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Opinions of Sunday, 2 August 2020

Columnist: Rockson Adofo

The cowardice of Bantamahene Baffour Owusu Amankwaatia VI has started manifesting

Bantamahene Baffour Owusu Amankwaatia VI pleading at the Otumfuor's Palace Bantamahene Baffour Owusu Amankwaatia VI pleading at the Otumfuor's Palace


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Following from the public humiliation of Bantamahene Baffour Owusu Amankwaatia VI at the Manhyia Palace recently; seen kneeling before Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and his assembly of Kumasi chiefs, linguists and palace attendants pleading for mercy, I did not hesitate to express my views on the shameful development. I warned the public against Bantamahene's power being eroded and that he will henceforth become a coward in the performance of his traditional and public duties.

In less than no time, his cowardice has conspicuously emerged like a Cumulonimbus cloud in the sky. However, his cowardly attempts to continue to appease Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II for his reprehensible conduct by allegedly putting up a building for rental stores right on the head or the very source of Kumasi river god Subin Adu Antwi, make him appear more weakened, if not more ridiculed.

His palace has published a warning letter to the public including the media against the circulation and publishing of a video in which he, and some of his subjects or sympathisers, were indisputably clearly seen kneeling down before Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, while Otumfuo was denigrating him through the narration of the history of the Bantama stool. Bantamahene and his palace are claiming that the video and the voices, thus audio, in the video, were mere fabrications but not true.

They said, and I quote, "We wish to state emphatically and without equivocation that the said videos and audios were concocted out of malice by the enemies of our Great Kingdom to achieve their malicious agenda". They continued to threaten those assisting to have the said video go viral with legal action.

To bring out the purpose of this publication of mine and its understanding to the public, let me argue a bit about semantics here. SEMANTICS is defined by the dictionary as, "the meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc."

Now, Bantamahene or his palace is telling the worldwide reading public that the said video in which he was found kneeling down before Otumfuo with the clear voice of Otumfuo warning him was CONCOCTED. What is Concocted? It is defined as " to devise; make up; contrive (to plot evil, treachery, etc.).

Bantamahene or his palace is trying to tell Ghanaians and the world that the video was fake and that he had never knelt down before Otumfuo on the alleged fateful day and date, and also, that the voice in the video is not that of Otumfuo. Is that right?

I have the following few questions for Bantamahene and his palace.

1. Was Bantamahene truly among those people seen kneeling down in the said video? Was it his person or his picture?

2. If it was not him, but someone faking him, why would the person do that?

3. Had Bantamahene sold off plots at Kumasi racecourse to anyone to build stores, or had he built, or started to build, a block of stores?

4. Why are some alleged completed or uncompleted buildings at Kumasi racecourse bulldozed on the orders of Otumfuo following the content of the alleged fake videos and audios that Bantamahene and his palace are disputing their credibility?

5. Can Bantamahene and his palace swear on the bible, swear on the river gods in Ashanti region, swear on his stool and invoke the spirits of the departed "Nananom" to testify that he was not the person in the said video kneeling down and being rebuked by Otumfuo, and that the voice in the audio was not Otumfuo's?

6. Does Bantamahene know that he is a public figure and that whatever he does, whether good or bad, is of public interest and the public can freely comment about it? Does he know that he can only accuse one of defamation if what the person is saying about him is not true?

7. Does Bantamahene know that if truly the event of him kneeling down did take place as alleged in the video, he can do fuck all to anyone.

I am sorry, Bantamahene and his palace are muddying the waters more for their own predicament as their threats will come to naught if the authenticity of the video is proven and the demolition of the buildings or structures at the racecourse are established as to who ordered the buildings to be demolished and for what reason?

Anyway, the machismo way Bantamahene sees himself as commanding respect will backfire on him. All those who were sympathising with him following his public humiliation will turn against him following from his threatening letter as issued to the public and the general media. He had rather better remain silent, lick his wounds while the public do whatever is necessary to sympathise with him but as it stands now, he has ridiculed himself further.

He is simply a coward trying desperately to warm up to Otumfuo. How will Otumfuo stop his bullying and mistreatment of some chiefs under him if we have such characters like Bantamahene cowardly pandering to him all the time, telling him he is always right even if he is erring?

I see Bantamahene's letter as empty threats that will fall flat on its face before the law. Does he not know that we have computer analysts capable of telling if the video is fake or not? I would have agreed with him to some extent if he had used the word "doctored" instead of "concocted"

"Doctored" in the context of the videos and audios "means to be altered with the intent to deceive" This will mean that although the incident of Bantamahene kneeling down before Otumfuo did take place, someone had made changes in the video to deceive the public. Nevertheless, to say blatantly that the videos and audios were concocted is clearly being economical with the truth. The truth with emerge with the passage of time.

Let Bantamahene note that his money, position and whatnot, cannot suppress the public interest in knowing what exactly happened and their anger at the bullying tactics adopted by Otumfuo to cow his sub-chiefs and to exploit the wealth of the other divisions within Asanteman contrary to the acceptable or agreed conventions in place.

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