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06.01.2006 Feature Article

Tension in Ghana: The Solution is ....

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.......The United Africa At last, a Modern African State that was plagued by political instability for over 30 years has achieved more than a modicum of stability. Today, Ghana is displaying to the world seemingly acceptable and peaceful democratic governance but underneath the quite political landscape are ethnic tensions that have the potential to evolve to a national political crisis because of the fierce competition for monopoly of power by the major ethnic groups that constitute the Modern African State of Ghana. On the basis of language and culture, the people of Ghana can be classified into five major ethnic groups. These are the Akan, the Ewe, MoleDagbane, the Guan, and the Ga-Adangbe. Within each ethnic group are Traditional African States, which are separate and politically organized sub-ethnic groups with no political allegiance to each other. Consequently, Ghana's sub-ethnic groups and major ethnic groups do not share and have never shared political allegiance even after the European partition of Africa that amalgamated these traditional states and even after Ghana's independence. The history of Ghana indicates that there has never been political unity amongst Ghana's traditional states since pre-colonial times. Under such political environment of little or no ethnic unity, ethnic tensions are bound to crop up with the least political miscalculation, oversight or incompetence. A History of Belligerence History tells us that there has never been political unity across ethnic lines in Ghana. For example, the relative homogeneity of Akan cultures, languages, and authority structures has not led to political unity among the Akan. History tells us that the most important conflicts of the Akan in pre-colonial and colonial times, for example, were with other Akan groups. Political conflicts were major occurrences in pre-colonial and colonial history of Ghana because the Traditional African State is seen, not only as the arena of political life, but more importantly, as the institutions with the power and willingness to protect ethnic identity and to come to the defense of its component members. Political events of pre-colonial Ghana clearly indicate that the Akan States were created primarily to form a common defense against belligerent Akan States. The propensity of belligerent Akan States to subjugate other Akan States led to frequent conflicts among the Akan ethnic group.

These conflicts led to the creation of dominant traditional states such as the Asante Kingdom. The development of the Asante Kingdom, for example, was largely at the expense of the independence of the surrounding Akan States, who were quick to reassert their autonomy, especially after 1896, when Asante was defeated by the British. In the struggle for independence and in the period since then, political alignments have followed ethnic interests rather than any conception of Akan ethnic unity. Just as there is no unity within the Akan group in Ghana, there is no unity between the various Akan groups and the other ethnic groups of Ghana. Although there is no Akan unity there is Akan political dominance. The reality of Akan political dominance since independence, a political status due mainly to its population, wealth and education, has ignited ethnic nationalism in Ghana, especially ethnic nationalism by the Ewe ethnic group of the Volta Region of Ghana.

The partition of the Land of the Ewes into Ghana and Togo in 1956 created a politically conscious minority ethnic group. Ewe nationalism in Ghana has since been a source of disunity in Ghana because of the fear of permanent political domination by the Akan group. As in the Akan group, there was no overriding ethnic unity amongst the Ewe ethnic group until the May 1956 plebiscite that partitioned the Land of the Ewes between the Gold Coast and Togo. After the plebiscite, the Ewe ethnic group, the dominant ethnic group of the former German colony, was divided between the Gold Coast proper and Togo. Although a clear majority of the people of British Togoland voted in favor of union with their western neighbors that absorbed the area into the Gold Coast, there was vocal opposition to the incorporation from some of the Ewes in southern British Togoland thus precipitating a history of belligerence between Akan and Ewe.

