Custodian of the Land
In many parts of West Africa, there is an old chieftaincy tradition, and the Akan people have developed their own hierarchy (Nana), which exists alongside the democratic structure of the country. The highest committee of all groups is are the Ashanti National House of Chiefs in Kumasi, Ghana. The highest rank among the Ashanti’s is that of the Ashantehene, the paramount chief of all paramount chiefs represented in his royal majesty of Otumfou Osei Tutu II
Ranked below the Asantehene are the paramount chiefs, the chiefs and the sub-chiefs. A sub-chief can be compared to the mayor of a town, except that his office is hereditary as opposed to elective. The chiefs have their own territories, and apart from overseeing them, they have a function at the courts of their paramount chiefs as their ministers. Chieftaincy is officially accepted, a chief arbitrates and decides political, ecological and economic questions in his area.
Government comes and goes, but the traditional ruler and council stays forever as the custodians of the land.
About 20 years ago, on both sides of the Ashanti Region stretch of the Accra-Kumasi Highway one could find lush vegetation and variety of trees and diverse animal life. In those years some parts of the Kumasi Highway meandered through dense forests with tree canopies formed above. Over the years, most of the trees and animal species have died as a result of climate change whilst most forest areas have become grassland. The ecosystem was run down and communities living in the affected areas are paying a heavy price as they face prolonged drought, erratic rainfall and severe weather patterns that are affecting their livelihood.
In July 2019, Asantehene Otumfou Osei Tutu II announced his devotion to protect the water bodies of Asante Kingdom. This would involve the planting of 2.5 million trees around Lake Bosomtwe and would cover 400 hectares. The tree planting initiative is a collaboration between the Oheneba Poku Foundation and Manhyia Palace. The Forestry Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Water Resource Commission, the Ghana Tourism Authority, UNESCO, the District Assemblies of Besome-Freho and Bosumtwe, and the Lake Bosomtwe Community Resources Management Areas (CREMA), which is an NGO are the other stakeholders.
In my function as Atwimahene, I follow the initiative of my royal majesty Otumfou Osei Tutu II and support his effort with my tree planting project AshanTree – Ashanti goes green!
In collaboration with some selected sustainable partners in Germany we hope to achieve our goals in climate, development and humanity projects.
Nana Antwi Agyei Brempong II
ATWIMA | KUMASI | ASHANTI REGION | GHANA