A colourful grand durbar of chiefs and people of the Ashanti Kingdom has begun at the Kumasi Sports Stadium to climax a two-month celebration of the 15th anniversary of the coronation of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
All paramount chiefs and other sub chiefs as well as their elders dressed in pure kente and under colourful umbrellas are in attendances.
Present to grace the occasion are President John Dramani Mahama, former presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and Jerry John Rawlings and former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Otumfuo who is the only King in Ashanti carried in a palanquin was paraded through some principal streets and arrived at the stadium at exactly 12.15pm, as with all the dignitaries already seated.
President Mahama and his predecessors have already greeted the Otumfuo, followed by members of the diplomatic corps.
They were also followed by ministers of state in government and those who served in the Kufuor administration.
The Ghana News Agency reports that the Baba Yara Sports Stadium was on Sunday turned into a magnet, pulling in thousands of people from all walks of life, to share in the joy of the celebration of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as the 16th Asante King.
Some traditional rulers and people, started trooping to the place as early as 0600 hours dressed in different patterns of “kente” – traditional cloth.
Big multi-coloured umbrellas had formed a canopy, presenting an extra-ordinary beautiful scenery and intrinsic cultural dance performances and traditional drumming, reverberating the stadium.
Security was tight with a military helicopter hovering in the skies.
President John Dramani Mahama flew to Kumasi on Saturday evening to be part of the historic event. There were former Presidents Jerry Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufour together with their Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Other powerful and influential traditional leaders including the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Saad Abubakar III, Oni of Ife, Alayeluwa Oba Okunade, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu and the Kabaka of Buganda, King Ronald Mawenda Mutebi II, were present to add colour to the occasion.
The highly-treasured and revered sacred Golden Stool (Sika-Adwa Kofi), the unifying force behind the Asante Kingdom, which is rarely seen in public, was on display.
The Asantehene, resplendent in richly designed traditional cloth, adorned in gold ornaments and carrying a shotgun, rode to the durbar grounds in a palanquin from Asafo-Abrotia under the canopy of big umbrellas, accompanied by a large retinue of chiefs and attendants and amidst “kete”, “mpintin” and “fontomfrom” drumming, clattering of the executioners’ swords and praise singing (kwadwom).
The procession was led by the “samanka” – a (brass pan) containing some traditional herbs believed to provide the King with spiritual fortification and the “dwete kuduo” – a silver pot full of gold dust, symbolising the opulence of the Asante Kingdom.
Source: Ghana Daily Graphic