Two names that have dominated the media landscape this week are John Mahama and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
The pair are known to be close friends, but a recent speech by the Asantehene appears to have bred a bit of tension.
Addressing the United Nations High Level Forum on the 20th Anniversary of the Adoption and Declaration of the Culture of Peace in New York last Friday, September 13, 2019 the Otumfuo suggested he was the one who persuaded Mahama to accept the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
He said the country stood at the point of “disaster” and nearly sloped into a state of “violence” until he stepped in.
“At the conclusion of the last presidential and parliamentary elections, the country stood on the edge of disaster. UN representatives and the diplomatic community were aghast; alarmed that Ghana was going to slip down the slope of electoral violence,” the Asantehene said.
Otumfuo’s utterances, though, did not sit well with the office of the former president Mahama, who rejected the king’s claims.
A statement from Mahama’s office, signed by former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, denied any claim that the Asantehene persuaded Mahama to concede defeat in the last election.
"It is public knowledge that President Mahama willingly announced his decision to accept the outcome of the 2016 elections and congratulate Nana Akufo-Addo even before the official results were formally declared by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission,” sections of the statement read.
There have since been a back and forth, with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) also getting involved.
The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, has accused Mahama of casting aspersions at the Asantehene and has warned him not to step foot in the region.
Meanwhile, a group calling itself the Asante Youth Association has called on Mahama to dissociate himself from the press statement or face their wrath.
According to the group, the NDC is trying to downplay the relevance of the Asantehene in the country’s democratic process.
In another development, the Manhyia Palace has issued a strong word of caution to Mahama, insisting calling Otumfuo a liar is an inexcusable offense.
A special aide to the Asantehene, Baffour Hyiaman Brentuo VI, said Mahama would be an ingrate if he allows his cronies to convince the nation that the Asantehene is a liar.
But amidst all the tension, former president Jerry John Rawlings has called for calm and cool heads between both factions.
"The Asantehene has made us proud with a highly educative address to the UN on the subject of Peace,” Rawlings tweeted.
"Comments by former President John Mahama on an aspect of the address shouldn't elicit or provoke an edict sounding threat."
"It’s unwarranted and unnecessary. There's enough tension. Let's cool it and cool off," he added.
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