African News

Asantehene, Traditional Values and KNUST

28 December 2005 at 02:38 | 513 views

The recent appointment by Ghana’s leading science and technology school of the
Asantehene (King of the Asante ethnic group), Otumfuo Osei Tutu 11, as
it’s Chancellor not only reveals the increasing relevance of the
Asantehene in Ghana’s development process.

It also demonstrates the emerging weight of
Ghanaian/African values in the country’s progress. The policy session in the
northern city of Tamale advising policy developers to consult Ghanaian
values and experiences, the on-going attempts by the Ghana Judiciary
Services in mixing Ghanaian traditional legal values with the
colonially-imposed ones, and attempts to move the seat of Ghanaian governments
from the former slave trading post at the Osu Castle to a new building or
an innovated one for purely Ghanaian traditional cosmological reasons are othe examples.

Our correspondent in Ottawa, Kofi Akosa-Sarpong, who has an abiding interest in African cultural values and their relevance to national development elaborates:

By Kofi Akosah-Sarpong

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Governing
Council, in appointing the Asantehene as its Chancellor, demonstrates
its grasp of the emerging thinking that Ghanaian values, like the
colonially-imposed values, should also inform Ghana’s progress heavily and
openly in the country’s national life in order for a holistic development to
take place.

Nowhere is this manifestly true than appointing the
Asantehene, who manifests core Ghanaian traditional values and who has
openly challenged African elites at home and abroad - from the prestigious
Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Lagos to the high profile
Harvard University, Boston, USA to the esteemed South African House of
Chiefs - to incorporate African values in the continent’s development

If the KNUST says the Asantehene was appointed for his “commitment to the
progress and advancement of all Ghanaians,” then the school agrees that it
is dealing with a man who thinks within the realm of the values of Ghana
and Africa in his commitment to the progress and advancement of all
Ghanaians; values that have for long been suppressed in the larger
Ghanaian/African development scheme of things by both the colonialists and
post-independent Ghanaian elites.

In this sense, the challenge for both the
Asantehene and the Governing Council of KNUST is to awaken their creative
powers and visions and mix the university’s values, the university’s
curriculum, the university’s education process with the enabling aspects
of Ghanaian/African values so as to produce graduates who can think
holistically within Ghanaian/African values and experiences together with the
colonially-imposed ones in Ghana’s development process.

By undertaking this venture, many an historical and cultural wrongs that
have suppressed Ghana’s development, that have disheartened Ghana’s progress
will be corrected - it will also help awaken Ghanaian values in the larger
development of the state. Still, in doing so, future graduates from KNUST
would see the relevance, towards the progress of Ghana, of consulting
Ghanaians, their values and their experiences in policy development. So
the cocoa farmer in a remote village in the Western Region will not only
feel as being part of the policies that affect his or her farming business
but will also understand things better since the policies originated from
within his or her values, history, and experiences. It is in this process
that there will be development trust, a key ingredient in the development
process, by Ghanaians with Ghanaians, especially their elites, as KNUST
has seen in the Asantehene, a chief cultural and trust carrier, by
appointing him and his appreciating the “trust reposed in him as the

Photo: Ghana’s Asantehene(King of the Asante).