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Opinions of Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Columnist: Kyei-Mensah-Osei, Kofi

Baba Jamal’s Senseless “Jihad” Ghana Doesn’t Need!!

Introduction:

Undoubtedly, the advent of the PNDC/NDC on the country’s political terrain has brought a sharp division in our society along tribal lines. I addressed this issue in one of my previous articles in which I postulated that in the past, I could neither differentiate between an Ewe from a Bono, an Ashanti from Nzema, nor a Ga from a Dagarba. That was when I was just little boy. Back in those days, our beloved Ghana was a closely knit family of different tribes. Now though, our beloved motherland has since the 1980s been split along tribal lines just because the PNDC/NDC wanted to gain a level of acceptability and political leverage in the eyes of some of our brethren from other tribes by playing the tribal card. In that regard, their utterances, actions and inactions were geared towards galvanising the other tribes against Akans. Knowing that their so-called “Revolution” had failed and that the day of reckoning was going to catch up with them sooner rather than later, PNDC operatives then headed by chairman Rawlings as he was called, cowardly used every opportunity to castigate Akans and blamed them for the woes of Ghana; and also created the impression that Akans were tacitly subduing the other tribes and were consciously scheming to put them in perpetual servitude. This was very sad indeed. Unfortunately, a greater majority of our brethren in the 3 northern-most regions and those in the Volta region swallowed this sacrilegious lie hook, line and sinker. The foregoing became the magnet which suddenly pulled the peoples in these 4 regions together to suddenly “oppose” the so-called Akan hegemony as was being espoused by the apostles of the PNDC. These so-called “Revolutionaries” were so selfish they were prepared to break up the country just to cling on to power. From then on, our harmonious existence was sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Ghana had since not been the same.

Tribal Division:

With Ghanaians voting for multi-party democracy in the referendum, the PNDC which metamorphosed to NCD maintained their incessant attacks on Akans. The NDC also then still led by the choleric Flt Lt J J Rawlings branded its main competitor in 1992 general elections, NPP an Akan party. This was an emotional blackmail on followers of the latter and a deliberate attempt at brainwashing the other tribes against Akans. So the 1992 and 1996 general elections came and went with the NDC winning and retaining power. The NDCs divide and rule tactics ensured they sourced a greater percentage of their followers from the Volta region and the 3 northern-most regions. In fact, the NDC had over 90% of the votes from those regions then but there was nothing wrong with this division and pattern of voting as long it served the interest of the NDC. On the contrary, Ghanaians were made to believe that there is everything wrong with NPP sourcing a greater percentage of its support base from Eastern, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Western and the Central regions. A case of “Animal Farm” being given live demonstration right before our eyes huh!?!. The verbal and emotional attacks from the NDC on Akans then were simply cacophonous and did not end there; in fact it became even more paramount after the NPP won both the 2000 and 2004 general elections. The campaign to demonise Akans and to an extent the NPP gained further momentum.

Confusion, fear, mayhem and bloodshed:

Perhaps the NDC sensing that the only way to come back to power was to create further divisions switched to third gear of their diabolic plans prior to the 2008 general elections: Firstly, they upped the ante in their divide and rule tactics by christening the NPP as an “Ashanti Party”. Note the shift in strategy: initially it was an “Akan” party but this time, it was an “Ashanti/Akyem” party. The purpose of which was to further splinter the support base of the NPP and secondly to create enmity and hatred among Akans: Ashantis against Bonos; Akyems against Fantis etc. For the same reason, the President, Prof Mills told fishermen in the Central region that the then sitting president Kuffuor did not have their interest at heart because he is Ashanti and the sea is not in Kumasi. Such subterfuge of a statement!! How low could Prof Mills stoop!?! All of these were aimed at gaining political power. The irony was that, Kuffuor was not even contesting the elections! Other NDC apparatchiks also campaigned on the lines of “Fantse-Fantse” and “Adze wo fi a oye” but that was ok. If an equally stinging verbal salvo was launched by an Ashanti in response to any of the above statements, hell would have broken loose. Better still if an Ashanti or an Akyem had said similar things against any other tribe during the campaigning period it would have been unheard of in the annals of Ghana’s history. Thank God no Ashanti or Akyem responded to such stupid statements from those demagogues. It is only the dishonest who will deny the heightened “hatred” that currently flows in the direction of Ashantis and Akyems in Ghana today. Again, this appears to be ok if it guarantees a certain political party a head-start to the presidency. Bit by bit, Ghana’s tribal unity and cohesion are eroding and a schism is being created. The chasm steadily developing between the Ashantis and Akyems on one side and the other tribes would soon be as wide as the gap between heaven and hell if the political leadership of the day do not act expeditiously. We’ve had the Konkomba and Nanumba war in the past, the inferno in Bawku remains unquenchable. Secondly, NDC preached fear, bloodshed, mayhem and confusion and likened what may happen in Ghana to what happened in Kenya if they were to lose the elections. To the NDC, there is no such thing as ‘political opponent’. The hierarchy of the NDC and its followers believe that anyone who does not belong to their party is an “enemy”. This aggressive approach to the 2008 general elections brought a further division between the NDC and the NPP and in effect, the various tribes in the country. These are facts but some political vampires who thrive on the smell of blood would want us to believe otherwise. Whereas law abiding citizens thrive in an environment of law and order, sadly though it is to say that, there are many blood thirsty politicians who thrive in an environment of chaos, lawlessness and wanton destruction. To such people, it is a case of ‘the end justifying the means’. To them, no price is too big to pay to gain political power. My question is this: With the current political and tribal divisions in the country, do we need to introduce another dreadful political ‘virus’ in the Ghanaian body politic?

