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Opinions of Saturday, 20 August 2011

Columnist: Asimpi, Kofi

A Rejoinder to "Michael 'Trokosi' Dokosi Is a Togolese Ewe…"

by Kofi Asimpi, D.Min., Ph.D.

In his article titled, "Michael 'Trokosi' Dokosi Is a Togolese Ewe…" (Ghanaweb Feature Article of Monday, 8 Austust 2011), Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Ph.D., writes: "At the risk of sounding parochially ethnocentric, and even crassly anti-E?e, I still feel compelled to observe this glaringly and brazenly pathological “NDC-Ewe Obsession” with the character and personality of the Presidential Candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo." Then he goes on to pour insults not only on Mr. Michael Dokosi, editor of the Daily Post, but on the entire E?e ethnic group.

What Dr. Okoampa-Ahoofe does not seem to realise is that his numerous articles about former President Fl-Lt. J. J. Rawlings have clearly consistently demonstrated not only his personal animosity towards him but towards the E?e people as a whole. His hatred for President Rawlings is so overwhelming that he does not seem to be able to write anything about him without insulting him and the E?e people. He writes as if President Rawlings represents the entire E?e ethnic group and vice-versa. He has also repeatedly stated that the E?es are not Ghanaians, derogatorily referring to them as the people of Ghana's number nine region, as he has once again done even in the article under reference, labelling Mr. Dokosi "[a]n insolent Akpeteshie-stinking number-nine refugee". Already as far back as in 1996, in his usually skewed manner of looking at reality, in particular of re-writing of history, Okoampa-Ahoofe wrote that "the now Volta Region", i.e., the E?es---to him the Volta Region is simply synonymous with the E?e---were brought "into the political ambit of post-colonial Ghana" (Ghana Drum, August 1966, p. 5).

By consistently writing that the E?es are not Ghanaians, Okoampa-Ahoofe and other ethnocentrists like him have conveniently ignored, or are ignorant of, the historical fact that while today’s Volta Region constituted a portion of the former British Togoland and was, and still is, inhabited by both the E?e and other ethnic minorities of the Akan, the Buem, the Guan, the Konkomba and the like, the former Gold Coast Colony, which the British created in 1874, was composed not only of the Fante, the Akuapem, the Akyem, the Gã, the Adãgbe, the Akwamu, etc., but also of large portions of E?eland occupied by the A?l?, the T??u, the Avenor and the central E?eland of Peki, Awudome and their environs. This means that large populations of the E?e people constituted the original citizenry of the Gold Coast Colony. On the other hand, while the British created the Northern Territories as late as 1899, it took total control of Asante only in 1896 and formally annexed and made it a Crown Colony as recently as 1902, following the Yaa Asantewa War.

The present-day Volta Region, which was created after Ghana's independence, stretches only slightly up to the north of Kete Krachi. This means that the entire northern section of the region has been annexed to the present-day Northern and Upper East Regions of the country while the whole E?e territory of the Gold Coast Colony has been incorporated into the newly created Volta Region. And, if I may add, at the time of independence, the country had only four regions, viz., the Gold Coast Colony, British Togoland, Asante and the Northern Territories. And ethnocentrists began to insult the E?es by calling them number nine in the early sixties when the country had only five regions!

When Okoampa-Ahoofe calls the E?es Togolese refugees in Ghana, on what basis does he do so? Are those E?es who ancestors originally constituted the citizenry of the Gold Coast Colony and today still occupy the same territories also Togolese? What precisely makes Okoampa-Ahoofe and his Akyem people more legitimate and bona fide Ghanaians than these E?es? Are the non-E?e-speakers of the Region, viz., the ethnic minorities of the Guans, the Akans, the Buems, the Santrokofis, the Konkombas, the Avatimeans, etc., also Togolese, by virtue of the fact that the Volta Region is their homeland?

One sad fact about Okoampa-Ahoofe, according to one of his own articles, is that he has already infected his five-year old son in America with this hateful virus directed against former President Rawlings, and by inference the E?e people, and he sounds proud about that idea. It is against this backdrop that his statement that "[a]t the risk of sounding parochially ethnocentric, and even crassly anti-Ewe" is seriously hypocritical. Not only does Okoampa-Ahoofe sound parochially ethnocentric and crassly anti-E?e; in fact, that is precisely what he is. Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe is a strong hater and deadly enemy of the E?e people. Indeed, no objective reader of his anti-E?e, anti-Rawlings articles will fail to see this.

As a result of his marked antipathy to the E?es, Okoampa-Ahoofe has repeatedly attempted to incite the Akans against the E?es, claiming without providing any statistical evidence that the Akans have been reduced---presumably by the E?es---to second class citizens, in a country where the Akans are in the majority, constituting 45% or 46% of the total population---not 50% as Okoampa-Ahoofe falsely claimed in one of his articles---and holding most of the top positions in the labour force.

What has prompted me to write this rejoinder to Okoampa-Ahoofe's above-cited article is the false impression he has repeatedly created that he is some kind of authority on the E?e, when, in fact, he is so ignorant about them and about whom therefore he oftentimes gives inaccurate and distorted information. For example, in one of his articles, he falsely implies that T?gbe A?ede XIV, Agbogbomefia and the paramount chief of As?gli Traditional Area and the current president of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, is an A?l?.