The plebiscite created Ewe nationalism and has since been a source of political tensions between the Ewes and the Akans, especially between the Ewes and the Asantes, a sub-group of the Akan ethnic group. Ethnic tensions developed after the plebiscite and have grown rapidly in Ghana, and although subterranean, have periodically burst onto the surface to cause a series of military coups. Undoubtedly, ethnic tensions has been endemic in Ghana and it is growing today mainly because each ethnic group in Ghana has a historical tradition of group identity to protect, are fearful of each other and have a great desire today to acquire a great measure of political autonomy, not only to protect ethnic identity but also to share equitably in the political power and the economic wealth of the State of Ghana. The propensity of the Akan group and the Ewe group to monopolize power to secure maximum protection has created a history of ethnic belligerence in Ghana and, as the history of Ghana clearly indicates, the incessant pursuit to acquire ethnic political control of the central government of Ghana has caused ethnic rivalry, disunity and political tensions in Ghana since independence. Ethnic Rivalry Continues Unabated Ethnic rivalries of the pre-colonial era, variance in the impact of colonialism upon different regions of the country, and therefore different ethnic groups of Ghana, and the uneven distribution of social and economic amenities in post-independent Ghana have all contributed to the growing ethnic tensions in present-day Ghana. Frustration with the governance systems and irritation from the awareness of gross inequities in Ghana has contributed to these subterranean tensions that periodically erupt in many different ways. For example, in February 1994, ethnic anger erupted in the Northern Eastern Region of Ghana resulting in more than 1,000 people killed and 150,000 others displaced in fighting between Konkomba on one side and Nanumba, Dagomba, and Gonja on the other. Although the clashes resulted from longstanding grievances over land ownership and the prerogatives of chiefs, the confrontations were actually the eruption of pent-up ethnic frustrations and anger towards the governance system in general. The local ethnic conflicts in North-Eastern Ghana brought to the surface from underneath the seemingly quite political landscape, a longstanding deep dissatisfaction with a local governance system that has virtually made one ethnic group subservient to the other. Although it could easily be interpreted as an exceptional case of ethnic conflict because of the seemingly peaceful coexistence of ethnic groups in the urban areas of Ghana, this violence was certainly evidence of ethnic tension emanating from the prevailing unhappiness with the current political structure and system of governance at the local and national level by an overwhelming number of disadvantaged and aggrieved ethnic groups especially ethnic groups from the Northern and Upper Regions of Ghana. The ethnic discontent culminating in the ethnic conflict reflects a political situation that continues to exacerbate ethnic political rivalry in Ghana.

Ethnic rivalry continues notwithstanding migration to the cities. The presence of major industrial, commercial, governmental and educational institutions in the cities, as well as increasing migration of other people into the cities had not created a sense of unity in Ghana all because of the fear of losing ethnic identity and because of the belief by many ethnic groups of the prevalence of inequity in the distribution of power even in a democratic Ghana. For example, migration to Accra, the capital of Ghana, had not prevented the Ga people from maintaining aspects of their traditional culture and ethnic identity, a vivid attestation to the importance of ethnicity to the African and to the great aspiration of the African to protect ethnic identity no matter what. Because of ethnicity, migration into the cities and urban areas has not build any sense of shared ties across ethnic lines. On the contrary, migration has increased the awareness of political and economic inequity across ethnic lines. This awareness explains the strong ethnic sentiments in the political discourse of Ghana. The heterogeneous nature of all administrative regions, in rural-urban migration, although has resulted in professional inter ethnic mixing, in the shared concerns of professionals and trade unionists that cut across ethnic lines, and in the multi-ethnic composition of secondary school and university classes, they have not eliminated the ethnic consciousness about political and economic inequity in Ghana and therefore have not eliminated ethnic frustration of the current political structure and system of governance.

Historic ethnic rivalry continues in Ghana because of the increasing political and economic inequality between the ethnic groups of Ghana. Inequality in the distribution of political power and economic wealth of Ghana explains the propensity for political parties to emerge or continuously evolve along ethnic lines. Political parties in Ghana have essentially been controlled by ethnic groups competing against each other to either maintain ethnic monopoly of power and wealth through the control of the central government or to wrestle political power from other ethnic groups in power. Consequently, ethnicity continues to be one of the most potent factors affecting political behavior in Ghana and it virtually dominates political discourse in Ghana today. Although, ethnically based political parties are unconstitutional under the present republic, ethnic sentiments in the politics of Ghana have not subsided but is on the increase. Increasing ethnic sentiment generates increasing ethnic rivalry, which then ignites the flame of political tensions. Ethnic rivalry continues today because of political and economic inequity in Ghana today.

