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Opinions of Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Columnist: Acheampong, Steve Y.

Loving your enemies or playing tribal politics with Quashiga’s death – A Rejoinder

Steve Acheampong, Ph.D.

Articles like the one by Mr. Amengo on Ghanaweb on January 16, 2010 make me wonder whether we as a people (Ghanaians) are using the internet to find ways of confronting our common enemies of poverty, hunger, shelter, transportation, water, etc., that can move the country forward or just to exhibit our writing skills and enhance our parochial tribal and political interests? I find it very sad when I read articles by so-called learned Ewes and Asantes insulting each other and calling supporters of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) names as “stupid Asante thieves” and “foolish Ewe thieves” as if the two parties are made up of people from only the two regions or the two are the only tribes in Ghana. These same people shamelessly do not have any problems having amorous relations with members of the opposite sex from the same tribes they have been castigating and denigrating on the web. How sincere are we? Please note that your political opponent is not your enemy by any stretch of imagination and let us learn to accommodate each other irrespective of our tribes. Some of us come from families with members from both parties but we do not allow our politics to interfere with our family issues.

It is very sad how some people can put a negative spin on any action by their perceived enemies. If Mr. Amenyo’s intent was to initiate a discussion on tribal politics as the latter part of his article seems to suggest, then he failed to initiate it in a positive manner by the first part of his write up. I find the opening statement of his article “When known and notorious haters of Ewes are suddenly trying to outdo each other in the effusiveness of their praise songs for a fallen Ewe, ….. “ as very sad and uncalled for. Who are the known and notorious haters that Mr. Amenyo is referring to? It would have been better if Mr. Amenyo had been fair to himself and readers to have mentioned the names or groups he referred to as “known and notorious haters”. After indicting a group of people, it is quite disingenuous on his part to later state inter alia that “My defence of my tribe will never be predicated on a supposition that my tribe is better than someone else’s tribe. That is why I will never use Kufuor’s ineptitude and inordinate greed to castigate all Asantes.” That is double talk.

Mr. Amenyo goes on to state that he wants the tribute payers to love him too …. In the same way he too will love them. I find it interesting that by implication, Mr. Amenyo wants the people to show love to him before he reciprocates. Why can’t he take the initiative to love or is it the prerogative of the other people to show love first? Nobody has the responsibility to show love to another person first. You do it when the opportunity comes your way. He did not state that he had shown love to the people and they had scorned him. Again Mr. Amenyo goes on and asks some questions which are just hypothetical at best. Why don’t we deal with what is really happening now and take something positive out of it instead of asking such hypothetical questions as “will the same people praise an Asante or Akim high profile NPP functionary who does a reverse Quashiga and leaves his party for NDC?” Yes people may mourn the dead for different reasons but there is no need for Mr. Amenyo to doubt the sincerity of the mourners in any way. Sometimes our own insincerity and perceptions cause us to second-guess others, and this appears to be Mr. Amengo’s problem. Otherwise I do not find the need for his statement “oftentimes, what remains unsaid reveals more than what has actually been said. Unless you are unable to read between the lines and put things in their proper context, you ……” Unless Mr. Amenyo is a psychic who can read the minds of the people and know what was unsaid, then I believe he has his own perceptions about the tribute makers hence, that statement.

Mr. Baah Wiredu did not cross carpet as Major Quashiga did; however, when he died, no less an Ewe in the person of former President Rawlings is alleged to have stated in a tribute to him that he (Baah Wiredu) was a fine man and the only honest one among them (NPP). That is how former President Rawlings saw him and there was no need to doubt his sincerity unless Mr. Amenyo wants us to believe (as quoted in his own words) that it was an “incipient attempt to praise one man in order to spite the rest of his tribesmen” enquote?

If Mr. Amenyo claims that he cannot talk for a whole tribe, then what makes him believe that those whose tributes he quoted were talking for their respective tribes or groups? We are all striving for the best for our country, Ghana, and we need the unity and oneness in our approach to achieve that goal. If the perceived known and notorious Ewe haters are mourning an Ewe, Major Courage Quashiga (rtd.), let us see it as political and tribal maturity and find out ways we can improve our relationships in party building across tribal and ethnic lines to fight the common enemies of poverty, shelter and others, instead of seeing it as a negative political and tribal gimmick. Let us see the glass as half full instead of always seeing it as half empty.

Steve Acheampong, Ph.D. (