Ghana: Who’s who in the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s inner circle?

By Kent Mensah
Posted on Wednesday, 9 March 2022 14:48

Ghana's fearless king of the rich and historic Ashanti Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, barely speaks in public and whenever he does, it sets tongues wagging. We dive into the heart of the Manhyia Palace.

Arguably the most revered and popular monarch in Ghana, the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is often perceived by outsiders as the ceremonial king of the West African nation.

However, of the 16 administrative regions of Ghana, he rules over one; the Ashanti Region – the third largest province occupying 10.2% of the total land area of Ghana. The 16th occupant of the Golden Stool – the symbol of power in the Ashanti Kingdom since the 17th century – has in the past two decades received high profile personalities including presidents, businesspeople, royals and diplomats.

The lover of football and golf rules over a jurisdiction with large gold deposits, one of Ghana’s main exports. He’s a peace broker and wields a lot of influence irrespective of which government is in power.

The Africa Report digs into who has easy access to the Manhyia Palace, the seat of the Asantehene, as well as his official residence.

Kufuor, a former president of Ghana is very close to the realtor by profession. They are both members of the Freemason fraternity. In November 2017, the two associates attended a meeting by Grand Masters of the Freemasons in the United Kingdom.

The Asantehene has on countless instances engaged Kufuor privately on national interest including resolving a purported feud between the late Ghanaian president Jerry John Rawlings and Kufuor. During his time as president, Kufuor appointed the Asantehene as head of a committee of eminent chiefs to resolve a chieftaincy crisis in northern Ghana that has spanned over two decades. The two continue to touch base on personal issues and those of national importance.

Jonah and Asantehene have been childhood friends. During the former’s 70th birthday celebration, while recounting some of the fondest memories between the two, the Asantehene said they lived in what he described as “the permissible transgressions of adventurous youth”. The first black general manager of Ashanti Goldfields Corporation now AngloGold Ashanti often plays golf with the king.

Jonah, who was knighted (honourary) by the Queen of England in 2003, has sat on 18 boards worldwide. Harvard University once named him as one of the greatest Africans. He has also received five-lifetime achievement awards.

He is the executive chairman of Jonah Capital, an equity firm he founded in South Africa. The 72-year-old is a board member of the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Foundation – established to drive corporate social responsibility initiatives by the king.

Igbinedion is the Esama of Benin state in Nigeria. The Nigerian businessman, according to his official website,  owns a private bank, oil refinery, diamond, gold, marble mines across Africa, a private university (Igbinedion University, the first private university in Nigeria) and a large number of hotels. The Esama of Benin also owns a number of private hospitals in Nigeria.

In 2016, the Esama of Benin held a luxurious event in London to celebrate the 15th anniversary on the stool of his friend and the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. The Ghanaian monarch had earlier that same year been to Nigeria to celebrate New Year with the person he calls his bosom friend and brother.

Daasebre Nana Osei Bonsu II, also known as Saint Oswald Gyimah-Kessie, is the second in command of the Ashanti Kingdom. The 82-year-old lawyer is the Duke of a part of the kingdom known as Mampong. Bonsu II has been occupying his stool since 1996.

He served as the regent of the Kingdom of Ashanti from 25 February 1999 to 26 April 1999 when the previous king died. He once served as registrar of the largest public university in the kingdom – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology – and also as chairperson of the Ghana Energy Commission.

The senior police officer gained access into the inner circles of the king after serving as a commander in the kingdom over a three-year period. Years after being transferred from the region, Kofi Boakye is often seen attending private events of the Asantehene including birthday parties.

The king has been accused of lobbying for the promotion of the police chief in the government of former President John Mahama. Denying the allegation, the Asantehene said his friend was promoted on merit.

Boakye served as commander of three regions before being transferred to the police headquarters in the capital, Accra. He holds a BSc in Biochemistry from KNUST and is a trained ballistic analyst from the Metropolitan Police Support Services. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Ghana, a Post Graduate Certificate in Administration from Leicester University, UK and is a Barrister at Law.

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