In the article under reference, Okoampa-Ahoofe also has once again exhibited his ignorance about the E?e when he calls Mr. Dokosi not only a Togolese E?e but also "Tr?kosi". The fact is that Mr. Dokosi is an Avatime Ghanaian and not even an E?e. The people of Avatime are not E?es. The fact that someone hails from the Volta Region doesn't necessarily make that person an E?e, a common mistake many non-E?es, especially Akans like Okoampa-Ahoofe, make. In fact, large portions of the Volta Region are inhabited by non-E?e-speaking peoples. It is this ignorance on Okoampa-Ahoofe's part that makes him also refer to Mr. Dokosi as "Tr?kosi", a term he does not really understand. The Tr?kosi system exists not even within the whole of A?l?, let alone among all the E?e-subgroups, but only in a small enclave in A?l?. (I bet you, most non-A?l?-E?e people had never heard about the term "Tr?kosi" and its practices until they were reported in the mass media some time ago!). Again, it is his ignorance of the E?e and the peoples of the Volta Region that makes Okoampa-Ahoofe refer to Mr. Dokosi with derogatory terms such as "our former cocoa-farm laborer" from Togo and link him with his "legatee-president", Mr. Faure Gnassingbe.

What is most pathetic about Okoampa-Ahoofe's anti-E?e articles is that he has unwittingly consistently presented himself as one of the most "educated illiterate" Ghanaians. An educated illiterate person is one whose negative, unprogressive mentality remains the same despite his/her higher educational background. An educated illiterate person always wears blinkers and does not and cannot see things objectively; s/he is just unable to see reality. S/he deliberately denies and distorts the truth, be it historical or any kind of truth, and often seeks to re-write history in order to maintain and promote his/her agenda of hate. S/he is narrow-minded and believes that s/he is superior to all others, especially in his/her skewed and jaundiced perception of other races/ethnic groups, his/her advanced education notwithstanding. Indeed, his/her advanced education hardly seems to influence his/her thinking in any positive manner, especially when dealing with people other than his/her own. S/he is an incurable, diehard ethnocentrist/racist; s/he is a bigot, pure and simple. So, in spite of his/her advanced education, the educated illiterate person remains largely illiterate and is comparable with the average illiterate, formally unschooled person in the street. Ironically, s/he considers him-/herself and his/her people more intelligent and civilised than everyone else and, in fact, superior in every respect to especially all those outside his/her own ethnic group.

Just by looking at the kind of uncouth language Okoampa-Ahoofe has employd to describe Mr. Dokosi, calling him, for example, a "simpering fool and clinical idiot", a "mutant", i.e., a non-human being, unlike Okoampa-Ahoofe himself and his people whom he considers "bona fide human Ghanaian citizens", and "[a]n insolent Akpeteshie-stinking number-nine refugee", it is unfortunately hard for one not to see him as an educated illiterate man. For, truth be told, genuinely educated people do not write and sound like him, when they discuss their fellow human beings. One seriously wonders how his writings can be taken seriously---he claims to be the author of 24 books---given his dirty and unprogressive mentality and his penchant for wanting to re-write the history of Ghana. Nana Akyea Mensah, for instance, pointed out how Okoampa-Ahoofe recently falsely attributed to the first president of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the insulting term "verandah boys" instead of to Dr. J. B. Danquah who actually used the term long before President Nkrumah formed his CPP party in 1948 (see "Nkrumah Did Not Invent The 'Verandah Boys!'", by Nana Akyea Mensah, Ghanaweb Feature Article of Monday, 8 August 2011). This apparently was in Okoampa-Ahoofe's insatiable zeal to discredit the late President's achievements and to paint him negatively---a trademark of the Danquah-Busia tradition.

But is it not tragic and ironic that Okoampa-Ahoofe lives in America where he claims to be a Journalism and Creative Writing professor and yet he still has the kind of dirty mentality he has demonstrated in his article under reference? I am pretty sure that while living in America, he personally or a member of his family or a friend of his or his co-worker, must have experienced racism in one form or another and he must have complained about it, protesting its unfairness. And yet he is so ethnocentric, calling E?es not only bona fide Ghanaians, but also not intelligent human beings. It is time for someone to tell Okoampa-Ahoofe to remove his blinkers so that he will be able to better understand that that America is a great nation today is due to immigrants coming from different countries of the world to make it what it is. What would he feel like if Americans would begin to tell him that he and his family members are not bona fide Americans and that they are not even human beings but only mutants, because they are black---indeed, racist terms some whites have actually used about blacks in America?

Okoampa-Ahoofe should also understand that his threat to eliminate Mr. Dokosi, and by inference other Ghanaian E?es, will not do. That's not the way of the genuinely educated; it is not the civilised way; it is the way only of the educated illiterate; it is the way of the cowards. After all, Mr. Dokosi has said that if Nana Akufo-Addo denies the drug allegations against him, he should file a lawsuit against him and his newspaper at a competent court of jurisdiction. But more importantly, Okoampa-Ahoofe should not deceive himself into thinking that he himself and his family's safety would be guaranteed if he makes the sad mistake of helping to arrange to assassinate Mr. Dokosi and other E?e people and carries it out simply because of his hatred for them. For what goes around comes around. And whatever one sows is what one reaps also.