Installation Of An Asantehene

Request  After the burial of Asantehene, tradition requires that the Golden Stool should not be left vacant for more than forty days. The Gyaase then made a request to Asantehemaa, who is regarded as the authority on the genealogy of the ruling kings, for a new king to occupy the Golden Stool. Electing an Asantehene has never been easy. There is intensive lobbying of rival candidates. The influence of public opinion on the selection of an Asantehene makes the Asante succession process a combination of hierarchical system and election.

Nomination There is extensive lobbying by various chiefs and people on behalf of their preferred candidates. This is usually a tense time and each candidate must being to act as a possible Asantehene. Each candidate is expected to seclude himself from public appearance and ensure good behaviour. The period between the acceptance of the drinks of a candidate who makes a formal request through another chief and his nomination is crucial for the confirmation of the character of the candidate.

In practice the Queen mother engages in elaborate and discreet consultations among influential and knowledgeable people. The principle of selection makes it imperative that Asantehemaa’s choice is acceptable to both the Kumasi Traditional and Asanteman Councils. The Asantehemaa therefore summoned the elders of the royal family after her extensive consultations. They carefully considered the various candidates who had formally requested to be Asantehene. They agreed on Barima Kwaku Duah and the Queen mother presented his name to the Gyaasehene who then informed the Krontihene- head of the non- Gyaase (household) division of the Kumasi State.

Introduction to Gyaase The nominee was introduce to the Gyaase and if there were any reservation about his candidature they were expected to voice them out or remained silent. Objections raised should be based on substantive evidence such a crime, imprisonment, terminal disease, disability or loss of any of his body. No objections were raised so they congratulated and advised him.

After the Gyaase accepted Barima Kwaku Dua as the nominee, he was put under the protection and guidance of Nana Saaman Nantwi (Saamanhene) who is the head of the four division of the Gyaase. The process of introduction of the Queen Mother’s nomination continued with remaining Kumasi chiefs at Bantamahene’s palace. No objections (such as any of the above) were raised and all the principal chiefs, Krontihene Bantamahene, Akwamuhene, Nifahene, Adontenhene Benkumhene, Oyokohene and Kyidom accepted him as Kumasihene. He was then introduced to the Kumasi Traditional Council and was acclaimed and accepted. White clay or powder was put on his shoulders to indicate his acceptance. He then paid an aseda fee to them for bestowing the honour and responsibility on him and also to confirm his acceptance and contribution towards the preparations of his installation. Bantamahene then appointed a delegation of chiefs and linguist to inform Mamponghene (who is the Awisiahene, chief of orphans, chief mourner and acting Asantehene) of the selection of a successor and convene a meeting of Asanteman Council to consider the candidate.

Meeting of Asanteman Council In order that the Kumasihene –elect might assume the position of Asantehene, a meeting of all Asante chiefs outside Kumasi in Apremso was convened for them to approve of the nomination. At this meeting the Kumasi Traditional Council sent a formal delegation to the Asanteman Council to inform them about the candidate. In a closed door discussion they reviewed the candidate and after satisfying themselves approved him as Asantehene. This meeting was chaired by Mamponghene on 1st April 1999 in a closed –door meeting of all paramount owing loyalty to the Golden Stool. They came from both the Ashanti region and outside the region. They then came to Dwabrem to ask to see the candidate who was brought out of confinement and introduced to the Council. Objections could have also been raised at this point. However, there were none. The Amanhene unanimously accepted and congratulated him at the gathering and advised him on how to conduct himself and govern. He was asked to pay another aseda fee (a fee for expressing appreciation).

Oath Swearing After these formalities and advice from the various chiefs and linguist a date was set for the swearing ceremony. On that day he swore the oath of allegiance to the Kumasi Traditional Council. The Asantehene-elect swore as Otumfuo Osei Tutu II with the Mponponsuo sword at Dwabrem, the durbar grounds near Manhyia Palace, saying

“I am the grandson of Osei and Poku
I am the grandson of Nana Bonsu
I am the grandson of Nana Agyeman
Nana Kwame Kyiretwie was my uncle
Opoku Ware II was my senior brother
Today my elder brother Opoku Ware is gone to his village and if by the grace of Kumasi people you have given his gun to me to rule, if I do not rule well, if I do not govern the state and protect you well as my forefathers did, I violate the great oath”

