Otumfuo Osei Tutu II
Members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) with former President John Mahama leading the charge have vented their anger on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei II, for stating that the former President was unwilling to concede defeat during the last elections but for his intervention.
But, according to the Asante King, the man was not willing to relinquish power and that it took people like himself to convince him to accept and concede defeat, he told a United Nations (UN) High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace in New York.
Mr. Mahama has, however, denied the claim regarding the outcome of the election in which he suffered a record defeat in the annals of electoral history in the country.
He caused his then Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, to issue a statement virtually questioning the credibility of the statement by the Otumfuo.
The statement which was released late Sunday evening said, “As former Chief of Staff to President Mahama, I was associated closely with all the pre, during and post 2016 poll events. 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.”
Whilst he admitted to the fact that “the Asantehene has over the years been a very respected interlocutor in Ghana’s multiparty political engagements” and “he has been generous in his wise counsel to present and former Presidents,” Julius Debrah said “it is public knowledge that President Mahama willingly announced his decision to accept the outcome of the 2016 elections and congratulate Nana Akufo-Addo even before the official results were formally declared by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission.”
Instead, he insisted that “on the day President Mahama willingly conceded defeat, he met with then Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, NDC Chairman Kofi Portuphy, General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, together with some high-ranking members of the party and informed them of his decision to call and congratulate Nana Akufo-Addo.”
Following the meeting with the party, the former Chief of Staff insisted that Mahama “called a number of personalities including President Jerry John Rawlings, President John Agyekum Kufuor, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, National Chief Imam Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu, Rev. Ernest Agyei of the Ringway Assemblies of God Church and Archbishop Duncan Williams.”
According to him, under the Otumfuo auspices, “there were three meetings held in Kumasi between President Mahama and then Candidate/President-Elect Nana Akufo-Addo during the period.”
The first, he said “was prior to the December 7 election in which the two candidates promised to play fair and respect the will of the people” insisting that “President Mahama in a conversation with Nana Akufo-Addo said he hoped Nana was not going to tie down the nation in a court case again after the 2016 elections.”
The other two meetings, he said “took place after the official declaration of the results of the elections, and to re-emphasise, after President Mahama had publicly conceded and congratulated Nana Akufo-Addo.”
Even that he said “those two meetings focused on matters arising out of the transition process.”
He narrated that “President Mahama made a commitment to the people of Ghana never to be the one to subject them to the periods of unease, political instability and the doubts they experienced after the 2008 and 2012 elections.”
Julius Debrah, therefore, insisted that “he (referring to Mahama) remained true to that commitment and exemplified it after the 2016 elections.”
Following on the heels of the statement from former President John Mahama, the former Communications Minister in his regime, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, took to social media, supporting what Julius Debrah had said about the Otumfuo.
In two separate tweets, the former Communications Minister said, “Big men too can lie! Oh Ghana!” He went on to say “ahead of election 2020 expect more lies against John Mahama.”
A member of both the NDC communications and legal teams, Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, also said Otumfuo’s statement was not entirely factual.
He, however, acknowledged that Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s role in governance in Ghana cannot be underestimated.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu