Saturday, 1 June 2013

2013 Annual Democracy Lecture (Advancing Together), Otumfuo Osei Tutu II - The Review

So as we press the PAUSE button and rewind in slow motion, we should put our achievements in perspective, take note of the potential we have already wasted and the prospects that still lie ahead. No doubt our past has a lot to inspire us. But the real challenge is now and tomorrow.

So we are all in it together, we swim or sink together and for every act of failure we pin on governments, we must be courageous enough to accept our individual failings too.

The Asantehene diagnoses the ills of our democracy in specific, our country in 
general, and lays it at his, yours, and my doorstep. We, as Individuals. We, as 
Corporations. And we, as a collective.

The Concept
Don't tell me monarchs cannot endorse, criticize or promote democracy, because 
I can, and I will.

I am a king so no body is above my censure, and I am outraged, so everybody 
will face the force of my outrage, but I am also a wise diplomat, so while nobody 
is spared, everybody will come away feeling justified, assuaged and protected.

And now to the meat. You, yes you, you are as much to blame as anybody else. 

The Writing
It shows that the King knows the Queens language papa (even if he probably
didn't write the speech). Very well written.

No nonsense talk, couched in beautiful language.

The Story
The speech, while managing to incorporate two centuries of Ashanti history and
the mood of Ghanaians at independence, is completely focused on the ills facing the
Ghanaian society now, and how we may address them to ensure a better Ghana
for today and tomorrow.

The Asantehene shies away from no topic, boxing every deserving ear, from two-
faced politicians, through striking doctors/workers , money-conscious pastors,
discord-feeding media, trash-talking serial callers, to the everybody-blaming-but-
doing-little-themselves, individuals  who are you and I.

While acknowledging the truth of his assertions that any proper development of  this
nation has to be based on indigenous Ghanaian culture and values, the anti-chieftaincy
campaigner in me can't help but be unconvinced that just because monarchs elsewhere
have managed to insert themselves in some of the most thriving democracies, that
the idea of a God appointed ruler over peoples isn't at opposite ends with the idea of
peoples electing their own leaders. And while we are at it, isn't there something a bit
off about the custodian of Ashanti culture being so unequivocally western in his world
view, pointing out how much better our colonial masters were at planning our cities,
as well as being so openly, very christian?

The Resolution
The speech comes to a fitful end with the Asantehene highlighting the history of the ethnic
togetherness of this nation and emphasizing how essential it is in Ghana's forward march
as one nation.

The Verdict
It is very heartwarming to have someone who will be heard, express your every view,
concern and dream for your nation clearly, succintly and also manage to keep it from
being preachy. Even if he be a King.

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