After this the various chiefs in the Kumasi Division including Krontire Akwamu, Nifa Benkum Adonten, Oyoko Kyidom, Gyaase, Ankobea and Nkosuo, heads of various palace attendants swore to him with their respective swords saying:

“I swear by the great oath that if do not exhibit the same loyalty and trust worthiness with which I helped your uncle to govern this nation during your reign but on the other hand I am less truthful, I have broken my oath”

Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu ii Swearing in 2009

Pampaso Rites The next events of the installation were the rites at Pampaso and Manhyia. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II arrived at a house near the Pampaso stool house in his officially Rolls Royce. He was carried in a small palanquin called Denkyemkye (in which he sits just once in his life) with two medium-sized umbrellas over his head, and rode in it to Pampaso. Tradition about Pampaso recalls that Opoku Ware was in the care of Pampasohemaa when he was requested to be released to become the next Asantehene after the death of Osei Tutu. Pampaso is also the historical site where the Golden Stool was conjured and where previous swearing took place. He was made to lean three times on Okomfo Anokye’s sacred Piesie spear which he planted there.

The Pampasohemaa during this ceremony became the mother of Asantehene and symbolically carried him on her back and handed him over to a select group of chiefs. The Wade-Adumakesehene was sent for from Denkyeminaso Stool house and all the state swords were assembled before Otumfuo before he could proceed to Pampaso Stool House. Inside the Stool House he was handed the Busumuru sword with which he swore. This is one of the seven keteafona swords kept by the Busumuruhene and it is the only one out of the seven used to swear by the Asantehene. He uses this to swear once in his life during this Pampaso ceremony. There were also other ceremonies such as sitting on the Asipim dwete (silver stool). These were the symbols and religious ceremonies, which set him apart as a sacred person with taboos, rituals and accompanying responsibilities. He then came out and publicly danced with the Busumuru sword to the tune of the Aprede drums before the Piesie spear. He also danced to the tune of Fontomfrom with the Mponponsuo sword in his right hand while Osei Tutu’s war shield was in his left hand.

He returned in the palanquin to another house where he changed into Batakarikese, a tradition wardress of Asante kings with many talismans sewn on it, as the commander-in chief of Asante army. He rode in a palanquin to Kumasi Sport Stadium in a long procession led by priests and priestesses, Gyaase, Mawere, Nkosuo and Ankobea divisions. Inside the stadium, he fired three gunshots, one each in front of Asantehemaa (the mother of the nation), Mamponghene (representing the right wing Division of Asante) and Essumejahene (also representing the left wing Division). This indicated his bravery and ability to lead Asantes to war.

Manhyia Rites From the Kumasi Sports Stadium ceremony Otumfuo Osei Tutu II went to Manhyia Palace. He changed and dressed in the regalia attached to the Busumuru and Mponponsuo swords. He wore the denkyemkye on his head, held two swords in his left and right hands (Mponponsuo in his right and Busumuru in his left), and wore the Mpaboakese, “great sandals”, originally used by Osei Tutu. Then in a midnight ceremony the Mamponghene, as chief mourner and acting head of the Confederacy, supported by the Nifa (right wing) Adontehene(central body) Essumehahene, Benkumhene (left wing), Krontihene, Akwamuhene, Gyaase (chiefs household), Ankobea (advisors), Manwerehene, Akyempemhene and Kyidomhene (Rear Gurads) helped the Asantehene –elect and placed him three times on the Golden Stool. This established a spiritual link with his ancestors and the soul of the nation. Through these installation ceremonies, he became the spiritual, judicial, military and political leader of Asante.

The last item handed over to him was the dwete koduo (silver container), in which there is an assortment of valuable items including gold dust. As he moves from one place to the other he is expected to use the treasure in it either as gifts or to make purchases. It is often seen whenever Asantehene is seated or moving. If this was not handed over to him he would not be considered properly installed. After Asantehene had sat on the Golden Stool all the Amanhene, Abrempong and other Asante chiefs, swore to him immediately in an all night ceremony and pledge their support and commitment to serve and obey his call day or night. Different types of swords were used to swear to him, for example the Amanhene and Abrempong used the Mponponsuo sword. This completed the installation ceremony of the candidates as Asantehene. He sat in state the following day and received congratulations from chiefs, other leaders and well wisher.