Feature Article of Friday, 17 February 2017

Columnist: Kwawukume, Andy C.Y.

Re: We´re breaking away from Ghana – Volta Group

By Andy C.Y. Kwawukume


“My real agenda is to stop the sale of cocoa to the Ghana government, cocoa farmers create all the wealth in the country and have been carrying the country on their backs for years. It is time for them to stop that silly practice of collecting 70 cents on a dollar and cash in on world market prices. That my, friend is where opportunism really rests. The only people who pray on the alter of the failed unitary state are the parasites and leeches who feed of (sic) the Ghana government from cradle to coffin.” NYaw

The above quote was taken from the Okyeame forum, one of those vacuums in which some highly or supposedly educated and miseducated Ghanaians, mostly resident in the Diaspora, sealed themselves and fulminate and rant - largely uncritically – inanities (in the midst of some few thoughtful and critical gems), which they pass off as the pinnacle of wisdom.

The above is an example of an inane comment, written in apparent support of the news that a group in the Volta Region wanted separation from Ghana. I am accordingly breaking the rule on non-disclosure to make this the cornerstone of this series, as indeed, that’s the mind-set of a large segment of the Akan ethnic group which the time has come to address. Some of us can no longer tolerate living with this kind of jejune nonsense borne out of abject ignorance or just plain ethnic demagoguery.

Since no one bothered to respond to and correct the above claims, I did so thus, corrected for typos and edited and deepened for wider dissemination in this series.

NYaw,

What kind of nonsense is this?

It is a pure lie and myth "that cocoa farmers create all the wealth in the country". In fact, it is an outrageous lie or exaggeration which you know but, sadly, is often repeated ad nauseam and blatantly and ignorantly used to double insult the people of the VR [and northerners] as leeches and parasites on cocoa farmers, who, for some obscure reasons, are often supposed to be only “Akans/Asantes,” whatever that mean! At this very moment, they are at it on Ghanaweb. You see, the ignorant fools have no clue that cocoa is produced in the VR too. And they think only Akans grow cocoa in Akan areas. I bet Osafo Marfo doesn't know either.

I have reached my conclusion a long time ago that ignorant fools and morons, as well as being "thieves and thiefettes," have been misruling Ghanaians, whom Ken Kuranchie, a veritable savage himself, went to prison before realising that they are not civilised and came out to blurt it out: Ghanaians are not civilised! Yeah! As if some white man at the UNDP had mistakenly reclassified them among the recognised comities of civilised nations, instead of the developing people they are supposed to be.

Well, I didn't read anywhere anybody challenging him, so I suppose he is right! Of course, he is! If they are not uncivilised and ignorant fools, their misrulers wouldn't be signing such outrageous oil contracts and planning to pass an obnoxious bill [since then passed into Act 919] to cover their stupidity and greed while the so-called highly educated citizens, home and abroad, looked upon unconcerned or claim they could not understand why not consolidating the Production Sharing system already in place is tantamount to selling Ghanaians down the river!

Would they? Why do they spend so much time on the paltry sum Woyome collected for Waterville and some Englishman and totally ignore that $6bn+ losses Ghana had so far suffered, thanks to bad oil contracts soiled with corruption? My people in the VR have every right to decide to opt out of that stupidity! After all, my ancestors sat at the table to negotiate to bring them into that fatal union called the Gold Coast - now Ghana - and so I have an obligation to speak out on their behalf, and I have been doing so and shall increase the crescendo to deafening levels pretty soon.

But, I have been the most vocal against their plans, having refused to be co-opted as one of their leaders to represent them here in the UK. I had argued with one of their key leaders into silence on the CEANA and Eweland forums but it doesn't mean I can ignore their grievances too. I have been dealing with that my own way too for decades now and intend to increase the tempo sooner than later. I have tarried for far too long already. And, by the way, no one should dare touch a hair of anyone of them. Those days when such activists used to be rounded up and locked up are long gone. So don’t dare touch them!

I have specially copied Kofi Ellison so that I can ask him if he has discovered that cocoa is produced in the VR too, as he was one person we had argument with in the '90s about this basic human geographic fact which one could get 1 in Geography at the O' Levels and still don't know in the past! Yes, where cocoa is produced from in Ghana and by whom are simply things many Ghanaians don't know.

They never heard of Polly Hill and her Migrant Cocoa Farmers of Southern Ghana, and our intellectually bankrupt book and research allowance seeking academics haven't done any similar work since her superlative efforts of those who pioneered the growth of cocoa in Ghana to the number one position in the world. So it often comes as a surprise to many when told that the VR was one of the major cocoa producing regions in the past and still produces a significant amount.

But the area where cocoa is produced is one of the most deprived in the whole of Ghana. In fact, cocoa producing areas all over the country are deprived, as I found out myself travelling to such areas in the Eastern Region (E/R) and the Ashanti Region in the '80s and '90s respectively. Problem is same: absentee cocoa farms owners (75%) who take all the proceeds to the big towns or where they come from with government hardly spending money on modern social amenities in those areas!

