.
Foreign delegations include one from Suriname led by their Vice President, Michael Ashwin Adhin.
Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Esama of Benin in Nigeria, Chief Gabriel Igbenidion described as a friend of the Asantehene and other personalities from Seychelles Island and Cote d’Ivoire are in Kumasi for the historic occasion.
Asantehemaa, Nana Ama Konadu II, Nananom, and all invited guests will welcome the Asantehene when he rides in a palanquin to the durbar ground at Dwabrem.
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