And to be frank with you, dear reader, I have been barfing, chucking up, vomiting all morning since I finished laboring through Nana Amma Obenewaa's article titled “On Ethnicity, and Ghana's Fragile Democracy” (Ghanaweb.com 6/12/07).
Indeed, I seriously doubt whether Nana Amma gave herself the salutary opportunity to listen to, or even read, Mr. Jeremiah John Rawlings pontificating on his inveterate aversion for Ghana's Fourth Republican Democracy at Somanya on June 4, 2007, something the half-Scottish butcher and tyrant has been doing since 1992, when Flt.-Lt. Rawlings deftly and suavely handed over power to President J. J. Rawlings. One only needs to read a few of the chat-room comments composed by Nana Amma Obenewaa on Ghanaweb.com, in staunch and religious defense of Mr. Rawlings, to draw his/her own conclusions as to who veritably poses an imminent threat, in Nana Amma's own words, to “Ghana's Fragile Democracy.” Indeed, it is for this sacrosanct condonation of the sociopathic activities of notorious Ewe nihilists like Monsieur Rawlings, on the part of Nana Amma Obenewaa, which prompted yours truly recently to exhort this Ewe-micro-nationalist to promptly seek psychiatric examination. Unless, of course, the writer takes the majority of us Akan-Ghanaians, in particular, for cretins, which, well beyond the subtle or implicit, I am afraid to own, Nana Amma actually does.
But, dear reader, you know one interesting thing? I thought Nana Amma Obenewaa was going to begin her dissertation on “Ethno-Nationalism” by quoting Mr. Kwame Botwe-Asamoah's god, literary hero and authority on Akan History, particularly Akans of Akyem-Abuakwa extraction. And here, we vividly recall for the benefit of those who may not know or remember, Professor Kofi Awoonor's immortalized credo during the Acheampong tenure, right on the campus of the University of Ghana, where yours truly partly grew up at the feet of Dr. Ephraim Amu: “I AM FIRST AND FOREMOST AN EWE BEFORE A GHANAIAN.” The preceding, of course, was Professor Awoonor's riposte to then-General Acheampong's call for a Union Government.
And on the preceding score, it is also significant to add the curious fact that Professor Awoonor, a good friend of yours truly's late father, has been married to an Akan-Asante woman for over thirty years. He is also known to speak the Akan-language, among several other Ghanaian languages, better than most Akans of his generation and ilk.
And so when, indeed, Nana Amma Obenewaa claims that yours truly is trying to revive “tribalism,” without also alerting her readers to the original creators of modern-Ghanaian tribalism, she does them and herself great disservice, to speak much less about unpardonably insulting their intelligence. And for those of our readers who might not know it, the Ewes voted, under the auspices of the United Nations, as a trust or colonial waif, in geopolitical terms, in 1956 to become an integral part of independent Ghana in 1957.
Interestingly, Dr. J. B. Danquah, who had been far ahead of then-Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah in reading the proverbial handwriting on the wall, regarding the ultimate emergence of the future destroyers of “Ghana's Fragile Democracy” from that enclave of postcolonial Ghana, had actually vigorously campaigned for the Volta Region – then-Trans-Volta Togoland – to be incorporated into present-day Republic of Togo, while the Akan-speaking portions of Côte d'Ivoire were organically integrated into Ghana, for culturally commonsensical reasons. Interestingly, President Nkrumah, whom the Ewes consistently voted against, 9-1 in favor of Dr. Danquah, was also the one who hoodwinked the quite nationalistic Ewes into believing that shortly after Ghana's re-assertion of her sovereignty from Britain the Ewe, whom Ms. Obenewaa calls “Voltarians,” would be allowed to join their brothers and sisters in Togo.
But, perhaps, what needs to be summed up here is the fact that his stentorian proclamations on pan-Africanism and all, President Nkrumah appreciated very little about cultural organicity. The Ewes themselves affirmed this fact, thus their consistently overwhelming voting against Nkrumah's leadership. Needless to say, Nkrumah also reciprocated by ensuring that outside of Akyem-Abuakwa, the Volta Region would be among the least developed portions of Ghana.
