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Feature Article of Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

Rejoinder: The NDC "Ashantiphobia" Nonsense Should Stop.

Ordinarily, I would dismiss a write up (Published on Ghana web, Feb 15th) such as Justice Sarpong's as industrial strength drivel coming from a flummoxed individual, who is obviously gorging on a plethora of misconceptions. Onua Sarpong is hot under the collar. He has forgotten that one sure way of dealing with the heat, is getting out of the damn kitchen. Sarpong, like Ken Agyapong, is frustrated with what he sees as hate towards his people, the Asantes/Ashantis. Rightly or wrongly, one's perception is his or her own reality. Perceptions though, could be patently false. Often skewed, perceptions are not necessarily facts or reality!

Is frustration a caveat to go to the ink well and write rubbish? Is frustration a reason to emit gassy effusions? Such rank immaturity has no place in the political arena of an embryonic democracy like ours and must be sternly condemned unequivocally. We can't watch on, as the likes of Sarpong, pollute our minds and threaten to put match to the tinderbox. There was one incendiary paragraph in his sick write up that caught my attention. Below I quote the paragraph verbatim.

"Let the NDC take it to the Bank that, Ashanti region will continue to vote for NPP no matter what and if that is a problem for them, maybe then we would not mind seceding from the country Ghana and we will do well on our own. Ashanti region as a country will be an oasis of utopia on African continent". --J. Sarpong

The above statement is not only juvenile but seeps from a jejune mind. There is no doubt that this inflammatory statement is designed to tribe bait and heighten tribal anxieties. Given that Ghana has a bloody history of attempted secession by the NLM, this statement, coming from an Asante, to say the least, is treasonous. It was such misguided effort, led by Ashanti royalty and terrorist like Bafour Akoto, that eventually fueled the NLM-Matemeho quislings to team up with foreign forces and overthrow the first president of Ghana. As if this part of our history is not sore enough, Sarpong is here, and like Ken Agyapong, reminding us of mayhem, if we continue to frustrate tribalist like him. Where is Sarpong's sensitivity? Who is nudging him to make such reckless statements? Are we not fed up with these empty threats? Please feel free to leave Ghana if you feel your goose is being cooked and obviously overcooked. Go! Be warned though, that, any attempts to throw Ghana into chaos, will invoke primal self preservation inclinations that could easily turn crimson.

I am tickled pink that Sarpong is finally feeling the heat that some of us felt when the marauding NPP was in power for 8 years. A lot of tribes felt the same phobia, imagined or real, that he is feeling now. Yet, they found matured way to engage without antagonizing the whole country and other tribes. Now here comes Sarpong, agitated and crumbling like a stale cookie. Listen to me Sarpong, the quicker you man up and take the tribal blinders off, the better off you will be. The only phobia going on right now is the one you manufactured.

It is rather intriguing, that, Sarpong, will affirm unequivocally, that, Ashantis will mindlessly vote en bloc for the NPP. Well, guess who has been accusing Ewes of doing same? It was Victor Owusu, a Matemeho stalwart, who despicably accused a whole tribe of being inward looking. Inward looking, he believed, because tribe members look out for each others and act with herd mentality. Now, we have Justice Sarpong, professing same! Is Sarpong admitting that Ashantis have all along been inward looking? In essence, Sarpong is exposing, big time, the hypocrisy of those Ashantis who have been accusing Ewes of tribalism. Is he saying that all along, Ashantis have been preaching virtue and stewing in a pungent broth of vice? From the viewpoint of Sarpong and his phalanx, what is good for the goose cannot be good for the gander. Oh what arrogance! From hereon, let no one accuse any group voting en bloc as inward looking.

If Ashanti region has the capability of morphing into an "oasis of utopia", whatever that means, why hasn't it? What is stopping it from doing so now? Some of these people come across as though someone is taking something from them and thus their lack of progress. It is rank foolishness to make such uninformed incendiary statements. You will do well on your own? As you are now? This loose lip Sarpong, ought to be very careful what he says. Unfortunately, some will assume that he speaks for all Ashantis and I know that he does not. This is why well meaning Ashantis should tell him to zip it. He is embarrassing his people. Is he insinuating that other regions don't have what it takes to do well on their own?

Not too long ago, the NPP was in power and running roughshod over Ghanaians with what seems like an Ashanti agenda. Yes, this is my perspective and a perspective shared by most. The Asantehene became the chief of Ghana and we were told to go to hell if we itched. Others were marginalized and newspapers that favored the NPP were in full production. Kufour came in and fired non-NPP folks. Even civil servants were fired to make room for NPP goons. Now the boot is on the other leg and it is not pretty. Folks like Sarpong are squealing and yelping at the least insistence. Payback is hell. I do not support or propose retribution but it exist. This is why one should find matured ways to deal with it. Ghana is politically immature and vindictiveness is in high gear. So people don't hesitate to throw back Molotov cocktails. Such friction and frustration though, should not push individuals like Sarpong to make Ken Agyapong-like statements. Stop it!

One of the problems with Sarpong's write up is his over generalizations. What does he mean by NDC newspapers? Does the NDC own newspapers in Ghana? Does the NPP own newspapers in Ghana? Are these newspapers official mouthpiece of the party in question? Sarpong obviously cannot be everywhere in Kumasi. If a reporter claims that some where jubilating over Ghana's soccer loss in Kumasi, how is Sarpong able to disprove that? Besides, it is Sarpong who is impressing upon us that Kumasi is a smorgasbord of tribes. So how can he jump to the conclusion that if some where jubilating, they were Ashantis? Could it have been a group from any of the "safe and happy" tribes ensconced in Kumasi?

In the end, only Ashantis can invite hatred towards themselves through their actions. No journalist can impose such through tall tales. It is such hasty conclusions that feeds this tribal hysteria nursed by the likes of Sarpong. Give it a damn rest!! Even if Ashantis jubilated over the Black Stars loss, so what? Is patriotism narrowly defined by support for the Black Stars alone? Even Matemehe goons are classified as patriots by the likes of Nana Addo. Stop reading too much in to these trivial issues and focus on the big picture.

I seriously wish that our regional ministers were not appointed along the lines of tribe. It is a damn shame that in this day and age, we continue to do so. All, NDC and NPP, who stoke the flames of tribe must be vociferously condemned. On the other hand, we all have a responsibility to look out for minorities in our midst. So, seeking the interest of minority tribes in a majority area is not necessary bad if there are legitimate concerns. If Haruna has an Ashanti wife, could he be a tribalist asking unnecessary questions? Childish vituperations? Haba onua Sarpong! Your effluvium is all over the place! Get a grip!

A real NDC agenda to isolate the Ashanti region in development plans of Ghana? Is this statement designed to incite tribal animosity? Is it a call to action for Ashantis? Where the hell is Sarpong getting this tripe from? Where is he pulling this stinky poop from? Where is proof of such by the NDC? I am not an NDC fan but God forbid that I don't call Sarpong's bluff. Again, Sarpong is spewing pure rubbish not pillared by facts. It is such dangerous and baseless assertions that must be condemned in no uncertain terms. Show proof Sarpong! Writing stuff because you can is purely irresponsible.

While I am not against anyone's right to speak out, I will not condone acerbic loose talks that could end up inciting violence and antagonizing other tribes. Sarpong should be ashamed of himself for making baseless pronouncements and inciting tribal animosity. I pray that well meaning Ghanaians will join me in condemning this recklessness on the part of Sarpong. Shame on you and stop it now! Quit while you're ahead! Viva Oman Ghana!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Affectionately dubbed the double edge sword)

I don't give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell---Harry Truman

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