Otumfuo@20: 'King Solomon' Asantehene receives plaudits for wise calls on disputes

Otumfuo@20: 'King Solomon' Asantehene receives plaudits for wise calls on disputes
Source: Ghana I Nhyira FM I Ohemeng Tawiah I ohemengtawiah@gmail.com
Date: 20-04-2019 Time: 12:04:51:pm
Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

He earned the accolade ‘King Solomon’ for his bold commitment to resolve all chieftaincy disputes in his kingdom out of court.

The recent end to a 17-year-old Dagbon chieftaincy dispute is, perhaps, one of his greatest achievements, having led a committee of eminent chiefs to spearhead a peace process.

The success story back home is enough testimony that Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II's feat in Dagbon was no fluke.

Asantehene's influence in promoting peace and security in the Ashanti Region and beyond over the past 20 years is fathomless.

On ascending the Golden Stool as the 16th Asantehene, Otumfuo’s early initiatives included an order to withdraw all chieftaincy disputes pending in court for settlement through the traditional and customary structures.

It spontaneously earned the accolade King Solomon, in reminiscence of the Biblical wise King Solomon.

The Asantehene led the Committee of Three Eminent Chiefs to fashion out a roadmap for the Dagbon peace.

The chieftaincy disputes, in the early days of Otumfuo ascension, were not only a security threat but had led to the loss of lives and property among feuding communities.

Amoamanhene, Nana Agyenim Boateng, looks back to the dark days.

"In some of the areas, you had two paramount chiefs running parallel in one area and then you have some in court cases where we had injunctions and all these things. 

"It is just like there is Amoaman there's no chief; there is Amoaman there are two chiefs so where are we taking directives from? One level there is rivalry, there is a clash. You end up there is no curfew but you realize people were about to sleep because you never know when you would be attacked."

Twenty-three of them were resolved within the first ten years of Otumfuo’s reign, some in record a one-day.

Flashback: Asantehene (right) and Effiduasehemaa in a memorable handshake after the judgement

One of the disputes -- in Effiduase in the Sekyere East District -- had raged on for 28 years.

The Queenmother, Nana Abenaa Konadu was challenging Opanin Osei Worae, known in private life as David Osei, a claimant to the Mposo and Ameyaw stool following the death of Nana Odua Awere II, the then chief in a  lorry accident in 1978. 

It took Otumfuo Osei Tutu II less than 2-years to resolve the dispute in 2002.

“Opanin Osei Worae, you are my father and I love you. If it were in my power to hand over the stool to you I would have done so. But that is not possible. We must follow the truth and tradition,” Asantehene said in his judgement.

Nana Abenaa Konadu, the Effiduasehemaa, recalls:

‘Victorious’ Nana Konadu is carried shoulder high by her supporters after the judgement

"Otumfuo was prepared to speak the truth. He spoke very, very well for us. We were all happy," she recounted on the day Asantehene gave judgement.

Nana Abenaa Konadu recount  2002 judgement

For her 91-year-old husband  Nicholas Osei Gerning who witnessed proceedings at the Manhyia Palace,  the Asantehene delivered a just judgement to the admiration of all.

"He earned the name King Solomon because people saw that he was speaking the truth.  He was prepared to speak the truth and that is precisely what he did," he recounted.

Among the tall list of chieftaincy and land disputes settled by the Asantehene are Tepa, Adontenhene,  Old Tafo,  which were all aged 13 and 11 years respectively.

Although it took the Otumfuo two months to settle the Tepa stool dispute, it took him a year each to settle Tafo and Adonten stool disputes. Some disputes, clearly, proved more difficult.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II presides over  the traditional court

Others notable disputes the Otumfuo settled include Agona, Bechem, Sekyedumase, Goaso, among others.

For instance, the 6-year-old Bechem dispute was settled in a record one day to the admiration and satisfaction of all parties.

So how did the Asantehene achieve this feat?

Amoamanhene, Nana Agyenim Boateng I gives an overview of how rigorous and democratic the processes at the traditional court are.

"It's not like that we just come just one day and he just ran it through. There are processes that go through. It's a whole institution".