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Opinions of Sunday, 16 April 2017

Columnist: Andrews Krow

Effects of tribalism in our contemporary politics

In one of my articles on social media written in 2012, I touched on this particular issue and looking at happenings today in our body politic I think we must revisit this issue as we find curable panacea (for) against the emerging negative culture. In that write up i touched on Npp and its "akanization" philosophy,the negatives and positives associated with this philosophy and as usual,different twists were put on the content.

Political parties are established based on certain common principles by people who share in such principles, virtues,philosophies,customs etc.In most African countries the issue of tribal and ethic dimensions play play major role in determining the strength and weaknesses of political institutions and body politic of these countries.In Ghana the natural alliance between majority of Akans and the Npp cannot be denied by any serious mind,and we have same alliances in other African countries.

In Zambia for instance the Bemba tribe has huge influence on the country's political dynamics and politicians always take advantage of the existing tribal dynamics to push their agenda depending on where they gather their strength from and that led to the introduction of the one party state by Kaunda and his "Humanism" theory. Just like the Akan language in Ghana,the Bemba language has come to supplement English as Zambia's second language.What we must know is that language can be used as a vehicle of tribal dominance and if not curbed strategically, could be used by mischievous politicians to push through their parochialism agenda.

The truth is that in as much as I have serious issues with the Akan tag of the Npp and have always expressed my reservations about tagging the Party with the Danquah/Busia brand,the party will always make significant gains from its Akan base and will forever revolve around its Akan philosophy. It is a tradition and have succeeded in indoctrinating many of the Akans to accept the doctrine that the Npp is a natural political vehicle for all Akans.That notwithstanding, the party will still suffer low support among the non Akans because of that natural disposition of section of the Akan block.

The NDC is a Congress and has people from different ideological blocks,tribes, religious backgrounds etc coming together to pursue a common agenda. The party has no common "traditional" philosophy it revolves around.Members joined the party either based on ideological influence, partial tribal influence, special traits and personal philosophies and others purely because of love and respect for the person who founded the party.The strength of the party ought to have been how it propagates its ideology and adhering strictly to its core values which attract certain chunk of the poor and vulnerable into its basket.The party always suffer secession issues after electoral defeats because of its Congress nature and the structure of its base.

The NDC will remain formidable if it resist tribal games in the party. The party is structured on certain unique principles and those are the principles it must forever revolve around. The conservatives since the days Sir Robert Peel has operated around certain principles which attract certain voters to their side.If you study the politics of the Whig Party,you would understand why the party believes in their philosophy. Labour displaced the liberal party because of certain principles it espoused through the Trade Union.

Sir Stafford Cripp was expelled from the party in 1939 for circulating a memorandum in favour of dropping extreme socialism and urged cooperation with the liberals.That was how internal discipline ensured cohesion and consistency in the party's operation.

The NDC must operate from same philosophical standpoint.Any attempt to entertain tribal permutations in the NDC will surely lead to serious apathy, disintegration and serious rebellion. The Npp is gradually infiltrating the natural bases of the NDC through certain populist policies and considering the level of illiteracy and vulnerability of the population, any such moves must be treated with solid scientific methods.Political scientists thinking from pure academic position may rubbish this Akan plus Muslim permutation by our parties to balance their electoral mathematics but the reality is that we cannot do away with easily because of how we've handed our political discussions from 1996.

Rawlings comfortably went into elections twice with non Muslims but won all.The NDC per the dynamics of the time, cannot move same direction,that natural alliance between Rawlings and the northern enclave is one issue we must watch and maintaining that natural alliance must be the issue. The Npp through strategic moves is eating into the strongholds of the NDC so what stops the NDC from doing same and doing it with solid and strategic mechanisms. All the party's will always need significant votes from strongholds of their opponents to cross the mark hence the need to always think outside their immediate environment.

We cannot deny the fact that in the last elections, voting was heavily determined by ethnic and tribal loyalties rather than the intellectual and political integrity of the presidential aspirants.This my reason for condemning certain pronouncements made by some members of our CSOs the strength of our political parties has come to depend upon the degree of ethic and tribal loyalties the can bring under their command and manipulation.

A practical example of this emerging danger Is this pronouncement made by some people prior to the 2016 election that "even if a particular party asphalts roads in a particular region, they will still not vote for that party" that is the emerging danger and the irony is that the political party of these people cleverly mounted billboards of projects implemented in their area by this government in the strongholds of the government just to create disaffection and incite the people against their party and government.