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Opinions of Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Columnist: Afreh, Manu Bernard

Ayariga’s ‘indiscretion’ as a smokescreen

Rejoinder to: The flames of the Northern cause must be kept burning

It is rather pathetic to observe that, while patriots and forward-looking people are toiling day and night to strengthen the bridge that bind us as a common people, one David Atugiya, Secretary of BONABOTO-UK, would shamelessly choose to fan the embers of ethnicity (in an article, full of grammatical howlers, which came out on 20/02/2010 on Ghanaweb.com). From the opening sentence, it was crystal clear that Mr. David is out of touch with reality in Ghana. For, how else could one explain his infantile submission that ‘the people of the North and the minority tribes must fight hard and should make no mistake that the…majority tribe see Ghana as belonging to them and will want the country to be rule(sic)by their tribe’s men and women.’

Whatever the author meant by the foregoing remains a puzzle to me. Indeed, it is a let down on the part of an executive of a high-flying society as BONABOTO to make tribal sentiments on cyberspace; I had expected such from the mal-informed section of society. In all my educational adventure and intertextual readings, I have yet to stumble across any enlightened Ashanti say that Ghana belongs to them. For God’s sake, let us stop hurling reckless sentiments at other tribespeople. Let us not think that our vibrant press and burgeoning democracy are enough elements to forestall a tribal war.
Watch the movie, Hotel Rwanda, and you would realize that these tribal sentiments, whatever their underlying reasons, are not healthy for our nation. Mind you, when Hutu and Tutsi tribal bigots were busily making incendiary statements on radio- because internet services were not common- little did they know that it would lead to the wiping out of over 500,000 people within weeks. I also can never forget the tribal war between Ibos and Hausas in Nigeria, some years ago. It was a sorry sight to behold. People were hacked to death; some others were hammered with cudgels. Rape became a display of machoism. I hope, and pray, that our nation would never witness such unfortunate incidents.
Now, if Mr. David knows very well that such ‘poisonous views’ are ‘recipes for disaster’, why is he not preaching peaceful cohabitation among the different tribes, but telling those tribes which, percentage-wise, are the minority, ‘to fight their corner’- whatever he meant by that. I must state forcefully that the so-called marginalization and discrimination against Northerners, as far as I survey the political landscape, is nothing but a product of his perfidious imagination.
Thanks to the NDC government, there are now more Northerners in politics like never before. And it shocks me to hear someone allege that ‘there has been an orchestrated black clash (sic) against …Northerners and Ewes.’ In fact, that statement triggers a bout of migraine in me. Hah. Is Mr. David telling me that the allegations levelled against Mr. Mahama Ayariga amount to vilification? So the Atuyigas of this world expect the Progressive Nationalist Forum, PNF, not to have petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, CHRAJ, but watch passively while a man with questionable character would be appointed as a Minister? Pray, when did it become acceptable to ride roughshod over the rule of law because one belongs to a minority tribe? Where was Mr. David when Mubarak Muntaka was ‘alleged’ to have used tax-payers’ monies to buy pampers and ‘chinchinga’?
I wonder when some professionals, who, in a manner of speaking, are supposed to know better, would put nation before tribe. If Mr. Atuyiba professes to be a ‘passionate northerner’ and would support any Northerner even in times of wrongdoing, then I am afraid he is only exposing his arrogance in ignorance. I advise him to direct his energies and investments towards addressing pertinent issues affecting our Northern brothers and sisters (see my article: Tax on Kayoyos: that is unfair), instead of juxtaposing politics with tribe, which is a fruitless enterprise.
To my mind, columnists should make it a point to avoid analysing issues along tribal lines as our discussion arena, GWEB, was not created to promote a wrongful cause. We must also realise that, the fact that freedom of speech is entrenched in our law books does not give us the license to spew mindless drivel. Let us endeavour to correct one another in times of wrongdoing; because if, by our tribal sentiments, our country is forced to her illegitimate knees, posterity would hold us accountable.
Finally, I wish to inform the Mr. Atuyibas of this world that our nation is no longer a conglomeration of disparate tribes; but one with composite and cosmopolitan people who know that the monsters-corruption, poverty, diseases, etc- that hobble our progress can only be removed or remedied by the united and harmonious efforts of all tribes.

By: Afreh Manu Bernard
nobunegga@yahoo.com