A Call for a Senseless “Jihad”

It is imperative to mention here also that playing the tribal card and creating fear in the minds of our people delivered victory to the NDC. So Baba Jamal, also of the NDC, like a coach of a winning football team, saw no need to change the winning tactics, hence his declaration of “Jihad” in the elections held in the 6 constituencies of Akwatia. This was a deliberate and a calculated attempt by Baba Jamal to play the religious card. Of the 6 polling centres which had the elections in Akwatia, 4 were in Muslim populated areas whereas the other 2 were in Christian areas. It is equally important to note that, Dr Kofi Asare; Baba Jamal’s opponent in the said elections is a staunch Christian who is a member of Church of Pentecost. Baba Jamal was callously setting the Muslims and Christians in those polling areas and to an extent, in the entire country on collision course just for political expediency. How stupid, how silly, how selfish and how unpatriotic can you be Baba!? Typical of the NDC, there has not been one word of condemnation; neither have I heard nor read a word of chastisement from the Muslim Council to Baba. Is it because Baba Jamal is of the NDC? Let me ask a question I would genuinely like readers to answer to themselves in their closets: What would have been people’s reaction if Dr Kofi Asare as a Christian has declared the elections as ‘A Crusade’? I for one know for a fact that the NPP would have been slaughtered by the media, perhaps the Church of Pentecost would have been leaned upon by the Christian Council to excommunicate Dr Kofi Asare and lastly, the NDC may have taken the NPP and its candidate to court for campaigning on religious grounds.

To our Muslim brothers, “Jihad” is a holy war fought in defence of “Allah’s principles and commands” and people who engage in such acts must be prepared to kill or suffer death (martyrdom) to achieve their aim. If Baba Jamal was a true Muslim, would he equate elections in the country let alone that of just 6 polling stations to a “jihad”? Then again, how could a mortal like Baba Jamal elevate himself to the position of “Allah” and order people into a “jihad” for his own parochial interest? Did I state elsewhere that there are politicians who thrive on fear, bloodshed, mayhem and confusion to attain their selfish ends? Does Baba Jamal really have the interest of his constituency and the entire country at heart? I doubt it. Ironically, the president in his wisdom has made such hoodlum and a thug the deputy minister of the Eastern Region. The same Baba Jamal whose constituency have deemed him unfit on 3 different occasions, to represent them in parliament!

Conclusion

Ghana is at the cross roads of a sharp political and tribal divisions. Introducing religious divisions in the country at this time would be a burden too heavy for mother Ghana to carry and in fact it is a recipe for disaster. We should not let restless souls send our country on the road to Armageddon before it’s due. Baba Jamal, a Kotokoli from Togo has nothing to lose if Ghana burns. To the likes of him, the end justifies the means indeed. I am very happy though that the people of Akwatia did not fall for his silly bait. The unity and brotherliness between Christians and Muslim brothers and sisters needn’t be jettisoned on anybody’s say so let alone on the orders of a debased personality called Baba Jamal!!! Folks, let us cherish the unity and cohesion we have. We have the Bawku impasse as a guide to realise that peace and harmony once lost, can never be regained. A look at what is happening in Nigeria, Sudan and other places would help us all to understand how dangerous it is for a nation to suffer division on religious lines. Let us not behave like ostriches and bury our heads in the sand wishing the storm to go away when we look up. Baba Jamal and his ilk have nothing good to offer the country. On the contrary, they are only interested in how much they could squeeze out of it. We should not let such people determine our actions and inactions whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Fanti, Ewe, Bono, Ashanti, Akyem, Dagarba, Ga etc. Let us jealously guard against the relative peace that we enjoy because we have only one Ghana to call our home.

Long live Christian and Muslim harmony!

Long live Ghana’s democracy!!

Long live Mother Ghana!!!

Kofi Kyei-Mensah-Osei