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Opinions of Monday, 1 November 2010

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Akans, Christians, Cocoa growers and Kumasi Residents Deserve Respect

not Insults!


For the nearly 40 years that the Almighty God has guided me to live on this earth, I am yet to be convinced to accept the reality of a particular quotation in the Holy Bible; That “God created man in His own image” as clearly written in Genesis 1:27. I have also been pondering over the last few years on the Ghanaian educational system as regards what it has bequeathed to all those who have passed through the system. Indeed, if the purpose of education is to develop the knowledge, skill or character of the individual so that he/she could fit well in a society, then I would suggest policy makers go back to the drawing board and consider the introduction of ‘Natural/Traditional Wisdom’ as an examinable subject in the educational curriculum with immediate effect.


I say this because of the attitude of certain government officials. In fact, when then candidate Atta-Mills promised the so-called ‘Better Ghana Agenda’ to the Ghanaian voter in 2008 and subsequently reiterated the message during the Swearing-in Ceremony in 2009, the thought of Ghanaians was that the country was charting a new political dispensation where everything that seemed bad in the previous administration was going to be made good whilst the good ones are made better. For instance, where there were perceived arrogance, mediocrity, corruption, polarisation, tribalism and indiscipline, the expectation was that those negative things that retard progress were going to be things of the past. As Christians would say, when someone is in Christ, he is a new creature. The old passes away and a new life begins.
In a nutshell, Ghanaians expected the wrongs in the previous administration to be put right and that people who were refined, honest, wise, forward looking, hard working, intellectuals etc would be appointed to steer the affairs of this country. But regrettably, the Professor-Do-Little could only manage to put such bootlickers as Asiedu-Nketia, Koku Anyidohu, Okudzeto Ablakwa, Kobby Acheampong, Kwesi Pratt, Ama Benyiwa-Doe, James Agyenim-Boateng, Nii Lamptey Vanderpuije, Kwabena Adjei, David Annan, Derrick Adjei, Fiifi Kwetey, Baba Jamal, Tony Aidoo, J.S. Annan and Allotey Jacobs into public places of importance. Most of these guys have not even worked to earn salaries in public life and I wonder what their lives would have been if they hadn’t been in politics. Are they God’s own creatures? I have taken this stance not with any disrespect to the Holy Bible but readers would agree with me that the thoughts, behaviour, actions and even the outlook of these individuals go contrary to anything godly.
Fellow Ghanaians, permit me to list a few examples of some of the filthy words that have come from the mouths of those political animals under Mills’ ‘Better Ghana Agenda’ era.
• “I hate Kufuor’s face, so I don’t want to hear anything about him” - Koku Anyidohu, the Director of Communications at the Presidency on November 6, 2009.
• “The NPP is going to congress to elect the chief thief out of the 17 thieves“, declares Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the palm wine tapper cum truck pusher on December 11, 2007.
• “Kufuor planted corruption tree in Ghana” – Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Central Regional Minister on Radio Focus, UK.
• “All Christians who speak in tongues are mad” – Tony Aidoo, Head of Economic Monitoring Team at the presidency.
• “If the Chief Justice does not clean the Judiciary, we will do it by ourselves. And let anybody criticise us, we will face him. There are so many ways to kill a cat” – Kwabena Agyei, NDC Cat Chairman.
• “Don’t mind the foolish people who call themselves junior nurses and midwives. Some of them are even yet to write their exams, they don’t even have appointment letters and they say they are embarking on strike; I am ready for that political nonsense; stupid” – Rojo Mettle Nunoo, Dep. Minister of Health in reaction to the strike action embarked upon by a section of nurses and midwives in Kumasi on 04/10/10 on Hello FM, Kumasi.
• “The re-run of the Akwatia constituency polls should be seen as a JIHAD (Holy War) and all Muslims should endeavour to join” – Baba Jamal, Dep. Eastern Regional Minister (10/08/09).
• “If any member of the opposition NPP criticises the Mills-led NDC administration, if you can slap him, do so” – Kofi Opoku-Manu, Ashanti Regional Minister (06/01/09).
