Opanin Peter Jeffrey, I refer to your article of 6th April, 2009 posted on the features web-page of www.ghanaweb.com, entitled: “And Mills took it ‘home’ – A Rejoinder”. Opanin, on the thorny subject of tribalism, it is always important to separate ordinary people from the tribal-supremacist progeny of the pre-colonial feudal ruling elites of the various tribes in Ghana.
Ordinary Asantes and ordinary Akims, like ordinary Ghanaians of other ethnic extraction, do not discriminate in their day to day interactions with their fellow human beings – and accept their fellow Ghanaians, irrespective of their ethnic background, as members of the one human race.
They are not the problem – it is the tribal-supremacists (our local version of the odious white supremacists of the Western world) one finds in the palaces of traditional rulers up and down our country, from the northern-most part, to the southern-most tip and from our eastern and western borders, whose narrow-mindedness and intolerance, poses a threat to our country’s unity.
The rise in tribalism in recent times can be attributed largely to the fact that some of the tribal-supremacist progeny of our pre-colonial feudal ruling elites were able to hijack the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime. They then set about to exploit the tribal sentiments Ghanaians of Akan extraction have for their traditional rulers – as part of their secret agenda to enable them dominate our country by stealth, successfully.
It was the unholy and outrageous alliance between the Akan tribal-supremacist cabal in the presidency during the Kufuor era, and certain of their tribal supremacist traditional rulers, that was so resented by many Ghanaians – as they incredibly (and foolishly) sort to impose the over-ambitious and publicity-seeking successor, who replaced the noble and humble Otumfuo Opoku Ware 11 (may his soul rest in peace), on Ghanaians, as some kind of de facto king.
It is no accident that many Ghanaians had a great deal of respect and genuine love for Otumfuo Opoku Ware 11 – and he is regarded by many of them as the best of the modern-day Asantehenes. That great man understood perfectly that because of the weight of history behind it, it was important for the occupant of the Golden Stool to always shy away from politics – and to keep a low profile.
He also understood that it was neither possible, nor desirable, in a unitary Republic, for any traditional ruler to try and seek a revival of the pre-colonial feudal kingdoms – as it could lead to ethnic tension and possibly threaten the cohesion of our nation. Perhaps it was because he was a lawyer that he understood this important aspect of the role that modern-day traditional rulers ought to play in our national life.
Clearly, there can be no Ghana without Asantes and Akims, for, they, like their compatriots from other parts of our nation, also play important roles in our struggle to make our country a better place for all its citizens. In the same vein, there can be no room in our united nation of diverse-ethnicity for Asante or Akim kingdoms: just as there can be no Ga Dangbe kingdom or Dagomba kingdom in Nkrumah’s Ghana. It is important that all our politicians and our traditional rulers understand that perfectly. Traditional rulers in our country are not the modern-day equivalent of the constitutional monarchs of Europe. They are mere private citizens - albeit very important citizens, of the Republic of Ghana: and it is crucial that they never forget that bald fact of life in Nkrumah's Ghana. Period