The Scramble for Protection and Equity Awareness of the political and economic inequities due to ethnicity and the aspiration to protect ethnic identity have dramatically increased lately because of the murder of a king of an ethnic group in Ghana. A recent reaction by a Ghanaian from the north to the murder of the King of the Dagombas in the Northern Region of Ghana aptly describes the heightened ethnic tensions in Ghana today – “If Dagombas are treated with dignity and are protected from the several human rights abuses meted out to them in the name of the political party in power they would not be bothered about which political party is in power. In so long as our human rights are continuously violated we shall forever fight for justice and freedom”.

The murder of a king of a traditional state and 40 others in the king's palace in January 2004 in a manner reminiscent of 17th Century external aggression against a kingdom and the inability of the central government to apprehend the perpetrators of the murder have sent a chilling wave of fear into the spine of some ethnic groups in Ghana, who now believe that maximum protection of the ethnic group against injustice is unattainable unless the ethnic group controls the political party that controls the central government. As a result of the perception that the ethnic group is losing freedom and that indirect persecution against the ethnic group is becoming a political norm, feverish maneuvering by various ethnic groups to wrestle power has ensued thus aggravating the already tense subterranean ethnic tensions in Ghana.

Ethnic political maneuverings underlie the recent political pressures on the central government. Recent demonstrations against government economic policies is nothing but camouflaged agitation by a coalition of ethnic groups to grab political power from the sub-ethnic group believed to be in total control of the central government. To conceal the underlying political intentions, the political coalition is using economic rational as a rallying call to galvanize a movement across ethnic lines. Disguised ethnic struggles to acquire maximum protection from persecutions, injustice, and economic marginalization has created a coalition of Southern and Northern Ethnic groups against the Asante sub-ethnic group, the group believed to possess inordinate amount of power in the current central government. That there is covert scramble for political protection and economic equity is evidenced by these demonstrations. Political demonstrations have intensified political tensions and it is therefore destroying all opportunities of achieving political unity in Ghana.

In a nation where some groups feel less protected, group tensions are likely to emerge in many disguised ways and these tensions can develop into group conflicts and political crises. Political tensions have been endemic in Ghana because of the incessant scramble by ethnic groups to grab power or to dominate the politics of Ghana. Political manuvering in Ghana, since independence, have been indicative of ethnic tensions and the tensions at times have led to political instability. For this reason, the tensions underneath the quiet political landscape of Ghana are troubling since it emanate from a deep feeling of injustice against some ethnic groups as well as from a much greater awareness of political and economic inequity across ethnic groups. Certainly, the murder of a king and 40 others and the inability of the central government to bring the culprits to justice have added to the subterranean ethnic tensions in Ghana and have galvanize many a Ghanaian ethnic group to maneuver to acquire maximum protection either by demanding equal political power within the political party and within the government or by employing all necessary means to perpetuate ethnic control of a political party and the central government. The intense ethnocentric political discourse since January 2004 in all media, on public discussion forum and on the streets between supporters of various political parties, which are essentially ethnic controlled political groups, indicates that the murder of a king unleashed a great fear among Ghana's ethnic groups and the fear has intensified the scramble for political protection consequently exacerbating ethnic tensions in Ghana. The Great African Fear There is a great fear among Ghana's ethnic groups. It is the fear of perpetual ethnic domination of the politics of Ghana. It is the fear of ethnic subjugation by another ethnic group. Because of this fear, there has been no true national political party in Ghana since the demise in 1966 of the Nkrumaist Party, the Convention Peoples Party - CPP. The New Patriotic Party - NPP and its predecessors since independence are seen by many as the Akan Party dominated by the Akan sub-ethnic group, the Asante, while the National Democratic Congress - NDC and its predecessor are seen as the Ewe Party, although the recent presidential candidate is Akan. The current Nkrumaist Party - CPP and PNC - Peoples National Congress, unlike their predecessor, also do not reflect a national party. Because political parties in Ghana today are not national, the three major political parties - CPP/PNC, NPP and NDC, are all plagued by internal crises reflecting the classical African ethnocentric politics that has decimated many an African State.

