Asantehene Leads the Way into Chieftaincy Modernization

Feature Article of Thursday, 18 April 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

I knew it was just a matter of time before the chieftaincy institution was healthily and productively brought into alignment with modern Internet Communication Technology (ICT). And so I was more than elated to learn of the landmark initiative between the Osei-Tutu II Center for Executive Education and Research (OTCEER) and the China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS) to train Ghanaian chiefs in the effective management of lands, particularly in streamlining the method of land sales in order to curtail the unsavory situation of double-sales of the same landed property (See “Chiefs Go Hi-Tech to Solve Land Problems” 3/21/13).

Significantly, this global collaborative goes far beyond land-tenure rationalization. It is also geared towards enabling the chiefly trainees graduate into agribusiness management or commercial farming. Currently, the program which is scheduled to go national is being piloted with 30 chiefs drawn mostly from the Asante Regional House of Chiefs. I am especially interested in this economic aspect of the program because it promises to meaningfully divorce the august chieftaincy institution from undue government control and interference.

For some time now, I have been perplexed by the attempt to rein in the traditional and societally organic power and influence of our pre-colonial “natural” rulers by the central government, through the so-called Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs. The next step, I hope, is to radically empower the currently largely parochial National House of Chiefs into an upper-chamber of our National Assembly, or Parliament, as foresightedly perceived and doggedly promoted by the immortalized Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian Politics, Dr. J. B. Danquah, as far back as the1940s and early ’50s.

Not only would a well-educated and enlightened class of chieftains catalyze the massive socioeconomic and cultural, as well as technological, development of rural Ghana, in particular, it would also significantly impact the way that our children and grandchildren are educated right from the elementary school to the university, thereby, once again, putting the nation at the forefront of the proverbial African renaissance. For the preceding to take hold in the shortest practicable time, similar institutions like the Osei-Tutu II Center for Executive Education and Research (OTCEER) need to be established in each and every one of the ten regions of the country, either as independent centers or as subsidiaries of the Osei-Tutu II Center.

That it took the landmark initiative of the Asantehene to get this project off the ground, as it were, is scarcely surprising. From the time of his accession to the Great Osei-Tutu Stool, or the globally renowned Golden Stool, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II has admirably demonstrated the need to both modernize and make the otherwise ossified chieftaincy institution more relevant and organic to the material needs and aspirations of all Ghanaians, across ethnic and sub-ethnic divides. This is defintely what makes the Asantehene unique among his peers.

And he has been able to do all this primarily because the Asantehene is intellectually and professionally equipped with a good and solid graduate degree in business management. And, indeed, the chieftaincy business is one that requires substantial skills in business management and diplomacy. And this is what makes the current training of the 30 Asante chiefs all the more glorious and laudable. And if it is not already included in the program package, one would that the program’s curriculum granted the academic equivalents of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration, International Diplomacy and Political Science.

Whoever thought the august institution of chieftaincy – I prefer the more appropriate terminology of the “Monarchy” – was effete and obsolete, definitely never heard of “‘Sremu ‘Sei,” the King of the Savannah grassland.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
March 28, 2013
E-mail: [email protected]