• “Sir John sometimes behaves like Kookooase kurase ni (a village cocoa farmer). He has lived in Kumasi for too long and now that he is in Accra, he should broaden his horizon” – Kobby Acheampong, the deputy minister of Tourism.
Permit me to offer pieces of advice to four of the NDC members. To Koku Anyidohu, I will implore him to go back to the Slave Castle where John Mills and Tony Aidoo reside, and after that proceed to the headquarters of the NDC where Asiedu Nketia operates. He should examine their faces very well before he comes out with such derogatory comment on Kufour. At least every Ghanaian can vouch that Kufour’s face is far better than any ‘Chimpanzian’ face. To Asiedu Nketia, I’ll urge him to question the integrity of Alhaji ‘Kyinkyinka Pampers’ Muntaka, Carl Wilson, Alex Segbefia, Tsatsu Tsikata as well as those NDC thieves involved in the M & J bribery scandal, now that he is out of his palm wine tapping and truck pushing business before disgracing those 17 NPP members.
To Ama Benyiwa-Doe who could only identify the person who planted the corruption tree in Ghana yet failed to remember her own date of birth during her vetting. All that I can say is that, may be Kufuor might have ‘planted’ the corruption tree as Ama naively stated, but who brought the corruption tree to Ghana in the first place, if I may ask? Was it Victor Selormey, Abodakpi, Ibrahim Adam or J.J. Rawlings and which people have been watering the tree to ensure its proper growth? Is it the Muntakas, ‘Tractor’ Ayarigas or you Benyiwa-Doe who is putting up big mansions? Come on, Ama!
To Kobby Acheampong, I say ‘ayekoo’. It must however, be pointed out clearly that Kobby’s statement corroborates the P/NDC’s hatred for Akans in general and Asantes in particular. This is because Rawlings - an Ewe, jealously slaughtered (3) three Akan heads of state namely Okatakyie Afrifa, Gen. Acheampong and Gen. Akuffo and another three high court judges of Akan descent (Justices Koranteng-Addo, Agyepong and Sarkodie). Again, for the past few years the P/NDC has gradually succeeded in disintegrating the Akan ethnic group by sowing seed of discord amongst them, especially between Asantes and their cousins, Akyems. They have even tagged the NPP as an Akan party as if the word Akan is evil. But as crafty as the NDC is, the leadership of that monstrous concert party is made up of Akans - the leader, 1st and 2nd vice chairpersons, general secretary and national organiser. Why are the ‘fool’ soldiers pushing for Nana Konadu, another Akan to be their flag-bearer in 2012?
Fellow Ghanaians, is it a crime at all to be born an Asante, Fante, Bono, Akuapem, Akyem, Kwahu, Adansi, Akwamu, Ahafo, Agona, Denkyira, Ahanta, Sefwi, Assin, Nzema, Wassa, Evalue, or Aowin? Why this hatred by the NDC? Are we not Ghanaians after all? I think it is imperative I take this opportunity to educate those bigots that the word Akan is derived from the word ‘KANN’ meaning patently clear and free from adulteration. It also means light or free from darkness or simply first. It is in this view that the Akans feel that their social heritage is distinctive and think a charge to keep they have and the human race to glorify. Therefore, if Kobby ignorantly thinks the Asantes, together with other ethnic groups and foreigners, who have made Kumasi and Ashanti region their permanent place of abode should come to Accra to broaden their horizon, then God bless him. But Kobby, you claim to be an Asante by stating that your father is a native of Asante Mampong but you never disclosed your mother’s identity. I would like to point to you that we Mighty Asantes practise the matrilineal system of inheritance in line with all Akans and for that matter we follow our mother’s lineage. Therefore you can’t be an Asante by virtue of your dad being an Asante. Please, don’t hide behind your dad’s tribe and pretend to be an Asante else some of us will see it as a sign of inferiority complex on your part. The time to say I am ‘half-half’ or ‘50-50’ is old-fashioned because ‘Hal-half’ or ‘50-50’ is neither a tribe nor an ethnic group.
