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Opinions of Thursday, 21 June 2007

Columnist: Adomakoh, Joseph Smith

Stop the War Drums

As most of you are aware by now, I am quite a novice when it comes to the cyber-universe of the Ghanaweb community. Indeed, since its inception in 2000 or so, it was not until March this year did I start writing feature articles for publishing on the aforementioned website. Nevertheless, prior to that, I had found the site quite fascinating for ample reasons the notable of which, being the opportunity to read local news and of course, taking advantage of reading the brilliant and more informative feature articles written by some of the best brains from the country, not to mention the associated bloggers’ critiques marred, with some of the most explosive remarks against writers of the said articles, which is the subject matter of this article.

My observation is that the Ghanwebsite has been turned into a platform for war drums where, various tribes from the country vehemently attack each other, the most potent of which, being the Ashantis and Ewes. There is not a single article on the website each day, that did not turn confrontational between the Ewes and Ashantis and I think it is time we discontinue this practice before it metastasizes into something more sinister than the war of words. The hostility between these two tribes and its inevitable dreadful derivative on the other tribes in the country is lamentable and, it makes one to watch with growing trepidation. Indeed, given the ominous outcome of such hostilities to which we all bare witness to its mayhem on the African continent, one would have thought that this will not be something to entertain. Yet, we have managed to block from our physiques, the inevitable consequences of such hostilities which have oftentimes emerged to destroy many a country. If history is any guide, we are without a doubt heading towards disaster. Remember Rwander, Liberia, The Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Somalia, and Sudan among others? The parallels with what is being exhibited between the two tribes and others on the Ghanawebsite are almost eerie.

In the case of Rwanda for example, conventional wisdom holds that the conflict was a civil war between the minority Tutsis and the majority Hutus. But historical records point out that it was a long-term hostility between the two tribes that ignited the war in which over one million people got slaughtered into oblivion. Liberia is no exception, it was tribal differences that triggered that war and, again, over 250,000 perished and 1.4 million became refugees. Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Somalia and many more have fallen prey to this horrible demise all, because of years of undercurrent tribal differences.

The war in western Sudan's Darfur province has been labeled as a clash between Arab herders and African farmers. However, a careful review of the conflict indicates that the combatants on both sides are largely black Africans, and the hostility between them is more of a culture, than skin tone. It is traditional tension between the two groups that, has boiled beneath the surface for several years before escalating to a level of bloodletting in which, an estimated 500,000+ people have died so far.

But in Ghana, we are blessed that the founders of our nation had the foresight to see it fit, to establish a school system that will unite us, with the objective to avert any such future conflicts. And, without any denial, the said arrangement (secondary boarding schools system) has given us solace and escape from the ethnic tensions that have caused many African countries to the havoc of bloody ruins. The more than 70 plus ethnic groups in Ghana have managed to study together since independence, like brothers and sisters without any trouble. And, as expected has helped us grow up, seeing ourselves first and foremost as Ghanaians, more so than our ethnicity - Ashantis, Ewes, Gas, Dagombas, and Frafras, to name but a few. Why then are we trying to destroy the most important ingredient that has kept us united heretofore? By all means it is okay to attack people on individual basis if we feel he/she might have written something to our dislikeness. But for peace sake, do not attack an entire tribe and their leaders (chiefs), for an individual’s political incorrectness. Such a practice is not democratic but an invitation to war.

Better yet, we can direct this energy to positive use by establishing a watchdog institution, like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), to monitor government’s spending activities and the alleged corruptions, which have been the culprit to most of these hostilities, instead of continuously criticizing government without providing any direction to clampdown on such practices. Mirrored in the framework of the ACLU, ours can equally bring our politicians to book, if there is any miss-appropriation of funds and/or incompetence in the execution of the duties that the people have mandated government to do. Indeed, my next article will be dedicated to this proposal to solicit more ideas from the community as to how the institution can be formed and managed. For, I am persuaded that one doesn’t have to be a president of Ghana or an MP to help in the development of the cuntry. There is too much talk but no action. Let us put our energy to positive use and veer away from the dangerous path we are heading.

To those of you who may not be cognizant with the activities of the ACLU, it is a legal watchdog institution in the US, with non-governmental status devoted to defending civil rights and civil liberties in the United States. The ACLU brings lawsuits against the US government if they detect any injustice or any act of same that may encroach upon civil liberties in the country. Most of the lawsuits brought by the ACLU have been central to several important constitutional law cases; and it has played key roles in the dispensation of good governance in the US.

Finally, ever noticed that the ages of the majority of the 2008 presidential hopefuls are under 60? This is an indication that the torch is being passed to us; a new generation who are trained together in unison, tempered by political violence, disciplined by acceptance and tolerance, and proud of an ancient heritage to which, we are now being entrusted to protect. In the course of the struggle of our forefathers to achieve nationhood for us, they gave testimony to their national loyalty by sacrificing their lives for us. Their graves across the country bare witness to their commitment to the peace to which we now enjoy.

Let us therefore, not disappoint them but make it our moral and patriotic duty to guard against anything that will compromise that peace and rise to the occasion to protect it for our children and their children, by making sure that their Ghana, is a beautiful, peaceful and, a more united Ghana, for the sake of all our past and present leaders including, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey, Mr. Ako Adjei, Mr. Edward Akuffo-Addo, Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah, Mr. William Ofori Atta, Gen. Emmanuel Kwesi Kotoka, Gen. Akwasi Amankwaa Afrifa, Gen. Joseph Arthur Ankrah, Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, Gen. Ignatius Kutu Akymapong, Gen. Frederick Kwasi Akuffo, Dr. Hilla Limann, Flt.-Lt. Dr. Jerry John Rawlings and President John Akyekum Kufour, among others. Long live Ghana and God Bless us all. Thank you.

Joseph Smith Adomakoh, Jr.
Wall Street, New York, NY June 18th 2007

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.