In a thought-provoking statement, Yaw Anokye Frimpong, a lawyer and historian, has raised questions about the royal title of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the overlord of the Ashanti land in Ghana. Frimpong contends that the traditional leader is not a king, as commonly referred to, but rather a paramount chief with unique powers.
Frimpong emphasized that the Ashanti Kingdom, once prominent in history, no longer exists in the same form. According to him, the laws of Ghana, to which Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is subject, do not recognize the establishment of kings.
In his interview with GhanaWeb, Frimpong stated that kings, in the truest sense, are the heads of state in their respective countries, having their own parliament, judiciary, and executive branches.
“The words kingdom and king are not in Ghana’s chieftaincy laws and regulations. Because to be a king means to be the head of a kingdom, and to have a kingdom means you have a king who has his own parliament, who has got his own judiciary and has an executive under him, and the people of the country are subject to him without question,” Frimpong explained.
Frimpong drew a distinction between the traditional leader of the Ashanti and historical kings like Charles II of England. He highlighted that the Asantehene’s authority is confined to the Ashanti land, and he is subject to the laws and institutions of Ghana, unlike a head of state.
While Frimpong questioned the widespread use of the term “king” for Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, he acknowledged the traditional leader’s unique position as a “super paramount chief.”
According to Frimpong, the Asantehene possesses powers that surpass those of other paramount chiefs in Ghana. Notably, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II holds the authority to enstool or destool any paramount chief under his jurisdiction, a privilege not granted to other traditional leaders in the country.
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