Feature Article of Monday, 12 March 2012

Columnist: Tamakloe, Sebastian

The Monkey called tribalism -A cancer that hampers Progress

by Kojo Tamakloe

Racism is a well known term from which tribalism or ethnocentrism is aligned . What is racism ?

1. The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially. so as to distinguish it as..unique or exceptional .

2. Prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief. Take out race and insert tribe

Now as Black people it is easy for all of us to appreciate what racism is, as in one way or the other we may have been affected and hence experienced it . The white person is in a powerful position and so is able to make choices on your behalf . In most cases laws were made to ensure you ,as a victim are in an inferior position and remain so. Apart from the overt , there will be covert and brain washing through psychological schemes that ensures the victim accept the position of inferiority . So most of us have come to accept that any White is superior. We all long for imported items , and when we have travelled abroad ,broadcast it. We like to display our overseas qualifications, like Havard, Oxford, Cambridge and when we make postings ,like to write, Joe- London , Peter -Berlin. Yaw –Poland, Kwesi-Washington . All these ensure we are held in high esteem , for we are deemed to have rubbed shoulders with the white race, ‘ superior beings’. Being schooled we therefore want to eat the “ superior persons” food, a display of the fact we have arrived .Our local foods or diet are reduced to the state of poverty , so we see people disparage yo ke garri , ampesi , kenkey . Unfortunately some of us for some reasons just cannot live on the white food . My late father used to tell me I could not digest Cow & gate Milk and my son could not either. I guess we are a family of villagers. May be that is why I admire Nkrumaism and his African personality .

So what is all this about Voltarians being tribalistic ? Have Voltarians subjugated any one or race or tribe , imposed their values on them , or displayed uppism , or discriminated against others . Do Voltarians look down on other tribes , write disparaging articles about other tribes?. Let me remind readers the easiest way for any society to come together is when threatened .

So what is tribalism and who are tribalists. Let us again start with the definitions
The state or fact of being organized in a tribe or tribes.
1. The behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one's own tribe or social group.

. The organization, culture, or beliefs of a tribe. 2. A strong feeling of identity with and loyalty to one's tribal group
Now do we all feel a sense of identity to our tribes and a sense of pride ? I think we all do. It is when we begin to talk ,act and ignore that others may also have a tribe , a culture or positive values in their systems that we can be said to be tribalists. How many times have some people when a Ghanaian is involved in a crime not said that is a Nigerian or Togolese?

If you have written about an Akan ,caught in an untoward act and saying that is how all of “ them” are , you are a exhibiting tribalism . The question then is why are Voltarians the butt of this accusation when it is obvious they could be the victims? Some one wrote expressing joy that Voltarians plying their trade had died when their boat capsized. Some people were happy when Agbeko , then Ghana’s only world champion ,lost his title, just because of his language?Some one writes enquiring about the number of Voltarians in the Black Stars at the CAN games? Then , I refer you to comments written on ghanaweb dated 03/08/2012 on why the Volta region rates poorly in sports.A foreigner asked why the Volta region was always portrayed in bad light ? For me that is the low point at a time we should be gelling together not only as a nation but as Africans .
To my mind when one feels victimized as happened in South Africa , and USA,one would mobilize support to ensure one would receive a fair treatment. In many ways I look at the actions of some chiefs and youth from the Volta in connection with Mr Woyome in that light , being support and mobilization of public opinion to ensure he receives a fair treatment . Did the same not happen in the case of Nana who claimed Rawlings committed arson.? Did the NPP not even boycott parliament? Can we deny that powers cannot be abused?

Mr Olunka Bannerman made an appeal to forumners on 03/07/2012 . I think we should all take this seriously. If some one does not subscribe to your view point or your party affiliation , that does not justify insults nor tribalization .. We are not enemies but just differ on view points . It is political time in the USA and one knows even if the Republicans field a toad as the Presidential candidate , it will carry some states . Why?
We need to mature in our discussions. But for the NPP to win they will need independents , people like me to vote for them . It is a sorry state that they play to the base. How can you run a country when there is distrust , animosity, vilification and vitriol,and people feel disunited and left out . Can the NPP not learn from its predecessor , the PP, that failed abyssimally because they could not unite the country . Col Kutu Acheampong in a short time with the “Operation feed yourself” started to export maize. He did it by cutting across tribal lines and mobilizing the country . That is what we should be doing . Does the NPP say they have nothing in their campaign bag except tribalization and insults? Are they so bankrupt of ideas? So should we be putting in power a party that lacks ideas and cannot deal with issues? God save our motherland Ghana

Let us take a look at some of the negative effects of this primitive show of loyalty to our various cultures
Social Inability to harness all our meaningful resources leads to a dysfunctional society. How do our children view themselves and whom do they associate with.? Then what about those from mixed homes
Security. Whenever there is a perceived division , the enemy can exploit it and against us .All our secrets are shared with the real enemy who we believe is a friend while all they will want is avenues for exploitation . The interior tribes that boast of the valor cannot understand than the coastal tribes passed both valuable intelligence to them of the activities of the invaders as well as getting ammunition for them in readiness for repelling the onslaught . Do not forget Native Americans were conquered by being played against each other
Financial and economic We want foreign investment to enable us to grow. The effect of the negativity tells these investors of a possible instability . The investor stays away and hence leaving us poor while the world is moving on or comes in to make a quick buck and get out.

Finally should we not learn lessons from other countries , but most recently reasons given to us as to why Ghana could not win. ?The answer was too much individualism
Forward ever , backward never