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Opinions of Monday, 30 November 2020

Columnist: Opanin Archimedes Owusu-Ababio

Yen Akanfuo – Nana Addo’s NPP tribal politics that Ghana refuses to talk about

“A fish starts rotting from the head” – (Ghanaian proverb)

Duly elected presidents and governing political parties in Ghana upon assumption of office after the successful outcome of general elections are enjoined to administer the affairs of the country (Ghana) in accordance with stipulations and provisions of the Sovereign Laws and Legal Statutes of the Republic of Ghana as codified in the 1992 Fourth Republic Constitution, legislative enactments of Parliament of Ghana, legal and judicial precedents emanating from Courts of competent Jurisdiction in Ghana, Common Law judicial precedents, and ratified International and Bilateral Treaty Agreements to which Ghana is a bonafide signatory.

Article 35 of the 1992 Constitution highlights the “Directive Principles of State Policy” and “Political Objectives”, clauses 35(5), 35(6)(a) and 35(6)(b) enjoins ruling governments to uphold the following:

Article 35(5) – to actively promote the integration of the peoples of Ghana and prohibit discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of place of origin, circumstances of birth, gender or religion, creed, or other beliefs.

Article 35(6)(a) – to foster a spirit of loyalty to Ghana that overrides sectional (i.e. “partisan interests”), ethnic (i.e. “tribal interests”) and other loyalties. Emphasis mine on “partisan interests” and “tribal interests”.

Article 35(6)(b) – to achieve reasonable regional and gender balance in recruitment and appointments (“political appointments of public officers”) to public offices.

One can infer from Article 35 of the 1992 Constitution that the framers of the constitution envisaged and placed an obligation on all Presidents and governing political parties to endeavour to pursue a nationalistic agenda rather than a partisan agenda towards implementation and actualization of their political objectives and upholding the national public interest.

“Leadership is cause, everything else is effect” – (Prof. Stephen Adei)

In opposition, Nana Akufo-Addo made the statement “Yen Akanfuo ye dor ye hu paa” which literally translated into English means “We people of Akan ethnicity tend to love ourselves and identify with each other”. This statement coming from a leader of a major political party with a large support base was unfortunate as it smacked of ethnocentrism and tribal bigotry.

The issue of ethnocentrism and tribalism in Ghanaian politics is a subject many refuse to discuss publicly as if it were a non-issue although in private discussions tends to find expression and oftentimes becomes a vexatious issue of contention. The two main leading political parties; the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) have so far during the Fourth Republican era chosen their Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates being mindful of tribal considerations by selecting either one from the Northern or Southern part of Ghana.

In keeping with provisions of Article 35 of the 1992 Constitution successive Presidents and governing political parties have so far pursued a semblance of regional balance in Ministerial and political appointments of public officeholders. The question though is to what extent have Ghanaians subjected the incumbent NPP administration led by Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on the issue of regional balance in political appointments they have made?

Professor Stephen Adei former Rector of GIMPA who presently concurrently holds multiple political appointments serving as Board Chairperson of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Board Chairperson of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and Government appointee on the Judicial Council Governing Board in 2016 alleged that former President John Dramani Mahama had appointed too many northerners in his governing administration (reference: Modern Ghana article titled “Mahama Must Stop Northern Appointments – Prof. Adei” culled from Daily Guide dated 08 August 2016).

In Ghana, to a large extent, a person’s ethnicity or tribal affiliation is often revealed by the person’s name. Therefore, from names and surnames, one can to a large extent discern or infer a person’s tribal identity or tribal affiliation. For example, names like Osei, Owusu or Agyeman may identify a person as an Akan, whereas names like Oblitey, Amugi, Ashong may identify a person to be Ga-Dangme. Similarly, names like Amegah, Delali, Makafui may identify a person to be Ewe etc.

“If you love your country, you must be willing to defend it from fraud, bigotry, and recklessness …. Even from a Present” – (DaShanne Stokes)

In the current Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia led-NPP administration your guess may be as good as mine on the tribal affiliation of the following political appointees in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education judging by names:

Ministry of Finance

Ken Ofori-Atta – Minister of Finance

Kwaku Kwarteng – Deputy Minister of Finance

Charles Adu-Boahen – Deputy Minister of Finance

Abena Osei Asare – Deputy Minister of Finance

Ministry of Education

Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh – Minister of Education
Michael Nsowaah – Chairperson of Ghana Education Service (GES) Governing Council
Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa – Director General of GES
Dr. Kwabena B. Tandoh – Deputy Director General of GES (Quality and Access)
Lawyer Anthony Boateng – Deputy Director General of GES (General Management Services)

Judging from the names of the above public office holders you may answer for yourself whether the issue of regional balance was a remote consideration by the appointing authority who made these political appointments in the Finance and Education ministries?
“Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves” – (George Gordon Byron)

We all heard Nana Akufo-Addo when he ranted and remonstrated and made his infamous “Yen Akan Fuo” statement. The fact that majority of Ghanaians have chosen to bury their heads like ostriches and refuse to discuss the issue of tribalism in the current NPP administration and the partisan pollicization of our public services with political appointments of die-hard NPP fanatics is an issue that Ghanaians should consider on 07 December 2020 at the polls.

Opanin Archimedes Owusu-Ababio

C/o Cocoa Shed: Suro-nipa Nkwanta

Eastern Region