Display options Mobile website

Feature Article of Sunday, 14 October 2012

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

Have We Been Reduced To Political And Ethnic Fanaticisms?

Author’s note:
Some of the materials in this piece were first published in 2009.But I have been asked to republish it since we’re in an election season. I have reread and made whatever relatively minor changes .I feel they’re warranted. I genuinely believe that anything ever written by any writer improves with each polishing. So I’m using this logic to revisit this article every election cycle; to see if I have improved as a writer over the years and also to wake-up our sleepy politicians who are dozing- off behind the wheels.

The NDC and NPP ready to ‘Blowmace’!!

There’s no room for love in politics. Loving a politician is like loving your cigarette seller—nothing good will come out of it. But all the hatred being spewed towards the presidential candidates is disgusting.
Now, let me get this off my chest before I start barking:
The politicians are campaigning and politicking without face –to -face debate on issues and the voters are just looking on…..! All the political candidates have refused to declare their assets to the public, but the media is looking on… Thanks in part to political and tribal fanaticisms.
What’s saddest to me is that, we have reached the point where if a point is made on anything that affects the country, the first question people ask is:”Whose idea was it?” In effect, people want to know which party came up with the idea before they are willing to support it. So the issue is not whether it is a right idea or wrong for the country. Instead, it has come down to whether the idea originated from NDC or NPP. It depends on who looks at it and one’s party affliction or tribe.

But, I’m not sure if we have true NDC or NPP ideas. Though we have plenty of anti-NPP or anti-NDC ideas floating around at Ghana’s political corridors—we still don’t have rooms for positive ideas from a party we don’t like. Virtually, every meaningful conversation I have ever had with well-meaning Ghanaians on the subject of Ghana has either gotten around to politics or tribal fanaticisms. Amazingly, people continually and covertly fan the tribal fire while openly chanting their love for Ghana.

Unfortunately, one cannot say something about a particular party without being put into some kind of ethnicity slur or tribal straight –jacket. For any article to get the sharp wit- readers’ attention in Ghana it has to be either using one tribal against the other or attacking one party and praising the other .And if one could throw in a little Ashanti -basing or disparage the Ewes, the article will most likely hit a home-run with no sweat. And, if you want a double dosage invoke the names of former presidents. That could earn you more applause than you need on the cheer -seismograph. Forget about good ideas….who needs good, uplifting ideas to revitalize our economy!

The party fanatics are typically unable or unwilling to see the good in anything they don’t like about the other party. Conversely, they also get so caught up in seeing the good in their party that they can’t see the bad. Political or ethnic fanaticism blurs one’s vision. Sometimes, it can even blind one’s vision and mind as well, because it can take one’s ability to see and do the right things.

Speaking of party fanaticism, have you listened to Dr Nduom or watched him on TV lately? How come such a person with tons of ideas can go untapped by main parties in Ghana? What are they afraid of? Why are Ghanaians now afraid to borrow ideas from people they don’t share party colors with?

Anyway, whatever party affliction you belong to come January, 2013 the politicians are most likely going to set their own salaries and vote for a fifty -thousand dollar car loan for themselves, whilst most of us can’t own a bicycle .They‘re going to grab more houses at East Legon whilst you’re renting a single room at poor neighborhood. You are still going to pay for your kids’ school fees on your own, even if the person who wins is from your tribe.

On the ethnicity front, combine ethnicity fanaticism with stupidity and personal hatred and before you would know you’ll have a full-fledged ethnic-cleansing with Rwanda-infused proportion;(I won’t wish it on my worst enemy ‘s nation, let alone on my motherland).But, we have to be mindful of history and realize that a little spark on a socially inflammable matters can lead to Tutsi and Hutu inferno.

