Can we stop this ethnocentric nonsense?
As Ghana approaches its eighth general elections in this Fourth Republic, the ugly head of ethnocentrism is popping out, being urged on by the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The NDC decided that some Ghanaians from the Akan ethnic group had engaged a bad deal for Ghana, and instead of dealing with them individually, they labelled them Akyem Sakawas. How irresponsible, because should that name stick, any Akyem person will be labelled as such, and ex-president Mahama endorsed this?
Why some non-Akans want to paint all Akans in evil colours for the perceived faults of one individual or the other is becoming annoyingly disturbing. We cannot live together in this space God decided to put us in, if Ghanaians are made to believe that it is only Akans who are evil nation wreckers.
The NDC financier, Mr Alfred AgbesiWoyome, stole a whooping GH¢51 million from state coffers in 2009, which was worth over $40 million, then. Eleven years on he is yet to fully comply with the Supreme Court judgment instructing him to refund the loot. The amount he stole now values over GH¢280 million, or over $48 million today. All this for a single individual is surely the largest “bank robber” in our history, and yet no one tagged Woyome with the name of his ethnic group to call him, Ayigbeni Woyome, or EwemanWoyome.
And seriously speaking, another group of Ewes from Wedome have decided that they do not belong to this country. Instead of putting up their case and requesting that the over 4,000 sq. km Wodome land should be freely given to them, since it is the land of their birth and forefathers, they have decided to be land guards stealing other ethnic groups’ lands. No one has tagged these secessionists who are stealing lands belonging to Ghana with the name of their ethnic group, Wedome Ewe.
The opposition NDC could transport thugs called Azorka boys from their ethic home in the North to enter into Akan territory just to beat up the indigenes of Akyem Atiwa. The same NDC had an Ewe executive member driving her SUV into the Akyem youth, and when they reacted, using bare hands to drive away the invaders, someone decided that it was wrong for them to have done what they did. The then Attorney-General, now Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu, a non-Akan, defended the barbaric acts meted down to the Akyems in their own ancestral home. But when a fine gentleman commended the Akyem youth for fighting for their liberty during an NDC rule, by adopting the popular All-Die-Be-Die approach, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been labelled a terrorist to this day.
Today, the All-Die-Be-Die approach used by the Asantes to protect their lands from the British, adopted by Osu Mantse Nii Kwabena Bonne to cause a boycott of all foreign goods and services, adopted by Sgt Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey to seek justice and fairness, and this All-Die-Be-Die method which inspired Kwame Nkrumah to land us our independence is now demonised in Ghana, and thus, we are in a new oppressors’ rule where fighting to protect your dignity, if you are an Akan, is a criminal act.
NDC’s Dr Akosa had wanted to correct the impression making rounds that every successful Asante got where they were by using evil and criminal means, but he ended up completely marginalised by his own party.
In 2012, Nii Lante Vanderpuye of the NDC could lead thugs to beat up and drive away Akans, who were ordinarily resident in the business district area of Accra, from voter registration centres. Ursula Owusu Ekuful was not spared when she went to encourage women to go out and register. No one was arrested even though these crimes took place in the full glare of the police. However, when firebrand Kennedy Agyapong suggested same treatment should be meted upon non-Akans in Akan lands, he was hunted down like a wild animal and dragged to face the law. Nii Amasah Namoale recently said he had plotted to beat up Kennedy Agyapong for those remarks. He sees nothing wrong with the beating up of Akans by Gas.
When Osafo Maafo suggested that Ghana should have Akan heads of state because the bulk of the nation’s resources were from Akan lands, the country came to a halt, with agitations for his blood, with a full scale demonstration in the streets of Accra.
Today Akyems got pissed off when their ethnic group’s name was tagged to what some people see, even though not proven yet, as a crime. And to demonstrate how angry they were, they demonstrated. This too has generated anger against these Akans. This same Nii Lante Vanderpuye is alleged to have called those who demonstrated “useless boys.” Sounding very ethnocentric, he went on to dare Akans, stating that “they,” presumably the NDC, have more regions than the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and so could face them anytime. So is it that Nii Lante Vanderpuye is telling Ghanaians that there is plot to wipe Akans off the face of Ghana, and all that is needed to be done is to provoke them till they react, and it will be justification for war. Is that it? Is it what the NDC is planning for Ghana?
In my opinion, this Akyem Sakawa comment is an ethnocentric attack on all Akyems, and to a larger extent all Akans. There is a saying that “in every home there is a Mensah,” but never is the Mensah’s name used as a tag on that family. So, assuming that, indeed, those named Akyem people had committed a financial crime, they should be dealt with in their individual capacities, rather than labelling them with the name of their ethnic group.
NDC’s Ofosu Ampofo is screaming that he is an Akyem and that the Sakawa label does not apply to him. Really? During Apartheid South Africa and in the US, Black cops can be seen seriously brutalising their own fellow Blacks apprehended by the police. Ofosu Ampofo is also Sakawa and we can add Serial Killer to his name, since he plotted to finish off some personalities in this country.
If using the name of an ethnic group to tag perceived wrong doers is acceptable, then we must as well have Ayigbeni Woyome or better still Ayigbe Thieves. We can also call all Ewes land guards with the Wedome Ewes, who are out there stealing people’s lands, in mind. In view of the thuggery by the Azorka Boys are we allowed to label all Dangbons as thugs? Please, I am just asking.
We must stop this ethnocentric nonsense that the NDC is plotting. It will lead us nowhere, but into ethnic wars. And may the NDC be reminded that in Ghana there is no family which is pedigree and uniquely bred from only one ethnic group. If in the Mahama family, made up of Gonjas and Akans, there is harmony, likewise the Rawlingses, which is made up of Anlo and Asante, we must also live together in peace and harmony, because that is what God willed it to be when He put us in this small space called Ghana.
The Akyem Sakawa comment must be retracted and all Akyems apologised to.
Hon Daniel Dugan
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s editorial stance