Why the Ashanti King, Otumfour Osei Tutu's historic visit to Okyehene

Otumfour Osei Tutu II welcomed by Osagyefo Amoatia ofori Panin-yawpreko blog
Otumfour Osei Tutu II being welcomed by Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin Source: Daily Guide Africa

Growing up, I have notice it is rare to see the king set foot on other territories beyond his rule especially in Ghana. 

Asantehene Otumfour Osei TuTu Ababio last Thursday, 24th August 2018 made a historic visit to Ofori Panin Fie, Kyebi as a guest of honour to the 75th Anniversary celebration of the late Okyehene, Nana Sir Ofori Atta durbar who is credited with the transformation of Akyem Abuakwa and the Okyeman during his rein.

He made this historic visit to strengthen ties between the two traditional authorities and their people.

Brief profile of Asantes and Akyem

Akyems profile

Akyemmansa is the three traditional areas of Akyem in the eastern region of Ghana. This area is the origin of modern Akan people. A group of Akan people who left Bonoman later formed the Adansi Kingdom in the mid-14th century. 

The Adansis were known for their ability to build illustrious structures in their kingdom; hence the name Adansi (builders). 

The Akyems are defined by their brevity and success in protecting their submission to the Ashanti kingdom after their halves, Adansis were held captive after their defeat to the latter in a war waged on them. One could also trace the role of their descends in Ghana's independence struggle. 


Asantes profile 

Asante Empire was founded in 1670 by Nana Osei Tutu.

Asantes are perceived as pioneers of democracy and centralization before Ghana became independent in 1957 an ideology that was promoted by the former prime minister and father, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. 

The New York Times in its 1999 publication on the death of the Asante ruler, Otumfour Opoku Ware II wrote "Ghana became independent in 1957, but the office of Asantehene and the Asante institutions have outlasted the centralized, pan-Africanist policies that the leader, Kwame Nkrumah, promoted".

History of rivalry between Asantes and Akyems

This historic visit has met mixed interpretation from the public citing a long lasting rivalry between the two traditional rulers dating back to the eighteenth century. 

Is there an iota of truth in this long held misconception and how has it affected the relationship between the two states? Of course there was war.

The incident happen on the banks of the Pra River. The war that led to the death of Nana Osei Tutu in 1717 is seen as the cause of the tension.

Cause of the war between Asantes and Akyems

Pre colonial era is seen as the rise of rivalry and dynastic disputes were contributory factors. The struggle for gold, ivory, kola nuts and slaves may have led to extravagant claims which gave an additional impulse to power politics in the Gold Coast interior.

History tells that Akyem and Denkyira usually acted together against Akwamu (whose association with Asantes influenced the defeat of Denkyira). It has been suggested that the friendship of Akyem and Denkyira stems from the fact that they regarded Akyem as a sister-state because it  state was founded by a member of the Denkyira royal family.


One of the people they defeated was the Adansis, who are believed to be Akyems and hail from the same ancestors. Akyems after the defeat of their sister empire moved southwards to cross the Pra river to be far from an eminent threat from the Asantes.

The Asantes however pursued them and while crossing the river the king was shot by the Akyems who had laid ambush on the other side of the it.  

Other reports indicate that the war as a result of several moves by the Akyems to test the prowess of the Ashanti Kingdom and their alliances after the defeat of Denkyira (their alliance).

Others asserts that, pre-colonial politicians such as Captain George Maclean, Commander Hill also pitched Asantes against the Akyem and other coastal states.
This led to the fight and the shooting to death of Nana Osei Tutu while crossing River Pra in 1717 in a war with the Akyems.

Britain, Netherland, Denmark for instance, also planned and executed a war between coastal towns on one side and Ashantis leading to the defeat of the former in 1826. The Ashantis who were then seeking total control over trading activities at the coast saw their dominance cut in the Battle of "Katamanso". 

Asanteman and Okyeman are not rivals

Otumfour Osei Tutu II hugs Okyehene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin-yawpreko blog
Otumfour Osei Tutu II hugs Okyehene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin source: Ghana presidency

Thurday, 24th August 2018, marked they day the long held public misconception was rebuked. This peaceful association has always prevailed after the war and the fact that Asantehene Opoku Ware I and Asantehene Osei Tutu II married from Akyem attest to it.

Asantes and Akyems are all Akans and connected through history. One would wonder why there is Asante-Akyem in the Ashanti region. 

Are they Akans or Akyems and could they be rivals? 

It is documented that availability of virgin lands in the area served as a pull factor for independents Akan groups to settle in the area to farm.

On this account, the two Solomon displayed love to the Ghanaian community and the whole world. 

Otumfour Osei Tutu's was clothed in a 83-years old Kente garment - cloth of many colours

Otumfour Osei Tutu II-Yawpreko blog
Otumfour Osei Tutu II being ushered to the durbar grounds in a palanquin. Source:myjoyonline

The king made appearance at the durbar in a colorful Kente regalia which was later revealed to be 83 years old and was first worn in 1935 by the then Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Prempeh I during the restoration of the Asante Confederacy. Nana Prempeh ascended the throne in 1888 when he was 16-years old.

In 1935 the British formally restored the Ashanti state, but power in the country actually remained in the hands of the British governor of the Gold Coast. The king wore this colouful Kente to signify peace, oneness and unity. A cloth of many colours indeed !


Otumfour osei Tutu II official vehicle-yawpreko blog
Otumfour osei Tutu II official vehicle - source GHpage

What do you think of this historic visit and future relations between the two rulers? 

Visit yawpreko blog for more and great articles from yawpreko archive

Sources

http://dailyguideafrica.com/otumfuo-shakes-kyebi-in-historic-visit/
https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Asantehene-to-make-historic-visit-to-Kyebi-on-Thursday-678675
http://pdfproc.lib.msu.edu/?file=/DMC/African%20Journals/pdfs/Institue%20of%20African%20Studies%20Research%20Review/1973v9n1/asrv009001004.pdf
http://www.ghanaculture.gov.gh/index1.php?linkid=65&archiveid=1827&page=1&adate=18/02/2011
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akyem
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashanti_Empire
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashanti_people
https://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/04/world/opoku-ware-ii-king-of-asante-is-dead-at-89.html
http://www.okyeman.com/okyeman%20history1.htm
https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2018/August-23rd/historian-traces-source-of-ashanti-akyem-rivalry-lauds-otumfuo-visit-to-okyeman.php
https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Asante+Confederacy
Why the Ashanti King, Otumfour Osei Tutu's historic visit to Okyehene Why the Ashanti King, Otumfour Osei Tutu's historic visit to Okyehene Reviewed by RRAJ on 8/27/2018 Rating: 5

2 comments:

  1. The two wise kings has displayed wisdom and this will remain forever in the history books

    ReplyDelete

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