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Opinions of Monday, 16 September 2013

Columnist: Yeboah, Kwame

The Politics Of Ethnicity – A Rejoinder

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I just read a feature posting on ghanaweb (Saturday, 14th September, 2013) on the above topic by a columnist referred to in the article as Abangwa Research Center. The article claims to have investigated the ethnic backgrounds of the ministerial appointments of Presidents Kuffour and Arthur Mills as basis to evaluate the ethnic biases of the two main political parties of Ghana – the NPP and NDC.
The main findings were that based on the proportion of the populations of the regions, ministerial appointments by the two presidents were not fair and equitable, therefore, the presidents were ethnically biased against and for some ethnic groups. The article sought to conclude that President Kuffour was not biased towards the non-Akan areas but President Arthur Mills was.
If this is all the basis of their conclusion, as a professor and editor of a scientific journal, I reject the paper for a grade and publication. Ministerial appointments by a president is not an indication of ethnic biases of a party but that of the influential and competent following and sympathizers. Remember that the constitution of Ghana demands that a large proportion of ministerial appointment should come from parliament. That means only party members who make it to parliament have a better chance of appointment. If 90% of people in Ashanti region are followers of a particular party and they are in opposition, they will surfer.
Secondly, appointments are used to implement the president's programs or win votes or to appease a complaining region. These in themselves are not indications of ethnic-biases of a party. The president will choose people he thinks will support and have the capabilities to implement his programs. Sometimes, one or two popular members of an ethnic group are given “political” appointment as a means to win support in the person’s ethnic group.
Ministerial appointment alone is an irrelevant measure of political biasness of a political party. If the center wants to evaluate ethnic biases, they should check the membership or followings of the party, the party's internal organization and leadership, the history and ethnicity of their presidential candidates, and the ethnic groups the party wins most of its votes and support.
The work reported in the article therefore, is woefully inadequate and I will give it a grade of (F). The motive for the publication is not genuine. The Center is not in to do a scientific analysis but to use isolated facts to misinform. SHAME ON THEM.

Kwame Yeboah

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