That there is no true national political party in Ghana today is evidenced by the fierce and vicious ethnocentric political intrigues to control the political party on the national and constituency level. For example, the failure of the Nkrumaist Party - the CPP and the PNC to agree on party structure is a case of classic political scheming to acquire ethnic control of a political party in Ghana. The PNC, dominated by a coalition of Northern ethnic groups who believe that they have historically been marginalized politically and economically and have suffered disproportionately from injustice and government disregard, are vying for the control of the Nkrumaist Party against the CPP, currently controlled by a coalition of Southerners from the Akan and Ga ethnic groups.

The NPP is also plagued by ethnic divisiveness and the internal political wrangling of the party in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency is symptomatic of the ethnic strife in the party. It has been reported that some aggrieved members of the NPP have formed a dissident group in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency and are gearing up to stage a massive protest at the NPP national headquarters to voice out their concern against what they consider to be gross injustice and ethnic bias. The group's dissatisfaction with the party in the constituency burst onto the surface on October 1, 2005 during the constituency elections. The group claims that ethnic politics has taken hold of the NPP and that the party is organized to favor the Akan ethnic group as the clandestine ethnic agenda of party executives has virtually sidelined all non-Akans. The machinations of the executives in the constituency, the group claims, are undermining party unity at the constituency level since it has precipitated divisiveness between Akan and non-Akan. Also, a survey among NPP supporters in the Volta Region clearly indicated that members are not prepared to endorse a candidate for National Chairman who is supported by the current president. The president is Akan, from the Asante sub-ethnic group. The survey revealed further that the NPP supporters in the Volta Region, the home of the Ewe ethnic group, will not allow an Akan or an Asante to lead the party, a statement clearly indicative of ethnic aversion to ethnic political dominance in Africa.

Like the Nkrumaist Party and the NPP, the internal squabbles of the NDC have much to do with ethnicity. There is leadership struggles between pro-Akan and pro-Ewe factions in the party as some party leaders are striving to change the image of the party as an Ewe political party. While the NPP is perceived as an Akan political party, the NDC is recognized by many Ghanaians as an Ewe political party because the leadership of NDC predecessor military and civilian governments that rule Ghana for 19 years were headed predominantly by people from one ethnic group - the Ewe ethnic group. This ethnic dominance has created a great perception, rightly or wrongly, that the NDC belongs to the Ewe ethnic group and this deeply entrenched perception could not be neutralized in the 2004 elections. The notion of NDC as the Ewe political party was the cause of the loss of the elections to the NPP in 2004 and the loss was primarily due to ethnicity, to the ethnic fear of perpetual ethnic domination. Indubitably, the great African fear of ethnic political domination was a factor in the loss of the 2004 elections by the NDC. Ethnicity and Ghanaian Politics Ethnicity is essentially an imperative social need to protect the customs, the traditions, the mores, the identity, the aspiration, the pride and the power of the ethnic group. That this socio-political need is a major factor in Ghanaian politics was vividly demonstrated by 2004 elections. The loss of the 2004 elections by the NDC was due to ethnicity, not because of internal ethnic strife for the control of the party, but because of external perception - the prevailing perception of the Akan ethnic group that the NDC is a party controlled by the Ewe ethnic group. Ethnicity caused the election defeat of the NDC not because of party disunity but because of the fear of the powerful and populous Akan ethnic group of the continuation of political dominance by the Ewe ethnic group. The power of the Akan group and their wariness of a minority ethnic group dominating Ghanaian politics have made any political party perceived to be Ewe controlled vulnerable to election defeat. The wariness of the Akan ethnic group, a group that is disproportionately powerful, wealthy and educated, has made ethnicity a major factor in Ghanaian politics.

