I’m Not A Politician, National Development: Is My Objective — Asantehene

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has stated that his criticisms and commendation of governments are inspired by the interest of the ordinary Ghanaian and not because he is affiliated to any political party. He said since the days of former President Rawlings, he had criticised and commended governments when the situation demanded and would continue, as a traditional ruler, to hold the development of the nation as his paramount objective. Otumfuo Osei Tutu made the statement when the national executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), led by its President, Mr Affail Monney, paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi yesterday to thank him for attending the 19th GJA Awards ceremony held in Accra recently. Interaction with Presidents Otumfuo Osei Tutu explained that his closeness with former President Rawlings was due to the fact that when he assumed the mantle as the Asantehene in 1999, he never hesitated to commend the then President for what he did right and criticised him when he believed that certain decisions and actions of the President were not in the interest of the country. The Asantehene said he acted in a similar manner during the tenure of President J. A. Kufuor and the late President J. E. A. Mills and recounted how the late Mills had invited him a week before his demise for a dispassionate discussion on national development. He said he had been telling President John Mahama about things that he thought were being done right and those which needed to be done properly for the accelerated development of the country. "It is the total development of Ghana that I am seeking. I want the Ghanaian to have quality education and gainful employment," he stressed, and added that once a government was voted for to assume the mantle of leadership, it had to be recognised as such and be made to work for the people. Media Otumfuo Osei Tutu reiterated his call on the media, as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, to resist the temptation of people who would want to use money and other goodies to influence them to renege on their professional ethics. He explained that everybody worked to be rewarded, but if journalists allowed monetary considerations to supercede the national interest, Ghana would not achieve the needed development. The Asantehene urged opponents of any government to structure their criticisms in a way that would make the country a better place. Journalist of the Year While commending Ms Mabel Aku Baneseh of the Daily Graphic for winning the coveted Journalist of the Year award, Otumfuo Osei Tutu described the feat as a clear testimony of how women strove to attain excellence when given the opportunity and urged other female members of the fraternity in the Ashanti Region to emulate her example. He pledged a reward of GH˘5,000 for the GJA Journalist of the Year. Mr Monney was full of praise for the Asantehene for honouring the association’s invitation to the awards night and raising issues of national importance at the event. When she was invited by the king to make a comment, Ms Baneseh urged her colleagues to be guided by their professional principles, which included fairness, truth, accuracy and, above all, impartiality.