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Opinions of Saturday, 14 September 2013

Columnist: Abangwa Research Center

The Politics of Ethnicity

*The Politics of Ethnicity – NPP and NDC Records Compared *

*By Abangwa Research Center*

Just like the rest of Africa, Ghana’s political discourse has been heavily impacted by ethnic leanings and beliefs of bias on the part of political parties. Taking advantage of the low literacy rates, politicians have sought to place in the public domain, assertions and myths that the electorate, having little means to verify, have accepted without questions. But if Ghana is to realize its potential of leading change in Africa, the citizens must be accurately informed about matters that impact their lives. It is based upon this conviction that Abangwa Center wishes to outdoor its current study on the politics of ethnicity to enable Ghanaians to draw their own conclusions.

Ethnic compatibility and discrimination are often times difficult to ascertain. The subjectivity and intricacies associated with the vice augment deniability and place too much burden of proof on the part of those finding themselves at the short end of dealings. But where possible, facts and figures can, and should substitute for allegations to establish behavioral and actionable patterns. These patterns would then educate our beliefs by either substantiating or disproving claims.

The two main political parties that have on occasion governed in Ghana’s Fourth Republic have traded accusations of ethnic bias. One is purported to favor Akans and the expense of Non-Akans while the other is purported to favor Non-Akans at the expense of Akans. But saying is one thing while doing is another entirely. What one administration does in office, for example, paints a more accurate picture than what it says.

Thus in seeking to filter the facts on the politics of ethnicity, Abangwa Center looked no farther than ministerial appointments by the Kufuor and Mills administrations. Try as we did, information on Rawlings’ political appointments was not available. Abangwa Center will continue to research into appointments, for example, at the agency head and directorship levels in those two administrations to augment the findings.

Based upon information available to Abangwa Center, President Kufuor appointed and reshuffled a total of 97 individuals at the ministerial and deputy ministerial levels. President Mills did same on 74 individuals. The originating regions of all appointees were researched to arrive at a total number for each region. That number was then calculated into proportions of the total appointments. Expectedly, some regions had higher percentages than others, but that alone would not reflect the true picture unless those percentages are contrasted with the population percentages of all ten regions.

The findings were startling. For example, under President Kufuor, four regions – Ashanti, Greater Accra, Volta, and Western – were cheated. Ashanti received 18.6% of appointments despite having 19.1% of the population. Greater Accra, with 15.4% of the population, had 14.4% of ministerial appointments. Volta, with 8.7% of the population received 5.2% of ministerial appointments. And Western Region’s 10.2% of the population received 6.2% of ministerial appointments.

Five Regions – Brong Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Northern, and Upper East – all received a higher percentage of ministerial and deputy ministerial appointments than their respective population percentages. Brong Ahafo Region’s 9.6% population received 10.3% appointments; Central Region’s 8.4% population received 11.3% appointments; Eastern Region’s 11.1% received 15.5% appointments; Northern Region’s 9.6% population received 10.3% appointments; and Upper East Region’s 4.7% population received 5.2% appointments. Upper West was the only region which evened out at 3.1%.

Under the Mills administration the five regions cheated were Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Central, Eastern, and Western. Ashanti received 6.9% of appointments despite having 19.5% of the population. Brong ahafo, with 9.4% of the population, had 5.6% of ministerial appointments. Central, with 8.7% of the population received 8.3% of ministerial appointments. Eastern, with 10.7% population received 9.7% of ministerial appointments. And Western Region’s 9.6% of the population received 6.9% of ministerial appointments.

The remaining five – Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Upper West, and Volta – all received a higher percentage of ministerial and deputy ministerial appointments than their respective population percentages. Greater Accra Region’s 16.1% population received 18.1% appointments; Northern Region’s 10.2% population received 10.8% appointments; Upper East Region’s 4.3% received 8.1% appointments; Upper West Region’s 2.8% population received 9.7% appointments; and Volta Region’s 8.7% population received 16.9% appointments.

In analyzing the study, it is important to note the following: In all the regions with the exception of Greater Accra, while it is true that not every resident hails from there, it is also true that for every non-native who resides there, there is a native who resides elsewhere thus making it a wash

A PDF File of the entire study can be downloaded *here*

Study conducted by Abangwa Center