It could easily be misconstrued that ethnicity had very little role to play in the Central Region in the 2004 elections. Ethnicity and the fear of bringing back Ewe domination of Ghanaian politics resulted in a vote, not necessarily against the NDC presidential candidate who comes from the region, but against the Ewes who are believed to wield firm control of the political party. The notion of resurrecting Ewe political dominance after 19 years in power through the ballot box was too much political risk for the Fantes of the Central Region of Ghana to accept. The political risk of re-instating Ewe dominance was so much that the Fante, a sub-ethnic group of the Akan, decided to sacrifice the political career of a native son to maintain Akan pride and power. Ethnic political consciousness caused the defeat of the NDC in the Central Region and it was a political event in Ghana that demonstrated the power of ethnicity in African politics.

Contemporary Ghanaian history is replete with ethnicity in politics. Nkrumaist Asante politicians of the 1960s and an Asante Head of State of Ghana in the 1970s were never supported by the Asantes of the Akan ethnic group because the governments then were not controlled by Asantes. Similarly, in the 2004 elections, the Fante presidential candidate of the NDC could not be supported by the Fantes of the Akan group because the NDC is perceived to be controlled by non-Akan ethnic group. Because of the fear of ethnic subjugation, the African tend to vote for a party or support a government, not necessary because of who is at the helm, but what ethnic group controls the party or the government. In Ghana, as in all Africa, ethnic control of the party or government is synonymous to attaining maximum social, political and economic protections against social injustice, political persecution and economic marginalization.

That ethnicity in politics is a factor in the scramble for political control by the various ethnic groups of Ghana is also attested by the recent emergence of ethno-political groupings in university campuses. Ethnic politics is pervasive not only within political parties but also within other institutions especially within the university. The scramble for ethnic political dominance has become so egregious that even university campuses have become hotbeds of ethnocentric groupings producing ethnocentric politicians. There is an upsurge in the formation of ethnic groupings in university campuses and it has the potential to perpetuate ethnic divisiveness in Ghana. Ethnic associations on campuses, which, in the past were formed to foster camaraderie among students from the same roots, have in recent times become ethno-political groupings. These groups have become political tools on the campuses, such that in campus politics students are more likely to vote for candidates from their ethnic group. Students with political ambitions have actually been hijacking the positions of the members of these sectional groups, luring the majority of their unsuspecting colleagues in the pursuit of their parochial objectives. Budding politicians are being compelled by the political structure of Ghana to employ ethnicity as means to climb the ladder to political power consequently making ethnocentric politics the norm in Ghana.

Ethnocentric politics has permeated all institutions in Ghana - political, professional as well as educational institutions and it has made politics in Ghana needlessly volatile, creating unnecessary suspicions and tensions, even in institutions where cooperation and a peaceful atmosphere are needed. Ethnocentric voting pattern has been a feature of Ghanaian politics since independence because people in Ghana continue to subscribe to and vote for the political party controlled by their ethnic group and vote against the political party that even appeals to their political persuasion. Because of the need to protect ethnicity and avoid economic marginalization and because of the fear of political dominance by other ethnic group, political ideology hardly transcends ethnic boundaries in Ghana consequently making disunity a virtual certainty and unity a virtual impossibility. Ethnic disunity attest to an African political fact - before the emergence of modern political ideology, there was African ethnicity, the power of which has not yet been neutralized. The power of ethnicity in Africa has not been neutralized because of ethnic fear of ethnic political subjugation. Certainly, the fear unleashed by the murder of a king, has intensified historic fear and has galvanized Ghana's ethnic groups to scramble for maximum protection thereby exacerbating the already serious subterranean ethnic tensions in Ghana. Political Control - Political Tensions Since democracy has been widely accepted by all Ghanaians, it has become abundantly clear to all ethnic groups of Ghana that control of the central government to attain maximum protection for the ethnic group and to grab the lion's share of the political power and the economic wealth of Ghana, can no longer be achieved through the control of the military but through the control of the political party. It is therefore no surprising to read daily in all media about the internal strife of the Ghanaian political party. The internal dissension of the Ghanaian political party is nothing but ethnic maneuvering for the control of the political party. As social, political and economic insecurity of the ethnic group increases because of the prevailing distrust of the government to provide maximum protection to all ethnic groups, ethnic political plots to control the political party increases as well. History has made it clear that the African ethnic group, including the ethnic group of Ghana, will forever continue to fight for equal protection until and unless freedom and justice flow abundantly across ethnic lines. Like other ethnic groups in other African States, the ethnic group in Ghana has been fighting, since independence, to acquire maximum political control in order to attain maximum political protection from political subjugation by other ethnic groups, a political pursuit that has greatly contributed to the perpetuation of ethnic tensions in Ghana. The fight to acquire maximum protection has ignited ethnic rivalries all across Africa, including Ghana, and as a result political tensions has become the norm in many African States. In Ghana, the Ewes and the Asantes epitomize ethnic rivalry. The Ewe group and the Asante group, when out of power, have been too quick to react against government policies they believed to be against their ethnic interest, too quick to mobilize fierce resistance against the slightest perception of an incipient political domination by other ethnic group and too quick to express great animosity against people of other ethnic group perceived to dominate Ghanaian politics. The result of these political reactions is increasing political tensions. The propensity to react quickly against the central government of the day is due to the deep distrust of the Ghanaian political structure and the political system.

