Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Uprooting Tribalism From Ghanaian Politics

It never ceases to amaze me, when I hear politicians who deliberately use tribalism as a political weapon (as part of their long-term strategy to dominate Ghanaian society permanently), bemoaning the rise of tribalism in our country. Their cynicism is shocking.

A look at African nations that have experienced serious internal conflict, such as: the Ivory Coast; Chad; Sudan; DR Congo; Burundi; Rwanda; Kenya; and Zimbabwe, should show us why we must never tolerate those who promote tribalism in our country.

Tribalism poses the single biggest threat to the long-term survival of the Ghanaian nation-state – and those who are guilty of engaging in it are enemies of our country and its people. We must never tolerate such individuals in the politics of our nation – and above all we must speak out boldly against them whenever the opportunity to do so arises.

No one who knows the history of our country will fail to appreciate just how lucky we have been, that our country has remained united, thus far – despite the threat to its cohesion posed by the determined efforts of the tribal-supremacist politicians in our midst.

It is important, in discussing the issue of tribalism in our country, to distinguish between the vast majority of ordinary Ghanaians (who don’t care one jot where their fellow citizens hail from), and the few tribal-supremacists in our nation: made up largely of the progeny of the ruling elites of our pre-colonial feudal past (who can be found in every tribe in Ghana) who think that their own particular tribe is superior to every other tribe in Ghana.

They are our equivalent of the odious white-supremacists of the Western world – who incredibly think that people of colour are inferior beings.

Clearly, if Nkrumah had not appeared on the scene during the struggle for independence, the tribal-supremacists in the National Liberation Movement (NLM) and the Northern People's Party (NPP) who declared, on November 20, 1956, that they had seceded from the Gold Coast, would have ensured that a federal state made up of the pre-colonial feudal territories, which existed before the first Europeans set foot on our shores, became the successor-state to the Gold Coast colony after independence.

Their goal was to ensure that the progeny of the pre-colonial feudal ruling elites would replace the departing British colonialists as our rulers (and dominate our country till the very end of time).

Helping the progeny of the pre-colonial feudal ruling elites to regain the sovereign power they lost, when the British colonized our country, has been the long-held dream of the few powerful Akan tribal-supremacists in our political class.

They take their ideological inspiration from Dr. J.B. Danquah and his ilk – the Akan tribal-supremacists and quislings who worked for the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies, because it benefited them financially and politically, during our struggle for independence.

In order not to cause offence, one must always make the point, in referring to the hypocritical Akan tribal-supremacist elite, that ordinary Akans, like ordinary Ghanaians of other ethnic extraction, are not tribalistic in their outlook in the slightest – which is why virtually every extended family in our united nation of diverse-ethnicity, is made up of family members from different ethnic groups: who are bonded together by marriage and blood-ties in modern-day Ghanaian family clans (that invariably include Akans).

Shortly after the Jackson Commission’s report was published in 1958, Nana Ofori-Atta 11 of Akyem Abuakwa, was deposed by a section of the Akyem Abuakwa State Council and replaced by Nana Kenna 11 (who acted as regent), on June 13, 1958.

The Jackson Commission accused Ofori-Atta 11 of failing to act as “an impartial statesman” during the campaign for the 1956 elections – when all the Chiefs of Akyem Abuakwa were made to swear the “Great Oath” and promise that they would support the NLM against the Convention People's Party (CPP).

Fifty-two years after gaining our independence, it appears that nothing much has changed in respect of the behaviour of some traditional rulers in the Akan areas of our country – as far as their acting as impartial statesmen during elections is concerned.

It is due to the patriotism of ordinary people (including ordinary Akans) that on both occasions, in 1956 and 2008, those bastions of tribalism backed the losing side, in crucial national elections

During the December 2008 elections, many Chiefs in the Akan areas of our country, worked actively to ensure that voters in the Zongos, which were perceived to be National Democratic Congress (NDC) strongholds, were prevented from casting their votes for the NDC.

They openly threatened to evict Zongo residents from the areas they lived, if they voted for the NDC.

Clearly, the Akan tribal-supremacist agenda of the NLM is alive and well in a section of its political progeny today, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

During the tenure of President J.A. Kufuor, a small but powerful Akan tribal-supremacist cabal within the presidency, literally hijacked the whole of the machinery of state, to help President Kufuor’s tribal Chiefs realise their dream of regaining, by stealth, the sovereign power their predecessors lost when the British colonized them.

They worked closely together to create the kleptocracy in which crony-capitalism thrived so, and enabled some of them to rob our country blind. Luckily, not all the Akan members of the NPP are tribal-supremacists.

As it happens, the vast majority of the ordinary members of the NPP, who are of Akan descent, are more or less detribalised Ghanaians, thank goodness. In the final analysis, where their fellow Ghanaians hail from, is of no importance to them.

Many of the party’s relatively younger members joined the NPP simply because they naively believed its propaganda that it is a party that believes in free enterprise and the creation of a property-owning democracy – when its real agenda is to enable the progeny of the pre-colonial Akan tribal-supremacist feudal elites to dominate our country successfully.

To prevent another set of tribal-supremacist politicians from hijacking a ruling party and repeating the harm inflicted on our nation by President Kufuor and Co, we must make sure that the 50 per cent plus one rule that determines who wins the presidential election is changed.

No political party will have the incentive to play Kokofu-football politricks, if its candidate for presidential elections in our country has to win in a majority of the ten regions, in order to become president of the Republic of Ghana.

As we all know, by the end of his tenure, many Ghanaians were sick and tired of the favouritism shown by President Kufuor, to his tribal Chiefs.

That was a key factor in his party’s candidate eventually losing the December 2008 presidential election. Ghanaians were simply not prepared to see a Mk 11 version of the Kufuor presidency – in which yet another powerful cabal of Akan tribal-supremacists, this time from Akyem Abuakwa, in a Nana Akufo-Addo presidency, would also hijack the machinery of state to promote the overweening ambitions of their tribal Chiefs.

It is instructive that the regime that never missed the opportunity to tell the world that it believed in the rule of law, actually issued diplomatic passports to two publicity-loving Akan tribal-supremacist traditional rulers, who were deliberately and falsely described in their passports as “Kings” – in a country that is a unitary Republic in which no kingdoms exist: and happens to be a united nation of diverse-ethnicity.

The Mills administration can help uproot tribalism in Ghanaian politics if it gets Parliament to change the fifty per cent plus one rule that determines winners of  presidential elections – and persuades it to pass a new law that makes the winner of a majority of the votes in the ten regions of our country, the winning candidate in future presidential elections.

Ghana as we know it will not survive, if we have to endure another presidency, during which one set of tribal Chiefs is favoured to the degree that President Kufuor’s tribal Chiefs were, during his tenure.

President Mills can help make our nation more stable politically, and bring Ghanaians together again, and make our united nation of diverse-ethnicity as cohesive as it was under the great Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, if he leaves a legacy that includes the passage of a new law that makes the winner of the presidential election in a majority of Ghana’s ten regions, the president of the Republic of Ghana. One certainly hopes that he will do so.

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