I am appalled by the article "The Fante Betrayal" published on Ghanaweb.com on December 16, 2004 in which the writer fans tribalistic flames by chastising Fantes for not voting for fellow Fante and former presidential candidate of the NDC, Professor Mills.
The greatest threat to democracy anywhere, especially in Africa, is tribalism or ethnocentrism. No good has ever come from such tribalistic posturing. Have we not learned anything from history? Remember Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and most recently Ivory Coast.
What the writer considers a Fante betrayal may very well be a maturation of the Fante electorate. The Fantes seem to have resoundingly rejected tribalism in favor of what they felt was in their best socio-economic interest. Why should they be made to feel bad for expressing their free will?
According to the writer, because Fantes didn't vote for their own native son, Professor Mills, "a great many people are looking at the Fantes and asking, why this second and deepest cut." My question is which great many people, and why should we care?
The writer also said that "The king that has been presented to Fantes, they have shot down by their thumbs." A king in a democracy? I realize the writer is speaking metaphorically here, but the whole point of democracy is to do away with the concept of kings by electing our leaders freely. What would be the point of a free election when a particular group is expected to vote en mass for a candidate that happens to be a member of that group, regardless of his or her qualifications for the job? Would the writer be talking about a Fante betrayal if the NPP and NDC had both fielded a Fante presidential candidate?
The writer concludes his article by saying "God Bless All Fante lands.God Bless the Fante People.And long live Ghana!!!. My question is what kind of Ghana does the writer have in mind? A Ghana divided along tribal lines or a Ghana united as one people? Those who hope for a united and democratic Ghana must understand that this is only possible if we move forward together as Ghanaians first and foremost. That does not mean we must loose our ethnic identities in the process, but rather we must eschew ethnicity and tribalism as the overriding common denominator in our national politics.
On the seal of the United States of America are inscribed the words "E Pluribus Unum" meaning "Out of many, One". Ghana must strive to form a modern state out the many ethnic groups and tribes. For that to happen there can be No Fante Nation, No Ashanti Nation, No Ewe Nation, No Ga Nation, No Frafra Nation, etc., etc. There can only be one Ghana Nation made up of Ashantis, Fantes, Gas, Ewes, Frafras, etc., etc.
We've got to strive to become One Nation, One People, with One Destiny. Long live a democratic Ghana, and long live all the wonderful people from all the wonderful tribes that made our country proud with their thumbs on December 7, 2004. Walter Kwami is an IT Infrastructure and Systems Engineering consultant living in Quincy, Massachusetts Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.