Secondly, we believe that Ashanti Region is not an island and thus accommodates all sorts of ethnic groups in our fold. In the region, one could attest to the fact that there are places like Anloga, Fante New Town, Alabar, Moshie Zongo, Aboabo, Asawase, Accra Town, which are located in the central part of Kumasi, and are basically occupied by the Ewes, the Fantes, the Northerners, and the Gas respectively. It is our belief that building a state or a nation requires the ingenuity of all and sundry. As the Akans will say; “Y3 de ohohoo na 3kyekyere kuro”. An interesting part of this cordial relationship is that, the above-mentioned ethnic groups have their leaders or chiefs who sit at the Manhyia Palace during deliberations of traditional issues by the Kumasi Traditional Council. In short, the Asantes have co-existed with their brothers and sisters from other tribes since time immemorial without any sign of tribal conflict. As one of the industrious groups in the country, we have chosen to live in the forest area like most Akans and that your description of cocoa growers as ‘Kookooase Nkurusefoo’ cannot put us off-the-track. Every objective-minded Ghanaian knows how the economy of Ghana has been sustained over the years. It has not been the ‘fufuo’, the ‘tuozaafi’, the ‘kenkey’, the ‘akple’ or ‘keta school boys’ that has made Ghana what it is. It’s the cocoa and I am very sure you, Kobby have been a direct beneficiary of our toil and sweat. Due to our hard work, Asantes could be found in all different kinds of job, from shoe-shining, entrepreneurship, sports, farming, medicine to politics. That is in consonance with the Asante philosophy which states that; “BY BEING BORN AN ASANTE, ONE HAS BEEN ORDAINED BY GOD TO BRING INTO WORLD ALL THAT IS BEST IN HUMAN RACE”. This challenge has made us wealthy and you cannot run away from this fact if you were to find out the number of individual properties, especially the mansions in Accra. Beside the cocoa and other agricultural wealth, the Ashanti region also boasts of mineral wealth and our gold deposit remains the 2nd largest in Africa.
Again, we Asantes do not and must not have to come to Accra before our horizon is broadened. We have been able to produce three (3) Heads of State including Ghana’s most successful president, His Excellency, J. A. Kufuor. We have produced the first woman professor in the person of Prof. Abena Dolphyne of Achinakrom in the Ejisu-Juaben district and a former pro-vice chancellor of the University of Ghana. We have produced the first heart surgeon in the person of Prof. Kwabena Frimpong - Boateng. We also boast of a powerful football team with massive support across Africa.
Moreover, we have a powerful Kingdom governed by a powerful cum wise King who sits on a Golden Stool and not a wooden stool. His powers even transcends beyond the borders of the country due to the numerous paramountcies under his jurisdiction. When he was sworn in as the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool, he quickly established an Education Fund to cater for the educational needs of not only Asantes but the generality of Ghanaians. This shining example was emulated by the Rawlings-led NDC administration which had then been in power for nearly two decades and never thought of the establishment of GETfund. Why does Kobby think the World Bank would donate $5m towards the Otumfuo Education Fund or why would Queen Elizabeth 11 give him a red-carpet treatment in London? History also tells us that our forebears fought and conquered almost every single tribe in Ghana and this great feat was extended to the British colonist. Hence, our motto; “WO KUM APEM A, APEM B3BA” to wit; if you kill a 1000, another 1000 will be ready for the battle. Our rich culture is second to none, and no wonder it attracts dignitaries all over the world annually.
Furthermore, Ashanti Region remains the most populous region in Ghana and for that matter Asantes remain the most populous tribe, accounting for 19.1% of the Ghanaian population. The geographical location of the region is strategic and Kumasi, which acts as a nodal city, is well-noted for its commercial activities. The region has the highest number of educational institutions and boasts of the highest number of pupils/students population in Ghana. It is sometimes disheartening to hear other ignorant people say that Asantes are only interested in business and not in education. But if we all believe that education improves people’s lives and makes us better citizens, would any rational being make any dirty remark on Asantes with regard to their contribution to national development?
