ASANTEMAN is gearing up for the climax of activities marking the 10th anniversary of the enthronement of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Already, the anniversary fever has gripped Kumasi and for people who believe in tradition, Kumasi is the area to visit these days. Over the past month or two, the Manhyia Palace has been awash with various activities as part of the celebrations.
The grand ceremony slated for the Baba Yara Stadium on April 26 will be celebrated as Akwasidae Kese. It will be the second Akwasidae Kese to be celebrated by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Ten years ago, Barima Kwaku Duah, son of the current Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem, picked the Mpomponsuo sword and swore to become the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool.
The decision to celebrate the grand ceremony of the anniversary as Akwasidae Kese was not taken for its own sake. The Akwasidae Kese festival holds a special place in Asanteman. It is only the Asantehene who celebrates it and this shows how important the festival is.
It is an occasion for remembrance, merrymaking and re-union. Through special prayers, Otumfuo Osei Tutu will invoke the spirits of his predecessors including Agyinamoa Mpatu, Kobia Amanfi, Twum ne Antwi, Oti Akenten, Obiri Yeboah, Osei Tutu (Opemsuo) and Opoku Ware (Okatakyie).
Others are Kusi Boadum, Osei Kwadwo (Okoawia), Osei Kwame Panin, Opoku Fofie, Kwame Bonsu, Osei Yaw Akoto, Kwaku Duah I, Kofi Karikari, Mensah Bonsu and Kwaku Duah II. The rest are Kwaku Duah III (Prempeh I), Osei Agyemang Prempeh II and Opoku Ware II.
Otumfuo would, among other things, use the Akwasidae Kese to spell out his vision for Asanteman in the coming years.
I am reliably informed that the Asantehene would launch the second phase of the Otumfuo Education Fund. The second phase would focus on support for specialist training in medicine and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
With so much attachment to educational development, Otumfuo Osei Tutu has never relented in seeing to the development in his domain and other parts of the country.
The Otumfuo Education Fund has built a number of schools in Asanteman and many other parts of the country. The Fund has also awarded scholarships to thousands of people. Indeed, many people who would otherwise have found it difficult to attain tertiary education, have been able to go through the system, thanks to Otumfuo.
Persistently, he had driven home the fact that it was only education that could drive the nation to the dreamland of development.
Anytime that he had the opportunity to speak to his people, he had always said in the past, his ancestors embarked on wars of conquest but today, the war was against poverty, ignorance and disease.
The war, he stressed, could only be won through education.
Otumfuo has over the 10 years of being on the Golden Stool, resolved countless chieftaincy disputes in his domain.
Immediately he ascended the throne, he ordered that all chieftaincy disputes pending in the courts be withdrawn for settlement at Manhyia and the order has worked to achieve peace in Asanteman.
Today, while people in some communities are fighting and killing each other over chieftaincy disputes, Asanteman is peaceful thanks to Otumfuo.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu has supported his wife Lady Julia Osei Tutu to establish an AIDS Foundation, which is supporting many AIDS-orphaned children.
We all remember the negative comments that some people, for reasons best known to them, made when the Asantehene sought a World Bank assistance to promote development in his domain.
These same people recoiled into their shells when as unselfish as he was, Otumfuo spread development projects accruing from the World Bank support to other regions of the country.
It is expected that the coming years will see more from Otumfuo Osei Tutu as he moves to advance the development of Asanteman and Ghana.