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Opinions of Friday, 27 February 2015

Columnist: The Catalyst Newspaper

Why Tribal Bigotry Is An Age-Old NPP Disease

Whoever is still wondering as to why leading members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) are firmly grounded in their belief of tribal bigotry as the best form of political thought, is failing to appreciate the fact that this is an age-old incurable disease of the Danquah-Busia political tradition.
Even though the NPP tribal bigots do not need a soothsayer to tell them that their actions have been detrimental to their own political fortunes as evidenced by the electoral results of recent years, the unrepentant tribal bigots remain resolute in their believe in the backward political philosophy. It is no wonder that they keep repeating the same mistake in every election and getting severely punished for it, especially since the emergence of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as NPP flagbearer.
There is something significant about NPP’s tribal bigotry, particularly when juxtaposed to the behaviour of certain key personalities in the leadership of the party in contemporary times. Notably, the main architects belong to the Akyem Mafia, the faction in the opposition party presided over by its current flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo. These elements have succeeded in inculcating a mindset of ethnic politics in the larger spectrum of the party, which tends to goad them on to often display blatant ethnocentric tendencies towards non-Akans- even those in the NPP itself.
There are the Osafo Mafos who believe that the leadership of this country is a divine right of a selected few, principally from the Akyem tribe, and by substitution, the Ashanti tribe if an Akyem man cannot get it. They however attempt to craftily create a gross misconception that this warped political logic primarily serves the interest of the entire Akan ethnic group. This is a fallacy!
The worrying effect of the dangerous but long-held tribal bigotry in the NPP is that because it has festered deeply into the psyche of the generality of its majority Akan followers in particular, the result is a widespread ethnocentric behaviour by members, evidenced by hate speeches some of them make often against members of non-Akan tribes. Ethnically incendiary comments by the likes of Kwabena Agyepong, Kennedy Agyapong, Kofi Kapito, Okuampa Ahoofe, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and Ursula Owusu, among several others, are attributable to this prejudiced mindset.
The verdict is out there that the Danquah-Busia/NPP tribal bigots have ensured that ethnicity has played an integral part in the politics of the group from conception. The phenomenon has only gained notoriety under the leadership of Mr. Akufo-Addo, aka Nana All-Die-Be-Die. When the then two-time NPP flagbearer was caught on a secret tape infesting a group of NPP activists at a meeting in Koforidua with the ‘disease’ of ethnic politics prior to the 2012 elections, he was not oblivious of the desired effect.
Nana Akufo-Addo told his carefully selected audience at a secret meeting to approach the 2012 election with a mentality of ethnic Akan identity. When he was exposed, the NPP quickly rallied support for his tribally divisive comments.
Mr Osafo Mafo’s secret tape is no different from Akufo-Addo’s. It is equally explosive by all standards, most especially because he made the incendiary comments at a meeting with the Council of Elders of the NPP. Given the caliber of senior party loyalists at this meeting, it is important to note that their failure to express disagreement with Osafo Mafo’s line of thinking is in itself a very loud statement.
For Mr Osafo Mafo to claim that the voice on the secret tape is his but the content was “mischievously doctored” without providing any convincing evidence to support his claim even makes it worse. For example, Osafo Mafo could have provided the original of the “mischievously doctored” tape in order for the public to ascertain which parts have been doctored.
Mr Osafo Mafo claimed, albeit falsely, on the tape that five Akan regions of Ashanti, Eastern, Brong-Ahafo and Central control 86% of Ghana’s natural resources and that only people from these regions must assume leadership positions in the country in order to manage their resources.
While taking a swipe at Gas from the Greater Accra region and people from the Volta region for thinking alike and always voting in like manner, he revealed the Akufo-Addo 2016 campaign strategy, which is purely ethnic-based. He said the campaign will be organized in three blocs: the first bloc would consist of what he calls the five Akan regions, the second being Greater and Volta regions and the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions as the third bloc.
Now this is where the NPP’s ethnic agenda for the 2016 campaign was made palpably clear by Osafo Mafo. He said in the five Akan regions the key messages, which are purely ethnocentric, would be extremely confidential and could not be divulged to the rest of the general public.
What Osafo Mafo’s comments have exposed is that tribal bigotry is not just an individual ‘disease’ in the NPP. It is actually an ‘epidemic’ that has gained root in their political bloodline as it is now clear that similar comments by leading members of the NPP emanated from this deep-rooted mindset , which ostensibly is the dominant political culture of the NPP.
Is it any wonder that then chairman of the NPP, Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey said that the presidency of Ghana is the birthright of Akans and that Akans in Ghana would emulate the violent example of their counterparts in Ivory Coast in ensuring they annex the presidency of Ghana in the 2012 election?
Is it any wonder that Kennedy Agyapong, an NPP member of parliament, declared war in calling on Akans to attack and kill Gas and Voltarians?
Is it any wonder that Kwabena Agyepong, who is now NPP general secretary said there are no human beings in Volta region?
Is it any wonder that NPP’s Kofi Capito said Gas are useless?
Is it any wonder that the minority leader, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, said there are no qualified Gas in NPP to be made running mate to Akufo-Addo?
Is it any wonder that Ursula Owusu said that but for free education, all educated Northerners including President John Mahama, Hon Haruna Iddrisu, the minister employment and labour and Hon Alban Bagbin, majority leader in parliament would have been cattle herdsmen in the northern part of the country?
Is it any wonder that a supposed educated elite like the egocentric Akyem tribal bigot who responds to the name Okuampa Ahoofe, a lecturer in a United States university and former member of board of directors of Danquah Institute (DI) continues to launch senseless attacks on Ewes in his convoluted write-ups?
Noticeably, one major trick of the NPP tribal bigots is that anytime the chips are down, and they are exposed for who they truly are, they either try to quickly run for cover under the larger Akan ethnic group, or try to deny their own voices.
The cliché: ‘fish rots from the head,’ obviously has expression in the tribal bigotry and ethnic politics that have gained notoriety in NPP’s recent politics because the opposition party’s flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is the leader of the party himself is leading the charge.
The question is: will the NPP ever seek for a cure from their disease of tribal bigotry?