The Ashanti’s factor:
This brings us to the supposedly an internal rift brewing in the NPP camp which has a tribal chromosome in its DNA. Tribal fanaticism at work, folks!
On September 14th 2012, there was an article on the web by The Informer, which claimed that, the former president, “John Kufour and Ashantis allegedly plotting the Nana Akuffo Addo’s defeat”; all in the name of paving a smooth motorway for Alan’s bid for NPP 2016 slot.
I remember, I’ve heard this before during the 2008 election campaign. Have you?
While I can’t confirm the credibility of the story I can’t overlook its significance because it’s popularly believed among NPP supporters that these kinds of stories played a big role in the defeat of NPP in the last election.
Am I late coming to the fight? Or Am I missing something? Maybe I’m a little naïve, but I still remember what happened in the last election. Those who might need a refresher course, during the NPP primaries one aspirant’s looks became the theme for some of the candidates. One’s physical stature became a criteria for qualification ,as if the NPP presidential aspirants were auditioning for a beauty pageant.
Are you disgusted yet?
If my memory served me right, I remember reading about the unfounded allegation which was cooked-up and spiced –up by some faction within the NPP to derail nana Akuffo -Addo’s candidacy. As a result, his gold –plated reputation and political capital were ruined by his own party members, way before a single ballot was casted in the primary.
Do you remember that?
In effect, Nana went into the national election with negative and poisonous attention he didn’t deserve. He was more or less a wounded soldier before the war started. It was rumored that NPP party surrogates were also used to do the dirty job for Nana’s enemies within the party; who were waiting in the wind to Alan –Cash in on Nana’s downfall.
Are you disgusted yet?
According to nameless sources, the Ashanti camp within the party corridors considers Nana as an Achilles’ heel of the party. He’s a “political Lazarus”—this is copyrighted, but you have my permission to use it as much as you like. Anyway, my guess is Nana is walking around with limited sense of trust, which was eroded by his own people. I hope this time his trust will be granted and retailed cautiously and judiciously.
Are you disgusted yet?
Anyway, it’s too early to tell whether the story in The Informer is true or false. But, trust me; no politician is going to come out from this year’s political rough water undaunted or without permanent bleeding nose. However, we’re going to leave it to the social scientists and historians to sort all out years to come.
Political and Tribal fanaticisms are strong emotional impulses that can cause people to speak before they think, therefore causing absurd things to fall out of their mouths. You don’t believe me? Don’t go anywhere!
Whoa...people are calling President John D.Mahama names already. His honeymoon days went by so quick! His enemies are using some unprintable derogative words to describe him for no tangible reason.
Yes, it might be surprising to some for me to defend politicians on both aisle.But; it makes perfect sense to those who understand that you don’t have to worship any politician in order to support him. In fact, there is a clear difference between holding a politician accountable and disliking him. Similarly, there is a clear line between supporting your presidential candidate and agreeing with him on every decision he makes. Supporting a politician doesn’t mean that you have to fall in love with him on every policy. There is no love in politics. Loving a politician is like loving your liquor store owner or a drinking -bar owner. His main objective is to get as much money from you as possible as he can while you drink yourself to death.
People say you’re wasting your vote if you don’t vote for a perceived winner .Actually, I think you’re wasting your vote if you support a politician and ask nothing in return. (I don’t mean a personal favor, as most of Ghanaian electorates do in our neighborhoods)You can be supportive, yet very critical—to maintain objectivity necessary to make your candidate make good political decisions that affect all of us.
Are you disgusted yet?
Do you want to think further? I bet you don’t because it’s not your damn business—so you think!
This is what our political and tribal makeup has been reduced to in our country. There are some who continue to lean on political and tribal comfortable mantle to justify their behaviors. There are also some who use their positions to allow political or tribal fanaticism to justify their policies. It could be you and I in coming days or months that will be caught in the political or tribal vise. So please spare me with your tufiakwa!
For now can we get over the party and tribal fanaticisms to focus on the politicians’ Assets declarations, before January 2013— when they will embark on serious property –grabbing, car-hungry and insatiable -appetite- for-worldly toys expedition. When are they going to declare all their assets anyway?
Are you still disgusted yet?
I know, I know what you’re thinking. I’m smoking something and perhaps that has gotten hold of my senses again, right? In any case, I say wake me up when everything over.
The oil money is going to flow like water so voters should brace for a verbal bloodbath between the explosive political parties, but will it be wiser for voters to stay back and watch the next episode while they failed to declare all their assets?
You should be wailing instead of gnashing your teeth with anger!

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi (voice of Reason)
Nj.USA.
*The author is a social commentator and the founder of The Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment foundation for Disadvantaged Youths.

Comments:
This article has 4 comments, give your comment