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Opinions of Sunday, 21 June 2009

Columnist: Amankwah, Nana Kofi

NPP: Leadership Position Should Not Based On Ethnicity

In the history of political establishments around the world ethnicity played a major role in some poor countries. Many believe they need to employ such tactics in order for them to become more inclusive. This ideology is wrong for any political institution; it rather creates division and tensions for the establishment in the long term.

Recently, some Ghanaian educational elites who claim to be PhD holders but have no knowledge of politics have had the audacity to blaspheme the NPP organization, as an (Akan) party. Simply the Akans are the ones who have always been chosen to lead the party into the general elections. These unfortunate assertions by these so called PhD holders and self- proclaimed educational elites show that Ghanaians should not waste their precious time listening to these feeble mined individuals. Because even a high school student who has had a program in leadership knows better that leadership should not be based on ethnicity. The criteria of chosen leadership have many elements such as a person's ability to lead an organization successfully, a clear vision for future innovative and creative ideas, humility, compassion and lastly honesty. These are some of the qualities that one needs to demonstrate and prove his or her eligibility to lead a party like the NPP. Those who think there is enmity between the Ashanti and the Akyems and Kwame Pianins over suggestions of picking a Gas or Fante is all political nonsense. If the Gas or the Fantes have one who can lead the party successfully, let him come forward. Nobody is blocking anyone from taking up a leadership position in the NPP. History will justify that during the 1960’s the UP members realized the best person to lead the organization at that time was J.B. Kofi Danqua. In the 19 70’s the organization's members believed that K.A Busia was the right choice to lead the organization to victory. At that time the party could also have chosen J.H Mensah or Dombo to be their leader, but they did not; there was no alienation against any other groups within the UP tradition which was disoriented with the tribal discrimination or hatred that brought internal conflicts.

Now let's look at some major countries which are made of different ethnic group but where the chosen leader of a party is not based on ethnicity. For example, the United State of America, during the history of American presidency from the first president George Washington to the current president Obama, all the presidents of the greatest nation on earth have been either from the Republican Party or the Democratic Party and have been either British, or Irish. These are all British descendants. No other ethnic group has ever become president. The question is why is that? They believe leadership position should not be based on ethnicity but rather on the individual abilities to lead the nation by putting the interest of their nation first. There are members of other ethnic groups who have also come here since the 1700’s, 1800’s from Italy, Russia, France, Spain, Germany, and many other’s countries but the presidency of America has been held British. Why is it that other ethnic groups are not complaining? Because they do not believe that political leadership should be based on ethnicity, but the one who can advance and solve the needs of its citizens. The greatest irony in Ghana is that those who think they have a better education are the ones that are always making silly comments by exploiting tribalism and creating tensions in the eyes of other ethnic members within the NPP party. The NPP should rise above this cynical ethnic propaganda that uses these methods of exploitation in order keep the party in opposition in 2012. In addition, the NPP should not allow opponents of the NPP to continue their propaganda of tribalism within the NPP. This is also the imperialistic system of divide and rule methods that should not exist in our modern society. Those who are making these nefarious accusations to exploit these ethnicity sentiments are doing so for their own selfish interests.

From Nana Kofi Amankwah (New York)