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Opinions of Saturday, 31 December 2005

Columnist: Akosah-Sarpong, Kofi

Asantehene, Values And The KNUST

The appointment by Ghana?s leading science and technology school of the Asantehene (King of the Asante ethnic group), Otumfuo Osei Tutu 11, as it?s Chancellor not only reveals the increasing relevance of the Asantehene in Ghana?s development process but also the emerging weight of Ghanaian/African values in the country?s progress ? policy session in the northern city of Tamale advising policy developers to consult Ghanaian values and experiences, the on-going attempts by the Ghana Judiciary Services in mixing Ghanaian traditional legal values with the colonially-imposed ones, attempts to move the seat of Ghanaian governments from the former slave trading post at the Osu Castle to a new building or an innovated one for purely Ghanaian traditional cosmological reasons.

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Governing Council, in appointing the Asantehene as its Chancellor, also demonstrates its grasp of the emerging thinking that Ghanaian values, like the colonially-imposed values, should also inform Ghana?s progress heavily and openly in the country?s national life in order for holistic development to take place. Nowhere is this manifestly true than appointing the Asantehene, who manifest core Ghanaian traditional values and who has openly challenged African elites at home and abroad - from the prestigious Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Lagos to the high profile Harvard University, Boston, USA to the esteemed South African House of Chiefs - to incorporate African values in the continent?s development process.

If the KNUST says the Asantehene was appointed for his ?commitment to the progress and advancement of all Ghanaians,? then the school agrees that it is dealing with a man who thinks within the realm of the values of Ghana and Africa in his commitment to the progress and advancement of all Ghanaians; values that have for long been suppressed in the larger Ghanaian/African development scheme of things by both the colonialists and post-independent Ghanaian elites. In this sense, the challenge for both the Asantehene and the Governing Council of KNUST is to awaken their creative powers and visions and mix the university?s values, the university?s curriculum, the university?s education process with the enabling aspects of Ghanaian/African values so as to produce graduates who can think holistically within Ghanaian/African values and experiences and the colonially-imposed ones in Ghana?s development process.

By undertaking this venture, many an historical and cultural wrongs that have subdued Ghana?s development, that have disheartened Ghana?s progress will be corrected ? it will also help awaken Ghanaian values in the larger development of the state. Still, in doing so, future graduates from KNUST would see the relevance, in the progress of Ghana, of consulting Ghanaians, their values and their experiences in policy development. So the cocoa farmer in a remote village in the Western Region will not only feel as being part of the policies that affect his or her farming business but will also understand it better since the policies originated from within his or her values, history, and experiences. It is in this process that there will be development trust, a key ingredient in the development process, by Ghanaians with Ghanaians, especially their elites, as KNUST has seen in the Asantehene, a chief cultural and trust carrier, by appointing him and his appreciating the ?trust reposed in him as the chancellor.?



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