Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has paid glowing tribute to the late Nana Kwasi Agyeman, an Ashanti Royal and a former Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA).
“Growing up as a child in Ashanti New Town, Kumasi, in the 1950s, Nana Akwasi, as he was popularly known, was our neighbour. His father, Chief Owusu, the chief of Toase, lived diagonally across the street from my father’s house. Nana Akwasi himself resided some 500 metres away from Manhyia, near the palace where most of the Asante royals live,” the minister recalled in a solemn tribute.
Man of Privilege
“As a young man, the closest you could describe Nana Akwasi was the lifestyle of a playboy. His distinctive white sports car with the AS 6262 number plate marked him out as an outstanding suave young man of privilege. He loved life and was a role model to many of us. He was regular at every dance event which took place in the great entertainment centres in Kumasi, including Hotel de Kingsway, Star Nite Club and Sentimental Hotel, which hosted great Dance Bands like Broadway, Trinniers and Stargazers,” Dr. Akoto reminisced.
“At the time, he (Okumkom) had the best recording collections of these great bands.
His house became a museum of these recordings and he was proud to share the music with his small band of exclusive friends. Whilst he enjoyed a modern lifestyle, Nana Akwasi never failed in his princely duties at Manhyia,” the minister recounted.
“He was always present to serve the king not only on the big occasions like the Akwasidae dancing to the great sounds of Fontomfrom, but also even on special Asante ‘holy’ days, attending to matters of the Asante state,” he recollected, adding “he was well versed in Asante customs and culture. Indeed, over the years, he graduated to become the icon of our culture as Asantefuo.”
“His involvement in the politics of Ghana in his middle and later years is subject to all manner of interpretation. But there is little controversy about his role as the longest-serving MCE of Kumasi. He struggled to keep order in the city in the face of a virtual explosion of the population, with rocketing growth of immigrants from all over West Africa,” Dr. Akoto indicated.