The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was close to tears as he received a joyous welcome in Kumasi yesterday on a return from a trip to South Africa.
Whilst on the trip he was rumoured to have joined his ancestors, a rumour that was denied by the Manhyia palace.
Security personnel had a tough time controlling the crowd at the Kumasi Airport where thousands of residents, including chiefs and public officials who thronged there to welcome the Asante King.
A large number of chiefs from the Ashanti Region, including the occupant of the Silver Stool, Mamponghene Daasebre Osei Bonsu II; the Omanhene of Offinso, Nana Wiafe Alcenten; the Omanhene of Tepa, Nana Adusei Atwenewa Ampem I, and the Omanhene of Kolcofu, Barima Offe Akwasi Okogyeasu II, converged on the Kumasi Airport to welcome the Asantehene, who was rumoured to have died in South Africa.
Clad in white cloths and waving white handkerchiefs, the chiefs and the people shouted with joy when the stairway was lowered for the Asantehene to disembark from the plane.
His arrival settles the speculation about his death, and palace authorities say those who engineered the rumour would answer to the spirits of the kingdom.
The tarmac was nearly turned into a durbar ground as people from all walks of life, including the Metropolitan Chief Executive of Kumasi, Mr Kojo Bonsu; the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Yaw Adusei, and the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Augustine Gyening, turned up at the airport to accord the Asantehene a royal welcome.
The visibly teary-eyed Asantehene and his security officials had a hectic time going through the crowd that had gathered at the airport. The security detail had to literally push people, including some chiefs, aside to make way for him to enter his Rolls Royce.
In a calm composure, he waved at the people and intermittently wiped what looked like tears from his eyes.
He was later taken | through some principal streets of the metropolis in a convoy comprising chiefs and well-wishers to announce his arrival and to reassure the people that he is.alive.
As early as 2:30 p.m the airport was filled to full capacity. People who could not gain access to the airport stood near its walls to catch glimpses of the king.
The Akyempimhene, Oheneba Adusei Poku, said the rumours about the king’s death were unfortunate and unethical and asked Ghanaians to stop spreading such rumours about people.
He wondered what the motive of j the person who began the rumour was j but denied suggestions that the Asante ! deity, Antoa, would be invoked to deal with the fellow.
The Asantehene has been outside the country since January 11, this year.
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