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Historic royal visit: Ga Mantse, Asantehene deepen bond

The Ga State and the Ashanti Kingdom firmed up relations on one big stage yesterday in a glorious royal durbar as the Ga Mantse, Nii Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, hosted the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at a gathering that reflected the diversity of the Ghanaian society.

It was the second of such royal visits by an Asante king since Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II paid a visit to the Ga State on July 25, 1946. But in a re-enactment of the royal engagement between the two kingdoms almost 78 years on, the traditional lords pulled along religious leaders, corporate elite, politicians and other citizens as they brought the neighbourhood of the Ga Mantse Palace to a virtual standstill.

The about three-hour durbar, characterised by the cultural identities of the two kingdoms, was to deepen the bond between the people of Ga and Ashanti. The Asantehene arrived in Accra with a sizeable entourage of paramount chiefs and royal guards among others, transporting the Ashanti native culture to the national capital in the king’s historic visit since he ascended the throne 25 years ago.

Performances
The durbar of few speeches was characterised by traditional drumming and dance performances, the firing of muskets and choral music, with the Ghana Dance Ensemble spicing it all up with the Kple ritual dance that featured white-clad women.

The peak of it was the performance of the rare and special Obonu royal dance performed by the Paramount Chief of Ngleshie Amanfro, Nii Kwashie Gborlor IV, clad in his full regalia, to welcome the Asantehene.

Scenes
The streets outside the Ga Mantse Palace were lined by a cheering crowd, with groups waving the Ga and Asante flags. The durbar ground started buzzing by 12:30 p.m. as the chiefs began to arrive in a procession that started with Ga chiefs amid the firing of muskets.

Ahead of the arrival of the Ga Mantse, the Paramount Chief of Sempe, Nii Adote Otintor II, some paramount chiefs and queenmothers and elders in the Ga State, traditional priests, priestesses and the Asafos (warriors) all joined in their full regalia and sat for proceedings to begin.

Maidens clad in white, carrying calabashes lined on the outside with white feathers also came in a procession. Around 12:47 p.m., King Tackie Teiko Tsuru and his retinue started arriving at the durbar ground.

The Gbese Mantse and Adonten of the Ga State, Nii Ayi-Bonte II, followed. At around 1:30 p.m., the Asantehene arrived in his black Rolls Royce dressed in his Kente regalia. He was accompanied by his retinue of chiefs and dignitaries from both the Ga and Asante kingdoms and was ushered onto the durbar ground amid traditional drumming and dance performance.

The Asantehene’s entourage included paramount chiefs in the Ashanti kingdom, divisional chiefs, queenmothers and stool attendants. The Asantehene and his entourage that also included the Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, walked to the dais where the Ga Mantse was seated, the two engaging in an iconic handshake which drew wild cheers from the gathering.

Dignitaries
In attendance were ministers of state, including the Minister for the Interior, Henry Quartey; the Minister of Roads and Highways, Francis Asenso-Boakye; the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover; the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, Michael Oquaye Jnr; a member of Council of State, Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson; a former Black Stars captain, Stephen Appiah; and the Chief Executive of the AMA, Elizabeth Sackey.

Other guests included Founder of the World Miracle Outreach, Dr Lawrence Tetteh; former and members of the diplomatic corps, including the South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Grace Jeanet Mason.

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Gratitude to Otumfuo
Addressing the durbar, King Tackie Teiko Tsuru expressed gratitude to the Asantehene on behalf of Ga chiefs for the august visit and the gesture. He called on all Ga people to come together to pursue a common destiny by shunning tendencies that could fester division among them and ultimately retard progress and development.

Ahead of the general election, he advised politicians to ensure that Ghana eventually emerged the winner. He said the relationship between the two kingdoms would grow even stronger after the historic hosting of the Asantehene in Accra by the people of the Ga State.

He prayed for peace for Ghana. Otumfuo Osei Tutu similarly expressed gratitude to the Ga State for the warm reception, saying he was impressed with the large crowd.

Emphasising the bond between the two kingdoms, the Asantehene said he was not a visitor at the Ga Mantse Palace. Recounting the earlier visit by his uncle, Nana Agyemang Prempeh, he said the relationship between the Ashanti Kingdom and the Ga State represented true friendship, and that his visit was to firm that legacy up.

He said Ga and Ashanti must come together to ensure development not only for the two kingdoms but Ghana at large. He thanked the Ga Mantse for paying homage to him during his 25th anniversary commemoration.

“I promise to support you anytime you call on me,” the Ashanti king stated. He urged the people of Ga State to rally behind the Ga Mantse to succeed. Otumfuo Osei Tutu donated GH¢500,000 to an education endowment fund for brilliant, needy children in the Ga State.

Collaboration
The Greater Accra Regional Minister said: “Chieftaincy is not about wars to conquer territories. It is about friendship; it is about collaboration, and how we can develop our people.

Whether in the area of education, industry, trade and commerce, physical infrastructure development, or digitisation”. He lauded the Asantehene for his exemplary leadership, which he said had brought peace and unity during his reign in the Ashanti kingdom.

He expressed the hope that the visit would strengthen the bond between the GaDangme State and the Ashanti Kingdom, stressing the Asantehene’s experience and leadership, and hoping to draw from his insights to foster greater collaboration and friendship.

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