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General News of Sunday, 26 April 2009

Source: GNA

President Mills lauds Asantehene for exemplary leadership

Kumasi, April 26, GNA - Authentic African culture, glamour, royalty, pomp and pageantry were on full display at a durbar of chiefs and people of Asanteman to climax activities marking 10 years of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene's coronation.

President John Evans Atta Mills joined the tall-list of foreign and local dignitaries, including four former African Heads of State, who gathered at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium to add more colour to the occasion.

They included former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr Festus Gontebanye Mogae, former President of Botswana, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, former President of Sierra-Leone, and Ghana's former President Jerry John Rawlings.

Also present were the Spanish Former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar; Ghana's Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood; Sir Gabriel Igbenedion, Esama of Benin, Nigeria; Former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Ministers of State and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu dressed in richly designed kente cloth and adored with gold, rode to the durbar grounds in a palanquin under the canopy of large umbrellas and amidst the throbbing of "fontomfrom' and "kete" drums and clattering of executioners swords at exactly 1100 hours.

Moments later, President Mills also drove in and on arrival

exchanged pleasantries with the Asantehene. All this while, Paramount Chiefs from the 63 Paramountcies,

that make up the Asanteman and their subordinate chiefs had taken

their seats under huge multi-coloured umbrellas. President Mills lauded Otumfuo Osei Tutu and labelled his

decade reign as 10 years of positive and exemplary leadership. He cited the immense support the King was providing in the

areas of education and health in the country and said "Otumfuo

deserves our commendation". The presence of peoples from across the world at the durbar,

he pointed out was an eloquent testimony of the fact that the

Asantehene had touched the lives of many and was a unifying


President Mills used the occasion to encourage Ghanaians to ensure a united front, saying: "We must always remember that we belong to Mother Ghana." Otumfuo Osei Tutu said the celebration was to recognize

African civilization and demonstrate to the world that Africa had a

great culture and traditions. It was also to remind the people that traditional leadership had

important role to play in modern governance and the

socio-economic development of the people. The Asantehene appealed to the African Union (AU) to give

formal recognition to traditional institutions since most of them were

playing significant roles in governance and socio-economic

progress of the people.