The African ethnic group in Ghana, notably the Asantes and the Ewes since the 1950s, have been distrustful of the political formation of Ghana and as a result have been demanding greater degree of political autonomy from the central government, when they are not in power, mainly to avoid ethnic subjugation, protect ethnic identity, and share equitably in the political power and the economic wealth of Ghana. Under such a distrusted political formation, fear of subjugation and marginalization is bound to predominate and under a feared national environment characterized by fierce protection of ethnic interest in total disregard of national interest, ethnic polarization is bound to occur and ethnic sentiment is bound to dominate political discourse and national unity is bound to become extremely difficult to achieve. Unquestionably, the distrusted political structure and system in Ghana are the cause of the endless and needless ethnic political scrambling, scheming, plotting and manuvering in Ghana since independence. The inappropriate political arrangement in Ghana, a political arrangement that confers inordinate political power in the central government, which history has shown to be unacceptable to many a Ghanaian ethnic group, is the source of ethnic tensions in Ghana and therefore the cause of disunity among Ghana's ethnic groups. Political tensions continue in Ghana today because the Northern ethnic groups, who are disproportionately powerless, politically and economically, are aggrieved and the Southern ethnic groups, who are politically and economically powerful, are fearful of each other and are therefore constantly maneuvering to control the central government of Ghana and as a result are totally oblivious of the political imperative to share political power and economic wealth with the Northern ethnic groups through the creation of a meaningful political structure and governance system. The prevailing political maneuvering within political parties and within government are clearly indicative of the classical African politics of ethnic aggrandizements which, African history has done well to tell us, is always pursued at the expense of national unity. In the pursuit of ethnic aggrandizement through diabolical ethnic scramble for power, some regions are disregarded in the distribution of social and economic amenities. But, to disregard a region in Africa is to disregard the ethnic group, the consequences of which are endless tensions, instability and crises leading to ethnic and secession wars. Such a political environment of almost total disregard of powerless regions and constant feuding of powerful regions, camouflaging as personal animosities of current and former presidents, is troubling as national unity is sacrificed on the altar of ethnic interest. There is heightened pursuit of ethnic interest in Ghana today and this ethnocentric quest for political supremacy in the nation through political control of the political party and the central government is causing great concern to many Ghanaians. Many a concerned citizen of Ghana has expressed dismay about the political rivalry that has gripped the nation since the 2004 elections. Political discourse today clearly indicates that the elections did not promote peace in Ghana but brought the subterranean tensions to the surface. Recently, a king of Traditional Africa in Ghana urged Ghanaians to stop politicians who divide the country on ethnic lines and also to stop pretending that everything is alright in the country. Also, mounting political tensions in Ghana are so troubling that a politician has been compelled to announce plans to embark on a hunger strike to draw international attention to the escalating political tensions in Ghana, which are essentially ethnic tensions camouflaging as a bad blood between the current and the former president of Ghana. Inarguably, the political environment in Ghana today is not alright, despite the quiet political landscape displayed to the world. The tensions are sustained by a constant ethnic political maneuverings, the primary objective of which is control of the central government of Ghana either by wrestling power or maintaining power even if the political objective is attainable at the expense of other ethnic groups. The seemingly peaceful political environment in Ghana today belies the mounting political tensions resulting from the ongoing fierce ethnic scramble for power to satisfy ethnic political needs and aspirations. Super-Neutral Continental Government, A Must It is evident from contemporary African history that the African ethnic group has great political needs and aspirations that have been denied or ignored by the African central government, political necessities only a super-neutral continental African government is capable of and willing to provide. A super-neutral continental African government that derives its power from all ethnic groups of Africa will be outside the control of any African ethnic group and as such will have the power, the resources, and more importantly, the political willingness to quickly bring to justice any culprit who perpetrate crimes that threaten political stability, crimes such as the murder of a king of a Traditional African State. A super-neutral continental African government is capable of preventing such crimes from developing into political crisis. For example, a super-neutral continental African government will be capable of providing maximum protection to Dagomba, Ewe and Asante. All the ethnic political maneuverings in Ghana today are indications of Traditional Africa looking for protection and equity. Traditional Africa is looking for protection but Modern Africa is unable to provide. Akan, Ewe, MoleDagbane, the Guan, and the Ga-Adangbe, and all ethnic groups in Ghana are looking for maximum protection as well as political and economic equity but Ghana is unable to provide. Traditional Africa is looking for political and economic equity but Modern Africa, represented by the central government, is unwilling to share power and wealth equitably with Traditional Africa either because of insatiable desire of the central government, which is almost always controlled by an ethnic group, to consolidate and monopolize power infinitum or because of the fear of disintegration of the Modern African State. But, the Traditional African State is not agitating for the break up of the Modern African State such as Ghana. Traditional Africa is agitating for social protections as well as political and economic equity.

