Attempts to run down Asantehene unhealthy, unfortunate - Gov't

Attempts to run down Asantehene unhealthy, unfortunate - Gov't
Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com |Abubakar Ibrahim
Date: 18-09-2019 Time: 11:09:05:am

Government has registered its disappointment with what it describes as an unhealthy attempt to run down the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II following his comment at the United Nations.

The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says government does not expect individuals and politicians to run down the chieftaincy institution because of the role they play in national development.

“Traditional authorities in Ghana have been very helpful in helping to support the cohesion of the Ghanaian society, so even if the truths they speak are unpalatable to you, we should not be attacking and be running them down,” he said.

Speaking at a press briefing Wednesday, he said government considers the invitation of Ashanti overlord to the UN to speak at the UN as a mark of high respect for the Otumfuo himself and the traditional authority in the country in general. 

The Asantehene revealed at the UN that his respected Manhyia Palace intervened to persuade the losing candidate in the 2016 general elections to accept defeat.

“At the conclusion of the last presidential and parliamentary elections, the country [Ghana] stood on the edge of disaster. The UN representatives and the diplomatic community were aghast, alarmed that Ghana was going to slip down the slope of electoral violence.

“Fortunately, the moral authority of the palace was at hand. We were able to intervene to persuade the losing candidate to accept his fate and fly both candidates for a quiet encounter to pave the way for a handover,” said the Asantehene.

Former President John Mahama through his former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, however, challenged claims made the Asante during his speech at the UN that he played a role in getting the losing candidate in the 2016 elections to concede defeat.

“I state without equivocation that the decision to concede and congratulate Nana Akufo-Addo even before the official results were declared was taken by President Mahama himself without any persuasion from any quarter,” Mr Debrah said in a statement.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) also disagreed and subsequently held a news conference to clarify their position amidst accusations the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is pitching them against the king.

General secretary of the NDC, Johson Asiedu Nketia described the controversy as a diversion from government’s failings.

However, the Information Minister said it is unhealthy for politicians especially to engage in such an action to run-down traditional authorities.

“Particularly for politicians who every now and then will have to be brought together by these same traditional rulers. For young politicians as such, we should be very careful and desist from any act that appears to be calling them names and attacking them,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah said.