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Opinions of Friday, 17 November 2006

Columnist: Ampofo Ofori

The Ugly Face Of Tribalism.

The President and Ex. President must shake hands and bury differences.

The Webster dictionary defines tribalism as tribal consciousness and loyalty, for example, exaltation of one tribe above other groups. Every human being on the face of this earth belongs to a tribe. This phenomenon is not man made, but an act of the creator of the earth and everything that is in it. The almighty God so designed the world that various tribes reside on geographically bounded lands called a Country. A Country by Webster definition means the land of a person’s birth, residence, or citizenship.

The bible teaches us in the book of the Romans.12-14, bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Also, vs. 18, live in peace with all people, and vs. 20 says if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty give him drink; for by so doing, you will heap burning coal on his head.

World leaders have been Godly from generations, but the world has never seen any peace. I would love to see the world without the bomb and assault raffles. There have been civil and mostly tribal wars the world over for years that have ended the lives of millions prematurely, and render millions incapacitated for life. These atrocities of the human nature must be condemned by every rational human being. In most cases these human catastrophes have been the result of power hungry leaders, who are blindly supported by their tribesmen and women to create chaos and human suffering for selfish political interest.

Tribalism bleeds warlords, and eventually tribal wars. The results are destruction of infrastructure, torture of human lives, and displacement of families, rape, and millions walking distances with nothing to neither eat nor drink. Those who are able to escape the genocide, seek refuge in neighboring countries. The world has witnessed tragedies of tribal wars from Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Angola, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and Ivory Coast, to mention a few. Ghanaians are witnesses of millions of refugees that settled in Ghana for years as a result of brutal tribal wars in our neighboring countries.

These brutal experiences of tribal war that were shown on our television screens from these neighboring countries, must be enough to forewarn Ghanaians about the dangers of tribalism, and the blind support for warlords. Ghanaians are lucky and blessed that these kinds of ugly, barbaric, and bloody tribal wars have not witnessed our streets yet; however, the barbaric military coup experiences alone should be enough to guide us against the real life experiences of cross fire in tribal gun exchanges.

Can we protect our children from the kind of tribal war/genocide witnessed in Liberia, Sierra-Leone and Ivory Coast? Yes we have no choice but do so. Those who read the Say It Loud (SIL) comments column on the Ghana web daily will agree with me that the tribal confrontations, insults and profane language between the Ashantis and the Ewes are not very healthy at all by any imagination. There is not a single day that passes by without derogatory remarks and verbal abuses hauled against Ashantis by Ewes, or Ewes by Ashantis. This should be a forum where important issues of concern to the poor in Ghana and national development should be discussed.

This tribal tension has been compounded by the high rift and enmity between President Agyekum Kuffour and Ex President Jerry John Rawlings and it is becoming increasingly impossible to think about Ashanti and Ewe reconciliation. But there is nothing impossible in this world in the eyes of God. These two important figures in Ghana must show all Ghanaians some emotional maturity by putting their personal differences aside. Bad things might have been done or said; but for the sake of our National Interest, they must show to the nation they stand in solidarity when it comes to our nation building efforts. They do not have to agree on issues; in fact, they do not have to like each other. But, they must realize holding grudges is never a good example for any nation that aspires to be enlightened. We are a young democracy; hence, without dialogue, effective communication and consensus building, our democracy may not take advantage of the rich and immense values inherent in all of the tribes in Ghana It is the view of the GHANA NATIONAL PARTY, that President Kuffour should exhibit a deep sense of statesmanship, as a father of the Nation, and seek reconciliation with Rawlings however bitter he might see it. For the sake of peace and to sustain the stability that he has natured, the President should open his arms for any such approach, shake hands with the Ex. President and smoke a peace pipe. If Rawlings refuses such a gesture, so be it. This is not to suggest that he The President must compromise on our national security. NO!! No one must be above the laws of the country.

Even though there are sectional conflicts in the north and other parts of the country, the various other tribes do not refer to each other as tribalistic. Those who fan tribal sentiments and war of words on the Ghana web should realize the dangers they are creating for their extended families back home. People should realize that, any unfortunate tribal war will not be waged on the Ghana web; but on the ground, and the whole Country will be in disarray. If we do not want to loose all the blessings God has bestowed on us as a peaceful country, let us change our war mongering behaviors and let all Ghanaians see ourselves as one people with a common destiny in one country.

The essence of the National reconciliation exercise I thought was to cover up for good - all previous ill feelings against any particular tribe in the country. It is the strong desire, of the Ghana National Party that strong and lasting bridges are built across all the various political divides and especially the various tribal divides so that, the Ashantis can safely walk over the bridge on river Pra to cross the river Volta to the Volta region and the vice versa. The Akims can walk over the bridge on river Brim to Ashanti and the vice versa. So on and so forth. And the Abudus and the Andanis will see themselves as brothers and sisters, in a country full of promise and hope. Fellow Ghanaians, let us respect life and strife for peace even under extreme provocations and confrontations.

REGIONAL REPRESENTATIONS IN GOVERNMENT. I do not know how the various regions are represented in Government, but the GNP believes it is wrong to discriminate against a particular region in overall Government appointments whether the region voted for or against the winning Party. It is just fair and will be one way out to resolving tribal ill feelings if, a constitutional provision on regional representation in Government appointments are made proportionally with the number of districts.

Fellow Ghanaians, it should be the prayer of all peace loving citizens that there is never a tribal conflict in Ghana; because the ugly face of the tribal wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, are still fresh in our memories. The Ghana National Party sees tribalism as one of the evils of our society, and will do everything to unite our great country for development and the safety of our people. The unfortunate side of the ugly face of tribal wars is that, those who fan those wars (War Lords) always go hiding while the innocent and the unfortunate die in cross fire.

Learn more about the GHANA NATIONAL PARTY AT www.natlparty.com Ampofo Ofori (Executive Chairman, GHANA NATOINAL PARTY)

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