Sat, 04 Jul 2020 Opinion

The Hidden Light Of The Zongo People

By Babs-Khalid Hassan A.k.a. Babs Dopouh
The Hidden Light Of The Zongo People

I observed with a keen interest in how our people in the Zongos are being subjected to the trash by politicians. They all have the same message when they are in Zongos, all they say to us is we are all Ghanaians nobody can stop you from voting. When it is time for registration make sure you register massively.

We are all citizens of this land. When you go to register, mention your home town, when they refuse you from registration pick a complaint form and fill it. We are going to help you work on that. “Message of the Politicians”. People from Zongos have been compelled to tell lies when they go to register as voters or to obtain a Ghanaian Passport.

The authorities at the passport office don’t accept people who claim their hometowns are the Zongos to be Ghanaians. They have no right to claim Nima, Fadama, Newtown, Kumasi Zongos, or any of the Zongos in Ghana as their hometown.

The government has created a Ministerial Portfolio for the Zongos to look into their predicament and find solutions for them. We are hereby putting it before the Zongo Minister that we have been refused the right of citizenship when we claim to have come from the Zongos. What is left of the minister is to find out the in-depth problems of the Zongo people and why they are being denied the right to register as a voter and the right to obtain a Ghanaian passport when they claim to have come from Zongo.

Brothers and sisters, we must emancipate ourselves from the bondage of citizenship; we are in a total dilemma if we are not able to understand what we want and how to get hold of it. Those of us who know perfectly well that our parents or grandparents came from somewhere within the west coast of Africa be it Togo, Benin, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Burkinafaso, Cote devoir and so on should bear in mind that our citizenship is not guaranteed until the constitution grants us the right of the Zongo person to claim his/her Zongo that he/she comes from. If that is not granted the only option for a Zongonian or Zongo person is to integrate into the society of the so call the natives of the land or have ourselves registered by the Law of the Land.

The whole of Africa believes in the geographical locations of ethnic groups, so, if you don’t belong to one of them you are term as an outcast, thus, you are not part of them.

Brothers and Sisters, the name Zongo have its own meaning from the elites of the ruling class. I, some time ago attended a meeting organized by Legal Resource Centre (LRC) to discuss the issue of Muslim family Law in Ghana with the overview of problems with the current law on Muslim marriages, and the way the Zongos perform their marriages in conformity with the Law of Islam. And

the reasons why they don’t adhere to the laws of the land when it comes to marriage?. The Legal Resource Centre led by Dr. Raymond Atuguba in their handout title “Report on Muslim Family Law Conference held on 27th November 2004 at Miklin Hotel Accra.”) Defines Zongo as “People within the “Zongos” who do not belong to any tribe in Ghana and who do not have any recognized custom applicable to them in Ghana, will encounter problems since they will not have any specific community whose custom can be used as their personal law.

For such people, Muslim law may well serve as their personal law”, but that option may not be open to them if their marriages are not registered under CAP 129. The question here is “does Dr. Raymond Atuguba and his team doesn’t know that the practice of marriage in conformity with Islam or Muslim law engulfs both the Zongos and the natives of the land who practice Islam as their region? If the registration of marriages is applicable to Zongo then it must be applicable to all Ghanaian Muslims in general.

Our inability to make headway is due to self-realization, we are to realize that the need to be free will come when we are ready to assimilate ourselves with the natives of the land and see ourselves as one people fighting a common destiny.

The question now is “how do we integrate into this society”. This is easy, all we need to do is to love, marry their daughters and encourage our women to marry the natives, thus, to encourage inter-marriage, in that effect they will also understand that we want to be part of them. In generation to come our children have no worry, they know where they are coming from, who they are, what they want to be in the future. The example of this is Ex-president Rawlings, Barak Obama the president of the United States of America.

Our Preachers (Malams) are doing well in converting Christians from the North, Ashante, Volta, and other parts of the country into Islam. But guess what, they turn round to go back into their former state because we refused to accept them as our spouse. Are we indeed Muslims? We are not; we only pretend to be one. When our Prophet Mohammed Peace and blessing be upon him wanted the unification of the people of Arabia.

All He did was to assimilate himself to almost all the tribes by marrying their women just to create an atmosphere of love and peace and this became a success. You don’t need a degree to become a citizen of a land. When we Africans travel to the European countries and the United States of American all we do is to integrate into their society by marrying their women in other to be known.

By so doing we end up getting the right to stay and the right to citizenship within stipulated years of our stay. Why can’t we do the same? Why don’t we want to marry the people whose tribes have geographical locations?. Believe it or not, the mindset of the people of Ghana is if your tribe does not belong to any ethnic group of the natives then you are not a Ghanaian.

If you want to compare yourselves to the Afro-Americans or Black Americans by saying that when one is born in the United States of America he or she automatically becomes a Citizen of America. You are right but don’t forget that every country has its own sovereignty or laws governing it. The case of Ghana is quite different from that of the United States.

Secondly, the case of Afro-Americans is quite different from ours here in Ghana simply because they were forced to be a citizen of that nation. They were forcefully transported to the land that they knew nothing about. So, their citizenship will not and will never be like yours. Yet they suffered for sometime before gaining liberation.

The immigrants from the West Africa sub-regions who travelled to Gold Coast or Ghana in searching for greener pasture did so willingly and as such need to realize that there’s the need for them to integrate into the society that they came to meet for them to be accepted as part of the people.

The Zongos have come a long way to educate themselves in many fields of the economy but yet they seem not to be progressing or be permeated into the society of the natives. They are not given the privilege to head any government Institutions unless by false pretend. Thus, by claiming to be one of the natives, for this reason they can’t voice out when something is wrong and decision making becomes something they cannot attempt to implement least they will be exposed.

Brothers and Sisters, politicians are playing with our senses, they do not want us to realize who we are. They tell us with easiness “we all are Ghanaians”, go register and vote for party ‘A’ nobody can stop you. When the complaint of “they refuse to accept that I am a citizen of Ghana and my home town is Nima, Zongo, Newtown, Cowlane or any Zongo towns”, the politician only says to you why can’t you mention somewhere in the North and be free. If indeed the Politicians love the Zongo folks why can’t they direct us to the process of acquiring our citizenship right rather than using us to their advantage?

Most of the people of Zongos sometimes do not know where to choose as their hometowns, some still identify themselves from where their fathers or grandparents came from and intermittently visit there and notwithstanding notify the natives that they are going to their hometowns and also do same when they come back. The question here is “Are the Zongos themselves serious about their right and welfare?

For Zongos to realize their dreams and be among the decision-makers of this country then there’s the need for Zongos to integrate into the ethnic groups of Ghana. By integration, a Zongonian or a Zongo person can lead this country just as Ex-President Rawlings and ex-president Obama. This is because their fathers’ assimilated themselves with the well-known ethnic group in their respective countries which no one can rule out.

Let the “Hidden Light” appear and that will be the liberation of a Zongonians. You cannot be a diner when there’s nothing on your plate. Emancipate yourself from the bondage of citizenship.

Zongos arise; know what you want and how to get hold of it.

Your citizenship right will set you free.

Thank you.