Kofi Akosah-Sarpong discusses the issue of Pull Him Down (PHD) syndrome and the development process following Ghana's Information Minister, Nana Ankomeah's swipe at traditional rulers for their attack against the Asantehene's picture on Ghana Telecom's phone card
Nana Akomeah, is the latest of the Ghanaian and West African elites to join the region's on-going assaults against cultural value (s) that are deemed entangling the Ghanaian and West African development process. While the issue of the African negative value of Pull Him Down has been recognized by concerned Africans, by taking swipe at Ghanaian traditional rulers for their crab-like manners that thwart the efforts of one rising to the development process, Akomeah has raised this cultural trait to national level, challenged West Africans to do away with such inhibiting trait and joins the on-going movement of Ghanaian and West African elites and journalists campaigning to rid their socio-culture of deadly negative inhibitions that have been blocking their development process for long, and which has made their region an unpleasant area and a laughing stock in the global development process.
Why would West Africans pull each other down? Because of certain elements within their culture that make them allergic to one attempting to progress. It runs from within the family to the larger society and to the national level. It weakens civic virtues and makes nonsense of Africans culture of communalism. And who made the culture? Africans themselves, shaped by their mindset via ethnic hatred or tribalism and its ensuing mistrust. The Pull Him Down disease has seen West Africa top the rest of Africa in poverty, coup detat, communal violence, corruption, crime, and general insecurities. The Pull Him Down syndrome, a moral disorder, reveals the dark and troubled innate drives of what Ankomea is saying—a people allergic to light, to progress, to development. The Pull Him Down syndrome reveals the African's stupidity and weaknesses. The Pull Him Down disorder has sustained the negative juju-marabou and witchcraft culture and shows our unhelpful nature. How can a people be so obsessed with such negativity? Because they love it and because it is in their nature, formed by the culture they have constructed.
Why would a people pull one another down? Because of some negative forces emanating from within their culture (of which they themselves constructed), because they are weak, because they see things in negative realms, because they are mistrustful, because they are self-destruct, and because they are negative, deceitful, treacherous, and dim-witted. That the Pull Him Down set of symptoms is largely responsible for West Africa's despicable and “primitive” self is unarguable and indefensible. The Pull Him Down condition is so entrenched, chronic and deadly that it has stifled the supposedly positive functions of the booming spiritual and orthodox churches, mosques, shrines and oracles and other religious centers. For how can a country so immersed in such terribly vibrant religious activities be simultaneously entrapped in the vicious Pull Him Down disease, an indication of spiritual crises?
In a region that leads African in the number of ethnic groups, ethnic animosity is a daily diet for all the wrong reasons. All the wrong reasons because the 56 ethnic groups or so that make up Ghana are unaware that they are all from the same ethnic source but distinguished by geography. The Ewe is no different from the Asante but differ because of geography. The Asantes of whom the Asantehene is the King is a mixture of families, tribes, slaves, clans and the on-going inter-ethnic marriages. A proper civic education informed by Ghanaian and African culture should be able to correct this and assert how all the ethnic groups is one despite their apparent differences.
Ankomea need not have defended the Asantehene for his performances speak for themselves, making the University of Cape Coast honour him for his development projects and the World Bank support his development works to the extent that the World Bank President James Wolfson visited him to discuss development co-operation. Since when in Ghana did you see a President of the Work Bank visiting a King or a Chief or a Queen or a traditional ruler to discuss development issues? The President of the World Bank's visit to the Asantehene demonstrates him as a shining light in the development process. Since becoming the King the Asantehene has brought respectability and dignity to an institution partly responsible for Ghana's problems.
Most Ghanaian traditional rulers are corrupt, they pull each down, they embody our collective stupidity and destructiveness, they are carry-overs of slave trading, they are insensitive to the development needs of their subjects, they refract all the weak civic virtues undermining Ghana's progress, they are closed in an increasingly open planet, they are wasteful seeing them heavily litigatious, they have supported bad governments, they have failed to speak up against bad governments and other negative developments in the country, they are “primitive” in an increasing modernized world, they have projected deadly superstitions, they are key dabblers of juju-marabou, making them highly irrational in the development process. As the Ghanaian Chronicle editorialized, if all the traditional Chiefs and Kings are to copy the Asantehene in his development drive Ghana would see rapid development. This will be refracted regionally. Chiefs and Kings in Botswana and Uganda are doing what the Asantehen is doing by lobbying their central governments and other international institutions such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for not only development assistance but making politicians accountable to their constituents.
The decision therefore by Ghana Telecom (GT) to put the figurine of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II on its phone cards is not because he is a King but because of his positive developmental actions. If the other Chiefs and Kings in Ghana think well, wish their people well, have good intentions, have their people at heart and want their people live well, let them copy the Otumfuo. Akomeah statement that the putting of the Otumfuo's icon on the phone card is “a pioneering, act, which would be extended to cover other traditional rulers” demonstrates how Ghanaian traditional rulers should copy the Otumfuo's development process. If they fail to copy the Asantehene then as Ankomea stated “Traditional authorities from other areas should not criticize and behave like the proverbial crabs in a bucket refusing to allow any one of their number to emerge at the top.”