The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, yesterday wept openly before hundreds of his subjects that converged on the Kumasi Airport to welcome him from South Africa, after rumours of his death were dispelled.
Wild rumours had been spreading like wild fire for about two weeks to the effect that the Asantehene had kicked the bucket and the Manhyia Palace was keeping the sad news under wraps for traditional reasons.
Otumfuo, dressed in an immaculate suit, and whose demeanour showed that he was aware of the rumours, was composed as he looked at the huge crowd that had not been seen at the Kumasi Airport before, but suddenly broke down in tears.
He was perhaps touched by the presence of the large crowd among whom were business tycoons, politicians, government officials, Asante and Zongo chiefs that accorded him a rousing welcome at the airport.
The free flowing tears from Otumfuo’s eyes, like the free-falling cedi, attracted mixed feelings among the hitherto merrymaking crowd including women, as most of them started crying in solidarity.
Otumfuo touched down at the Kumasi Airport in the presidential jet which flew him and his entourage, including Nana Atta Poku, son of Nana Akwasi Agyeman, from South Africa, at exactly 3:29pm.
The crowd including chiefs and queen mothers who had virtually invaded the tarmac, were seen jumping in ecstasy on the emergence of the presidential jet.
As was expected, there was a deafening sound from the crowd when the Asantehene finally emerged from the plane.
At that moment, the large number of military and policemen at the airport were overwhelmed, as the elated crowd outmuscled them, flooding the tarmac.
The usual protocol, which is strictly adhered to at the airport anytime the Asantehene returns from international trips, could not be followed this time around.
The crowd would not allow Otumfuo to shake hands with the high-powered delegation including government officials and chiefs who had lined up on the tarmac.
They overpowered the security detail at the airport, falling over each other in a bid to touch the Asantehene who was then still shedding tears.
The situation was so chaotic that people present even feared that something nasty might happen. It took the Asantehene close to 30 minutes get to his waiting car.
Money Fly In Air
In an attempt to perhaps divert the crowd’s attention from Otumfuo, GH¢50 notes were flown in the air by some affluent people at the scene.
But if the money was sprayed into the air to free the Asantehene from the charged crowd, then it failed woefully to achieve its purpose, as the crowd rejected the money and still concentrated on Otumfuo.
The joint military and police team present and the personal bodyguards of the Asantehene then applied more force, as they pushed away the crowd to pave the way for the king to move.
Long Live The King
As the Asantehene majestically moved towards his car, which was parked on the tarmac, the crowd, in unison, started chanting ‘Long live King Osei Tutu II! Long live King Osei Tutu II!!’
This show of ‘mad love’ by the crowd forced the Asantehene to shed more tears, while he waved to the people, most of whom were still crying and chanting his name in a loud tone, as he inched closer to his majestic Rolls-Royce.
The Asantehene was seen still crying and waving back to the crowd as some ran after the long convoy which moved at top speed from the Kumasi Airport.
At a point, some military men were seen, on foot, preventing the people from trying to touch the car of the Asantehene.
To finally douse the speculation that he was dead, Otumfuo’s convoy from the airport went through the principal streets of Kumasi, as the crowd lined up to catch a glimpse of their King.
The Asantehene’s long convoy moved through the Airport roundabout, Krofrom, CPC, Ash Town, Adum, the central business district, with residents openly displaying their joy.
Who Is Who
Among the people that welcomed the Asantehene were Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister Samuel Yaw Adusei, KMA boss Kojo Bonsu and Ashanti Regional Police Commander DCOP Augustine Gyening.
Prominent traditional leaders including the occupant of the Silver Stool, Daasebre Osei Bonsu, the Mamponghene, Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Serebuo and the Bantamahene, Baffuor Asare Owusu Amankwatia were also there.
Traditional leaders from the Zongo community including Alhaji Moro Rabiu, the Zongo Nkosuohene, Ohene Nana KB, Nana Mensah Bonsu aka ‘Atiki,’ Francis Dodovi and Dr. Agyeman aka ‘Ogyam’, son of Nana Akwasi Agyeman, were also there.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that a party was organized in the gardens of the Manhyia Palace yesterday to officially welcome the Asantehene home from South Africa.
Reports said special guests that attended the big event were served with an assortment of food and drinks as they partied with the King for long hours.