Tribal tempers flaring as ethnic-based groups emerge

By Gye Nyame Concord
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By Gye Nyame Concord

3/31/2009 5:14:45 PM -


First it was the self-styled Ga-Dangbe Youth Association, followed by the illegitimate Osu Traditional Council. Last week, another ethnic-based association, Patriots for the Protection of Western Region's Heritage (PPWR), joined the ongoing fray by calling for protection of alleged indigenous resources for indigenous people.

Sources say various other ethnic-based associations are likely to come off within the coming weeks as a result of the ongoing agitations and illegitimate threats by the Osu Traditional Council, raising the spectre of ethnic and tribal sentiments peaking across Ghana soon.

Ashanti Region will follow, only for groups in the Eastern Region, Brong Ahafo Region, among others to follow suit, a source said.

“We've got to watch those playing on the keyboards of indigenous and tribal sentiments lest we create a wave of ethnic related trouble that may too difficult for us to solve, noted Titus Nii Kwatei Glover, a former member of the Tema Municipal Assembly and a youth activist in an interview with this paper yesterday.

Glover, himself a Ga also pleaded with other ethnic associations to desist from following the path of the self-styled Ga-Dangbe Youth Association, urging Ghanaians not to allow self-styled groups without any legitimate mandate whatsoever to whip up ethnic sentiments and push Ghana to the brink of conflict.

“These guys are just a motley collection of individuals who have no mandate to speak on behalf of any Ga. They do not speak for Gas.

While Gas have a legitimate case to make in complaining about the issuance of lands seized or leased by the State to individuals, we must acknowledge all governments since independence have been guilty of these abuses. Fortunately, the Kufuor administration began the return of the lands and we ought to encourage the present administration to follow the planned return of those lands instead of creating a storm out of a teacup” Glover said.

He said a cursory assessment of the so-called emerging groups and their speeches leave many questions unanswered.

“This is bad. Ghanaians may differ on many things but we are one united country and we do not want anything that divides our rank. This is why these ethnic-based groups should not be taken granted for granted. They should be condemned by everybody. We should be careful the kind of things we promote.

Another Ga indigene, Tina Naa Ayele Mensah, an activist of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), pleaded with indigenes of the Region to show their disdain for the misrepresentation of their legitimate concerns by a group she said was hijacking it for selfish political purposes.

“Some of us are inter-married; we have cousins, nephews, nieces who are not Gas. It is therefore worrying when you see illegitimate groups seeking to pretend they speak for all Gas abusing platforms for political purposes, not minding what seeds their careless statements sow for future generations as well as Gas who live in other parts of the country”, she said.

At their press conference last Thursday, which they said had been sparked off by the demands of the two Ga groups, another self-styled group, Patriots for the Protection of Western Region's Heritage (PPWR) threatened that because the Ga-Dangbe Youth Association and the Osu Traditional Council have started demanding for the protection of the region's resources for indigenes, they would also call for the protection of resources of Western Region for use of their indigenes.

The group includes former journalist and one-time DCE, Kwesi Biney, former DCE for Tarkwa-Nsuaem Mireku Duker, and former DCE for Mpohor Wassa East, Mr. Edward Tawiah Amprofi.

Others are Messrs Ben Ackaah Gyesie, Kojo Kum and Fredrick Feidoo, all legal practitioners based in Takoradi.

According to the group, if the Ga-Dangbe Youth Association and the Osu Traditional Council prevent ex-president John Agyekum Kufuor from acquiring a bungalow on Ga land for office because he is not an indigene, it would also protect the region's resources for indigenes only.

The group said current developments in the country were giving Ghanaians cause to worry.

Addressing a press conference in Takoradi Friday afternoon, the spokesperson of the PPWRH, Mr. Kwesi Biney, stressed that every land in the country was contributing towards the over-all development of the country.

He said even though the Western Region has carried the nation on its shoulders in terms of its contribution of natural resources to the national kitty the region has nothing to show for it.

He said the nation was exploiting the resources of the region to the disadvantage of the local people and that there are all shades of Ghanaians who had made the region their homes.

He said when one moves along the coast of the region, he would come into contact with Ewes and Ga settlements, with all of them plying their trades legitimately and peacefully as Ghanaians.

According to the spokesperson, the actions of the Ga-Dangbe Youth Association and the Osu Traditional Council had opened the eyes of the indigenes in the region to the fact that indigenes of the Western Region were losing their lands and heritage to non-westerners.

Mr. Biney alleged that greater percentage of the resources from the Western Region have been used to developed Ghana, while roads in the Western Region were so bad, portable water non-existent in many communities, and electricity a luxury to majority of the people.

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