US-based vlogger Kevin Ekow Baidoo Taylor has stirred controversy by branding the “Heal Komfo Anokye” Campaign, launched by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as an act of “hypocrisy.” Taylor alleges that the appeal for funds is a form of “indirect extortion” and criticizes the Asante monarch for not openly addressing the government’s alleged non-performance in the health sector within the region.
In a recent video posted on his platform, Taylor asserted that the fundraising initiative, aimed at renovating the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), is characterized by “untruthfulness” on the part of the Asantehene. He contends that Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s failure to directly criticize the government’s handling of healthcare issues amounts to a lack of transparency.
Taylor argued, “Now a Chief is saying we should contribute for Komfo Anokye. But because he cannot speak the truth… he won’t speak the truth! We have paid taxes to the government for 7 years, but Otumfuo is indirectly extorting the public.”
He accused the Asantehene of diverting attention from the alleged shortcomings of the government by focusing on fundraising efforts. Taylor also expressed his belief that Otumfuo Osei Tutu II should be more vocal in demanding accountability from the government rather than resorting to what he perceives as indirect financial pressure on the public.
The “Heal Komfo Anokye” Campaign was launched by the Asantehene last week with the goal of mobilizing funds to renovate the 70-year-old KATH. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II appealed to households in the Ashanti Region to donate GH¢200 a month towards the renovation project, emphasizing the hospital’s significant role in healthcare delivery.
While the Asantehene has received widespread support for the initiative, Taylor’s critique has sparked debate among social media users and the Ghanaian diaspora. Some argue that the vlogger’s comments lack understanding of the urgency surrounding the state of KATH and the need for immediate intervention.
Kevin Taylor’s unsurprising attacks on the Asantehene is in line with the niche he has carved for himself as an unrepentant political ‘buffoon’, and a ‘stomach direction’ political commentator who only sees something as good when it goes to benefit the NDC, and everything else as evil when it goes the other way.
Is it not surprising that Kevin Taylor, who like other likeminded ’empty-heads’ with access to internet and a microphone, have consistently directed missives at the Asantehene for not doing enough for his people, suddenly finds it wrong when the reverred leader asks his own people to join him in transforming a facility which directly serves as referral point for about 12 out of 16 regions.
Mr. Taylor’s comments can be deemed unfounded and lacking in depth due to the following reasons:
- Context of Fundraising: Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s appeal for funds is directed at addressing the critical state of KATH, a 70-year-old facility that plays a crucial role in providing healthcare services. The fundraising initiative aims to mobilize resources for the comprehensive renovation of the hospital, which is essential for the well-being of the people in the Ashanti Region in particular, and several others from 11 other regions. Kevin Taylor’s characterization of this effort as “indirect extortion” may overlook the urgent need for infrastructure improvements in the health sector.
- Complementary Efforts: It’s important to recognize that fundraising by traditional leaders does not absolve the government of its responsibility to allocate resources to essential sectors like healthcare. Instead of unintelligently framing the Asantehene’s initiative as extortion, it could rightly be seen as a complementary effort to address a pressing issue while advocating for government accountability separately. Both aspects, fundraising and government accountability, can coexist in addressing healthcare challenges.
- Lack of Constructive Criticism: Kevin Taylor’s comments seem more focused on attacking the character of the Asantehene rather than offering constructive criticism or proposing alternative solutions. Constructive engagement could involve encouraging the Asantehene to leverage his influence to hold the government accountable for its responsibilities in the health sector, rather than dismissing the fundraising initiative outright in order to satisfy a clearly bias audience.
- Cultural Respect: While Taylor claims to respect Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, his remarks can absolutely be perceived as disrespectful and undermining the cultural and traditional role of the Asantehene. Publicly criticizing a revered traditional leader without providing nuanced arguments can rightly be seen as divisive and unproductive.
- Urgency of Healthcare Needs: The urgency of the healthcare needs in the Ashanti Region, as highlighted by the deteriorating state of KATH, may justify unconventional measures, such as direct appeals for public support. In times of crisis, unconventional approaches may be necessary to address immediate challenges while awaiting broader systemic changes, and Kevin Taylor should know better.
In conclusion, while there can be discussions about the roles of traditional leaders in addressing societal issues, Kevin Taylor’s characterization of the fundraising initiative as “extortion” clearly does not take into account the immediate healthcare needs and the cultural context within which such initiatives are made. A more nuanced and respectful approach to engaging with these issues could lead to a more constructive dialogue about improving healthcare infrastructure, while at the same time upholding government accountability. This is far better than the ‘chop bar’ approach of attacking everything Asante in order to satisfy the emotions of some political party footsoldiers, while cashing out from Facebook and Youtube. In any case, politics is a game of numbers and even a baby knows the quantum of numbers involved in the region whose reverred monarch, the political buffoon denigrates on a daily basis. A word to the wise……………..