Kobby Acheampong also failed to explain the ‘Kumasi thing’ to Ghanaians. Kobby, what does that mean? Don’t you know that our powerful language, “Asante Twi” and for that matter, Akan language is gradually becoming a national language and will one day become our lingua franca? If you doubt just tune your radio to any FM Radio station in Ghana or abroad now and you would understand this better. Does it make sense for those of you who have broadened their horizon to continue to use Akan language in their radio discussions and phone-in programmes? That alone tells you something, isn’t it? Great Britain is great all because of its powerful language, currency/wealth, culture and the people’s intellectual capability. It was not for nothing that J. J. Rawlings - an Ewe and a former head of state declared unreservedly in the 1980s that, Mr. P.V. Obeng, an old boy of Opoku Ware School, is the most intelligent man in Ghana. Is P. V. Obeng from any other tribe barring an Asante?
It must also be made clear to all those illiterates who hide behind politics and heap insults on Asantes that, enough is enough! In fact, the difference between Mighty Asantes and others is that, whilst Asantes tell people in the face if they feel offended but others will use ‘juju’ to kill or destroy. For your information, Asantes supported Prof. Busia to win the 1969 general elections although Busia was not an Asante. We fought against Gen. I. K. Acheampong’s UNIGOV even though he was one of our own. Recently, many Kumasi residents refused to vote for the NPP because they were not happy with some of Kufuor’s policies until he sought for forgiveness during the run-off on December 2008. Again, Nana Akufo-Addo is not an Asante yet he received overwhelming votes in the Ashanti Region during the NPP congress to elect a flag-bearer. Kufuor’s first appointment in 2001 went to Elizabeth Ohene - an Ewe. Mr. Kwabena Agyepong - an Asante was replaced with Andrew Awuni - a northerner as Kufuor’s spokesperson. Volta Region received more support than Ashanti under Kufuor’s administration. Mills received nearly 500,000 votes (2nd highest) from the Ashanti Region although the region is the stronghold of the NPP. What else do people expect from us? As Prophet Bob Marley said; “we are what we are and that is the way life is going to be”. We Mighty Asantes are what we are and we will continue to pride ourselves forever. “Mpanin se, ahwenepa nkansa”. “Wosene wo yonko nso a, otan wo”. Let all Asantes take consolation of the fact that, upon all the insults they heap on us out of jealousy, none of them has belittled our God-given wisdom. People can say we are arrogant, villagers, illiterates and sometimes they even say we don’t respect other tribes. We leave it to God. And as far as The Golden Stool, which symbolises our soul, power and unity remains in our possession, we will continue to be resolute in all our endeavours.
I therefore challenge Kobby Acheampong to make his way to Kumasi and other cocoa growing areas in Volta, Eastern, Brong-Ahafo, Central and Western regions quickly and see what is in store for him if indeed he is a man of himself. We Kumasi residents will also not hesitate to make our way to Accra if the sanitation of the beaches which Atta-Mills promised to improve within the first 100 days into his administration is improved. Kobby, are you aware that John Mills vowed to burn Ghana like Kenya if he was not declared a winner in the 2008 general elections? Is it not better for the President to be ‘insulted’ for making that statement? Are you also aware that Rawlings recently referred to Atta-Mills as ‘Konongo Kaya’ and your colleagues as greedy bastards? Where were you?
Ladies and gentlemen, the NDC is now telling Ghanaians that if you are a cocoa farmer, a Kumasi resident, a nurse or midwife and a Christian who speaks in tongues, then you fall short of a human being. They’ve also come to the point of believing that the only way they can win power or political debate is through unorthodox means like insults, fanning ethnic divisions and violence. They have forgotten to realise that a position is not a possession and that one day they will account for their stewardship. Time will tell! The measure of a truly great man is the courtesy with which he treats lesser men and Kobby or whatever he calls himself should be cognisant of this fact. But until the philosophy that holds Asantes as illiterates, arrogant and ‘Kookooase Nkurasefoo’ is thrown in the bin, the likes of Kobby will continue to live, die and be buried in their inferiority complexes. Kobby Acheampong is a total disgrace to our national cultural diversity!

God bless Ghana! God bless Kookooase Nkurasefoo!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Hull. UK. 07944309859. katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk
A native of Asante Bekwai - Asakyiri