Undeniably, the Modern African State is composed of multiplicity of ethnic groups, and being a political amalgamation, the unity of the African State is unattainable unless the people of the different ethnic, social, religious and racial groups feel mutually secure and identify with common national interests and aspirations. To this end, the political structure and the governance system, enshrined in a constitution, must fully take into account the yearnings, the fears and the aspirations of all groups. Unfortunately, the constitution of the Modern African State does not foster the realization of the aspirations of many an ethnic group. In addition, the constitution of the Modern African State, including Ghana, do not guarantee political and economic equity and as a result has inadvertently foster the emergence of ethnic elites such as the Akan and Ewe ethnic elites of Ghana. Undeniably, the unwillingness to share power and wealth by the ethnic elite controlling the central government of Africa is antithetical to ethnic empowerment and therefore obstructive to the attainment of the legitimate needs and aspirations of other ethnic groups constituting the Modern African State such as Ghana. Unlike the central government of the Modern African State, a super-neutral African government will have the capability and the willingness to provide for the needs and aspiration of all ethnic groups in Africa. Once a super-neutral continental African government is created the socio-political responsibility of the ethnic group to avoid economic marginalization and to protect ethnicity automatically transfers from the ethnic group to a trusted neutral African political power, a power that cannot be controlled by any ethnic group as to endanger the social, political and economic security of other ethnic groups. As a result of the devolution of political power through the new governmental structures and system of governance that create a continental government, the ultimate aspiration of the African ethnic group is realized - social protection is secured, political equity is achieved and economic marginalization is eradicated for the ethnic group. The parochial socio-political need to protect the ethnic group against ethnic threats is then replaced by a much broader African imperative need to protect all Africans against global threats. Unquestionably, a super-neutral African government is required not only to protect all Africans against global political and economic systems that keep Africa destabilized and under-developed but also to neutralize the power of ethnicity in African politics. Therefore, a government created by an equitable distribution of political power among Africa's ethnic groups is an essential prerequisite to eliminating ethnic threats, tensions, conflicts and crises in all Africa including Ghana.

