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Opinions of Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Columnist: Aboagye, Francis Kweku

Tribalism, Ignorance, And Sheer Stupidity

Hello everyone, it's good to be back after a long lay-off from this forum. I have been reading what's going on however. Let me just admit that TRIBALISM has broken lose since Atta Mills was elected president. I really believe that black people have a very long way to go until we recognize each other, and get along for a common purpose. Until then we will always get stuck in our Third World mentality and blame the white man for all our problems.

First of all, let me congratulate the Honourable P.C. Appiah Ofori, the MP from my hometown Breman Asikuma who is probably the honest person in Ghanaian Politics right now for his relentless effort to expose corruption in our society. In the western World, majority of Politicians grow up with the intention to dedicate their life to serve their community. It all starts with love of their country, and their desire to make it better, and/or restore it back to how good it used to be when they were kids. A fair share of these future politicians even enrol themselves in the army just to have a taste of how it feels to fight for their country. There is a word for it; it's called PATRIOTISM, and I can assure you that this word will be missing from African soil for generations to come. There are so many reasons but I can only talk about three of them today; TRIBALISM, IGNORANCE AND SHEER STUPIDITY.

Let me start with our worst disease, tribalism, I do not recall witnessing such intense tribalistic atmosphere growing up in Ghana as a child. Ghanaians of all tribes had a culture of accepting visitors and even sometimes treating them better than their own neighbours. As an Elementary school boy, I used to go home on recess with my Northern Ghanaian friend for well prepared launch by my mother. Despite our military dictatorship in the seventies, Ghanaians were all content with having Regional and District Commissioners from any tribe other than theirs. Not anymore, anytime you read an article or general news line on Ghanaweb, the first response you read is a tribal insults, no matter what the article is about. My fellow Ghanaians, let me warn you that despite our so called comparatively successful democracy on the African continent, we can easily plunge into civil war if we continue like this. The level of hatred between the Ashantis and the Ewes has been raised to the highest level ever since the NPP was closely defeated in the last election. Sadly, Arthur Mills is not an Ewe but it doesn't stop certain deranged individuals to attack him using Ewes as backdrop.

Due to ignorance and sheer stupidity, some people even look at the NDC as a tribe and not a political party. Mills was not even a month into his presidency when people started insulting him as a failure, with all other names they cannot give to their own parents. I was at a friend's house soon after the closely contested election discussing how Ghana could have possibly plunged into chaos like Kenya if Akufo Addo had not conceded. Suddenly, my friend's wife yelled from the kitchen that Mills was not going to do anything because he was not qualified to be president. Her only reason was the fact that the candidate from her tribe had lost to the good old Professor; sheer ignorance. Here is how our current tribal tirade started, I will do my best to explain but do apologize in advance to anyone I will offend on my way.

When Rawligns came back the second time in 1981 with an unnecessary coup to remove a democratically elected president Hilla Limann, no one predicted that the next 28 years in Ghana was going to experience extreme tribalism, hatred, and anger for the first time in its short history. Rawligns could have retired from the army and run for office after Limann's tenure but no, he came back quite different from his first coming which was overwhelmingly received by most Ghanaians. He came back to put only Ewes in all important positions in the country, situation that started tribalism up till now. For twenty years, Ewes had almost all cabinet positions, enjoyed most foreign diplomatic positions, had most academic scholarships to study abroad, and who knows what else they had. Consequently, Ewes who until Rawligns era, were never at the forefront of Ghana's society, began disrespecting AKANS. A lot of young Ghanaians in the Diaspora come to this website to perpetrate tribalism because of one thing, their parents told them that they ran out of their country because Rawligns was a vicious dictator who was murdering AKANS. Let history judge itself, no human being is perfect, and that include J.J. Rawligns. Those who like him can agree with me that his June 4th coming was necessary but I also agree with those who despise him that his second coup was not needed.

On the flip side, the door was open for the AKANS to travel to the Western World because Ghana was deemed a police state and being so its citizens qualified to seek asylum everywhere. By using Rawligns as their reason, most AKANS made it to Europe and North America in droves. These people became a powerful voice in Ghanaian politics because they had acquired knowledge, money and respect. They all gave John Agyakum Kuffour their blessings to take their country back from the Ewe dominated Government. Kuffuor finally became a president, something he had been longing for all his life even though he had no idea how he was going govern. The tribal tide had turned and whew, ..... it did with a BANG! Despite winning both the Central and the Western Regions handily, Kuffuor's cabinet made up of 99.99 percent TWI-speaking AKANS. He basically shut the door to anyone from any region other than Ashanti and Eastern. For the first time in Ghana, we saw nepotism intertwined with tribalism at its worst. But who could blame him, he was just following the will of his people who thought an Ashanti man in power was long overdue. Kuffour even took it further by appointing several Ashantis in the Diaspora who had long lost their Ghanaian passports as Ambassadors. To add salt to injury, the NPP Government even tried unsuccessfully to appoint an un-educated Pilipino store clerk as a Ghanaian Consular General in Toronto in the face of well qualified Ghanaians, just because rumour had it that he had contributed to Kuffuor's presidential campaign, sheer stupidity.

I am at this point asking all ignorant tribalistic fools on this website including self-acclaimed university professors and authors to cease insulting one another. This Ashanti -Ewe war is getting out of hand, you are not the only tribes in Ghana. Despite the fact that both tribes have produced all military dictators in Ghana's history, you are also the reason for Ghana's tribal woes. In Prof. Mills, we've got a true Leader for the first time since Kwame Nkrumah, who will help us forget the painful tribalism, nepotism, and corruption in the past 28 years. Let's all free ourselves from ignorance, get out of our stupidity, and work together to contribute to the welfare of the country, and remember, ONE NATION, ONE PEOPLE, ONE DESTINEY.

From Francis Kweku Aboagye

Mississauga, Ontario