I had to admit that the areas present a human geography nightmare for development planning and so I had written some pieces detailing how the jinx can be broken. I am referring to the series Opening the Rural Areas of Ghana and a yet unpublished conference presentation.

Now, I'll just reproduce again some statistics from the past, specifically from the Ministry of Agric Facts and Figures of Nov. 1991. From p.9, we notice that agriculture contributes 50% to GDP, about 60% to export earnings and supports directly and indirectly 80% of the total population. It is obvious then that cacao alone didn't create all the wealth in the country by Nov. 1991, as total agric output contributed only 50% of the national wealth.

Can someone update us on when cocoa had assumed such a monopoly on wealth creation in Ghana since then? Obviously not but it is such nonsense some so-called highly educated Ghanaians, home and abroad, repeat by heart to justify claims of Akans feeding the rest of us and why they must rule the country!

Further, we read on agric:

"Greatest production emanates from Root and Tuber crops made up of Cassava, Yam, Cocoyam. These contribute about 46% of Agricultural GDP with yams exhibiting the largest growth rate in area planted and third after groundnut, maize and cowpeas in production grown rate.
Plantains account for 9% of Agricultural GDP".

Analysis of this information alone should blow into smithereens the myth of cocoa farmers as the creator of greatest or all wealth in Ghana, and those who don't produce cocoa are leeches subjected to constant insults, etc! So, who are responsible for growing those Root and Tuber crops? And where are they produced? Is it not also from the non-Akan regions, the three northern regions and the VR inclusive, albeit a big portion of the VR is populated by Akans too? We need to know.

Where is the Statistical Services database on these vital indices? When the non-degree and non-PhD holding great- and grandfathers and fathers of some of us were helping the British to turn the Gold Coast into the rich model colony that it became, even statistics on the number of fowls and pigs in each district was readily available.

Further we read:

"Cocoa is the second largest sub-sector contributing about 13% of Agricultural GDP. The third largest sub-sector is forestry with a contribution of 11% of Agricultural GDP. Cereals, (maize, rice, sorghum and millet) contribute 7%. Livestock 5%, fisheries 4%, fruits and vegetables 3% and others 2%"

There we have it! Even the commoner Kofi Brokeman (Plantain) added nearly as much to agric GDP as King Cocoa by 1991!

Where are those crops produced? Who produces them? Who keep the livestock, do the fishing, etc., etc? Are they not also producing wealth in their regions by engaging in those activities, or as migrant/settler fisher-folk or farmers in other regions? Osafo Marfo and all those ignorant and foolish Akans who routinely repeat his abject, ethnocentric balderdash must be asked to answer those questions! My good friend Gilbert forwarded to me the news item about the VR becoming the leading rice producing region in the country. Did the rice farmers of the VR add some wealth to the country’s pool of wealth or not?

I won't even touch on the services and other non-agric sectors except to mention that a couple of years ago, I read the serving VR Director of Health bemoaned the difficulty of getting trained health personnel to man health facilities in the VR, despite the region producing 70% (don’t know where he got that figure from) of all health personnel in the country! The news did not surprise me, as I had read from a foreign journal in the mid-1990s about the problem and how Voltarians, especially were manning the health centres and schools in the northern regions.

I sincerely hope the overwhelmingly students from the northern regions out-going President Mahama, in his supreme wisdom, had sent to Cuba to study medicine had completed and returned to assume such posts so that the VR can also get some health personnel too. I wish it were that simple.

What I expected of government officials, certainly the NDC as a party, was to issue this kind of full rebuttal to Osafo Marfo’s leaked claims but did not read any such rebuttal. I might have missed it though but I doubt it; the NDC honchos are so shallow and ignorant too. I read that some people even marched against Marfo’s "tribalism" in Accra but what he said was not tribalistic, as Nana Akufo-Addo (now President-elect) rightly said, but rather ethnocentric (which he Akufo-Addo didn’t admit), which is even more obnoxious!

In fact, even the more abhorent, as ethnocentrism is the mother of tribalism and worse! 99.9% of “educated” Ghanaians do not know what tribalism means and entails, and so we shall return to its definition in Political Science later.

Fact is, folks, the VR is being snitched horribly and deprived of its due share of the wealth its sons and daughters produce in the region and in other regions, and then wantonly INSULTED ON TOP! People are becoming very angry at that and it is becoming difficult to rein them in. The boys at Aflao are already counter-attacking the security and CEPS personnel. Everybody knows how corrupt they are anyway. As for me, I had already written about how I was insulted basababa on the way to Dzeluope in 1993 'cos of mistaken identity.

Shall be continued….

Writer's e-mail:cyandyk@ymail.com