Although Africa's ethnic diversity is a source of vibrant cultures and varied creative skills needed for rapid socio-economic development, it has needlessly become a source of tensions and conflict because of the inability or the unwillingness of the central government to manage diversity properly through maintaining a constitutionally appropriate political structures and systems that neutralize the political power of ethnicity. Ethnicity can be neutralized through devolution of political power to Africa's ethnic groups as such political arrangement prevents inordinate concentration of political power and wealth in a few ethnic groups. The central government of the Modern African State, including Ghana, has demonstrated gross inability or unwillingness to provide the needs of Africa's ethnic groups and has, therefore, inadvertently made ethnicity a powerful source of political mobilization in Africa. As evidenced by the tensions and crises in other Modern African States, the struggle to perpetuate ethnic elitism in the Modern African State has made meaningful democratization in Africa almost impossible. Due to the inability or willingness of the Modern African State, such as Ghana, to provide maximum protection and political and economic equity, Traditional African States, including those in Ghana, are unwilling to extend the African cultural sentiment of the Natural Group to include Ghana unless they control the central government of Ghana. Such unwillingness has created ethnic disunity and tensions in Ghana. In some African States such ethnic unwillingness has led to serious conflicts, secessions and rebellions against the central government. Therefore, to permanently end political agitations against the central government of Africa, including Ghana, all Africa must create one super-neutral continental government and the federal and state governments must share power and wealth equitably through meaningful political autonomy for the regions, provinces and districts of Africa.

Contemporary African history clearly indicates that the only politically prudent approach to neutralizing ethnicity as a source of political mobilization in Africa is to create a political structure and system that assure the African people that no ethnic group in Africa will ever come under the subjugation of any other ethnic group in Africa and in the world. Such constitutional guarantees are necessary because it is only when various groups feel mutually secured will they identify with common national interests and aspirations. It is only when all ethnic groups of Africa are assured mutual protection will there be unity among Africa's ethnic groups. So, to guarantee such protection to all Africans, the political power of Africa must, as a matter of political prudence, be distributed equitably among the districts, provinces, and regions of Africa because where there is political equity, ethnicity is neutralized and when ethnicity is neutralized, political ideology will naturally transcend ethnic boundaries to unite people of similar political persuasion from different ethnic backgrounds. In the process of ideological union across ethnic lines, unity becomes easily achievable. Thus, political ideology has a great potential to foster unity among all ethnic groups in Africa, if power and wealth are distributed equitably among Africa's ethnic groups. Equitable distribution of power in Africa is therefore the appropriate political approach to end the agitation of Traditional Africa against Modern Africa, political confrontations that have destabilized Africa for so long. There is too much political agitation in Africa because there is too much concentration of political power in the central government of the Modern African State, including the central government of Ghana. Today in Africa, the central government of the Modern African State is synonymous to the trade routes of the 17th and 18th Centuries. Just as the ethnic group that controlled the trade routes of pre-colonial and colonial Africa became the dominant power in the geopolitical vicinity, the ethnic group that controls the central government of the Modern African State automatically becomes the politically dominant power of the African State. Therefore, until and unless the inordinate concentration of power in the central government is dismantled and is devolved to the regions, provinces and districts of Africa, vicious political maneuverings, perpetual political agitations, relentless political tensions, conflicts, ethnic cleansing, rebellions and wars will continue to be a sad feature of Africa's political landscape for a very long, long time.

The never-ending agitation of Traditional Africa tells us that unless and until Traditional Africa, the ethnic groups of the regions, provinces and districts of Africa, feel protected socially, politically and economically tensions, conflicts and rebellions will continue to threaten political stability and economic development in Africa. Unfortunately, Ghana may not be exempted. So, to permanently eliminate political tensions in Ghana and Africa, the people of Africa including the people of Ghana must, as a matter of great political imperative, embrace the political concept of African Federalism, the new political formation that creates a super-neutral continental African government, a government created by the Unification and Federation of Traditional Africa and Modern Africa.

The proposed one African nation is - The United Africa. The solution to the political tensions in Ghana is….………. The United Africa Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Papa Yalae
Papa Yalae, © 2006

The author has 1 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: PapaYalae

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