The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has revealed that former President Jerry John Rawlings disliked him when he first assumed the Presidency of the country.
According to him, that feeling of animosity later turned out to be a great relationship between them.
The Asante Monarch and the former military leader who assumed the highest office of the land, first through a coup d’etat in 1979, have an enviable friendly relationship. Their closeness have often led to critics accuse the king of having a soft spot for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) which was founded by Mr. Rawlings in 1992. He went ahead to win the 1992 elections under a democratic dispensation, becoming a democratic leader.
Addressing a group of chiefs and elders of the Ashanti Kingdom on his return from South Africa Sunday, Otumfuo dismissed rumours that he is in bed with the ruling party, saying his position as a traditional leader makes it imperative for him to work with all Presidents regardless of their political parties.
“I came to meet Jerry Rawlings in office. Initially, he didn’t like me but we went on to become friends and we worked together until he completed his tenure in 2000,” he said.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu calmed the nerves of the people of Agogo and Old Tafo and promised to protect his kinsmen and resolve the conflicts in the two areas.
He did not indicate how soon he would take action but gave an assurance that he would not remain unconcerned and watch the people in his kingdom being killed.
The Asantehene said he would institute his own mechanisms and initiative to end the conflicts, but did not state which form these would take.