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Opinions of Sunday, 28 June 2015

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Enough of the Asante Tribal Hatred!

It is on record that no nation or country has ever progressed in an atmosphere of inter-ethnic hatred or ethnic tension. It is in the light of this that Ghana opted for unitary form of government right after independence in 1957. The inter-tribal marriages, coupled with the boarding school system, have all gone a long way in deepening our social bonds as one people with a common destiny. However, in spite of the efforts being made by Ghanaians toward the direction of peaceful co-existence, the actions of members of the NDC continue to undermine our sense of oneness. This situation, if unchecked, could lead Ghana into civil war which could ruin the gains so far made by our predecessors.

Early this week, Solomon Nkansah, the Communications Director of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and a Fante by tribe decided to play on the sensibilities of the people of Ashanti Region. This was after some old ladies in the Region had staged a demonstration against the economic hardship and energy crisis in the country. He states; “Every shameless act related to politics comes from the Ashanti Region. They have gained more notoriety when it comes to politics. Every ill-fated political demonstration is coming from them and nothing good seems to come from the region. Hadn’t not been for their recognised and well respected king, they would have been insulted all the time”.

In fact, Solomon's statement raises a lot of concerns among the Ghanaian populace, especially Asantes because, Rawlings, Atta Mills, Mahama, and Kobby Acheampong (all NDC members) have expressed similarly derogatory remarks against the people of Ashanti Region. By laying such prejudice to bare, Solomon has confirmed the adage that; "a fool is always a fool no matter the number of years he spends in school". But, has the unfortunate comment been condemned by any sensible person in the NDC? Birds of a feather, they say, flock together.

As a true and proud son of the Golden Stool, I feel obliged to react to the issue. It must be pointed out that, Solomon's outburst is part of the grand agenda that is being prosecuted by the P/NDC. They have nearly succeeded in pitching other Akan ethnic groups against the Asantes just to disintegrate them to serve their political agenda. If not, how could a Region that gave 28% of the total valid votes to NDC in Election 2012 be described in that derogatory manner? Also, why is the NDC hell-bent on getting 1m votes in Election 2016?

It seems to me that Solomon Nkansah is unaware of how ethnically-diversed Ashanti Region is. For his knowledge, the hospitality of Asantes comes second to no other ethnic group. From Asawase through to Alabar, Fante New Town, Accra Town, Aboabo, Atinga Junction, Moshie Zongo to Anloga, one could see Northerners, Fantes, Gas, and Ewes occupying these sensitive areas and going about their daily businesses. How therefore could a legal demonstration, which is not even peculiar to Ashanti Region alone attract such negative comment from Solomon Nkansah? Were the demonstrators destroying properties or killing people on the street to justify his dirty remark?

In fact, out of 'political stupidity', Solomon Nkansah has even forgotten that stalwarts like Dr. Oteng Adjei, the late PV Obeng, Ohene Agyekum, Peter Anarfi Mensah, Yaw Obimpeh, Tony Aidoo, Betty Mould-Iddrisu etc all come from the Region. He has also glossed over the fact that, the Region's resources - timber, cocoa, and gold revenue sustain Ghana's economy on daily basis. Again, Solomon is not aware that, the beneficiaries of Otumfuo Education Fund cut across ethnic and geographical boundaries. Solomon, are you aware that Ashanti Region has produced 3 Heads of State, including Ghana's most successful president, J.A. Kufuor?

Seriously, it is painful that the benevolence of the people of Ashanti Region is being repaid with envy and hatred. On the eve of John Mahama's inauguration as the president for instance, a group of Northerners who were on their way to Accra, stopped and beat a lot of people at Suame in Kumasi and no arrest has been made up till today. The AFRC and P/NDC led by Jeremiah Rawlings slaughtered Gen. I.K. Acheampong and Okatakyie Akwasi Amankwah Afrifa, two of Ghana's finest Heads of State all because they were Asantes. On July 1, 1982 three (3) High Court Judges of Akan decent - Justices Fred Poku Sarkodie, Mrs. Koranteng Addow, then a nursing mother, and Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong were murdered in cold blood. In addition, most successful Asante businessmen were tagged as corrupt and thieves and therefore the most vibrant Soap Factory in the 1980's, Apino Soap Factory was brought to a halt by Jerry Rawlings.

Solomon Nkansah and his collaborators must understand that, so far as our traditional wisdom is intact, and the Golden Stool remains in our possession, we shall remain resolute and focused on bringing the best out of every human being as enshrined in the Akan Philosophy of "A Charge to Keep I have, and Human Race to Glorify". For, if the Ashanti Region or the Asante ethnic group were a country on its own, I'm sure Solomon Nkansah and his family, who are vexed with inferiority complexes, would have applied for citizenship. They would be proud to be called sons and daughters of the "Sikadwa Kofi" (Golden Stool).

Solomon Nkansah must get closer to Asantes, and find out why and how they are industrious, intelligent, neat, brave, proud, and accommodating. He should also read more about R.S. Rattray and find out why even over 300 years ago, the British of all people touted Asantes as one of the more civilised African peoples. This would guide him on his useless utterances and change the negative perception he has about the Region.

In winding down, I'll entreat the people of Ashanti Region not to be provoked, for, our forebears fought and conquered our enemies in the past, hence the name; "Osa nti" (warlike), which became "Asante". We have the resources, numbers (kum apem a, apem b3ba), our own language, literature, culture, and system of local government (powerful Kingdom and King). We cannot allow ourselves to be cowed into submission just because most of our people share similar ideology with the New Patriotic Party (NPP). The people in the Region know what is best for them. Mighty Asantes have resolved not to engage in tribal war with any group of people, be it political, religious, or ethnic, but to conquer our three enemies - poverty, illiteracy/ignorance, and disease through quality education. Let's respect each other, and guard against our peace, for, it is a precious commodity that cannot be bought with our cedis, dollars, euros, and pounds. "S3 moannyi Asanteman ay3 a, ma mons3e ne din ".

God bless Ghana! God bless Asanteman!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri
0202471070 // 0547851100 // 0264931361