I am also, at once, both amused and appalled by Amma Obenewaa's description of yours truly as one who is obsessed with something called “Akyemkwaaism,” which until my assailant used it, I never knew ever existed. Of course, I know about the sub-ethnic concept of “Akyemkwaa,” pronounced “Akyennkwaa,” but I have never narrowly considered myself to be exclusively a Ghanaian of Akyem or Okyeman extraction, being also the direct descendant of King Osei-Tutu I, Nana Amaniampong, of Asante-Mampong, as well as the Paramount King of Peki Blengo (called Abenase, originally), Togbui Kwadwo Dei, whose ancestors, by the way, I recently learned, migrated from the Kumasi-Pakyi area of modern-day Asante to rescue some Ewes, I believe, who were being harassed by their neighbors. To be certain, the Peki Paramountcy appears to consist of two lineages (and I own herein that I have never been to Peki, although my late grandmother used to tell me from time to time about her siblings at Asuogya, that is, East of the Volta River) one, my own, which is Akan, and the other, Ewe, and we have been living lovingly together as a single family unit for centuries, and so what is Nana Amma Obenewaa talking about?
Then also, I am heir to the throne of the Baamu (Lands and Mausoleum) Division of Akyem-Abuakwa; Nsawam-Adoagyiri was also originally settled by the Aduana branch of my family, which means I could claim the throne there, too! And so what do all the preceding verifiable facts of history make me, an insufferable anti-Ewe?
Our readers may also do well to remember just who recently surfaced on Ghanaweb.com, virtually out of nowhere, to vitriolically accuse me of being “a common community college teacher,” merely because I had dared to question the ideological motive behind Nana Amma Obenewaa's rather belligerent, war-mongering and substance-deprived article presumptuously titled “Examining the Nation's Energy Crisis” (Ghanaweb.com 5/23/07). Well, that godforsaken son-of-a-bitch was no other than Captain Kojo Tsikata, you guessed right, the certified murderer whom President Nkrumah fired from the Ghana Army and a “Community Destroyer,” even as yours truly is a “Community College Teacher”! And what did Nana Amma Obenewaa say to Captain Kojo Tsikata but “Bravo, Fellow Traveler!”?
You see, the problem with Amma Obenewaa is that she has foolhardily convinced herself that the best way to solidify her so-called Fragile Ghanaian Democracy through “dialogue,” is for Akans, as well as other non-Ewe Ghanaians, to sit duck while the likes of Tsikata and Rawlings determine our collective national identities by divine right.
And just what does Nana Amma Obenewaa mean by her assertion that yours truly has villainously denied Mr. Kwame Botwe-Asamoah of his humanity, simple because I flatly and roundly refuse to let this cultural and economic refugee insult the intelligence of the Okyenhene, my cousin and traditional grandfather, whose security and mortal preservation are the business of the Baamu Division of Akyem-Abuakwa, my maternal clan? And then to be roundly condemned by Nana Amma Obenewaa for aptly impugning the right of the pathologically anti-Akan/Akyem (the guy actually presented a conference paper sometime last year proposing to “De-Romanticize the Myth of the Asante Empire”) Mr. Botwe-Asamoah to call Dr. J. B. Danquah, founder of the University of Ghana and the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics, as well as the prime definer of postcolonial “Ghanaian Identity,” for it was, indeed, Dr. Danquah who gave the name “Ghana” to modern Ghana, a traitor to the very protégé, Kwame Nkrumah, who actually betrayed Dr. Danquah, the very man who personally paid the stranded young Nkrumah's passage, via sea, from London to Ghana in 1947?
Well, my final question to Nana Amma Obenewaa is this: Just what makes Mr. Botwe-Asamoah an Akyem by birth? His idiotic questioning of the intelligence of the Okyenhene and President Kufuor, simple because both men had, respectively, called for the University of Ghana to be named after Dr. Danquah and for the latter to be named the Patron Saint of Ghana?
Indeed, Nana Amma Obenewaa may feel “tainted” by ethnic admixture (with Akans, perhaps?); for my part, however, I mainly feel enriched and sumptuously blessed by my diverse ethnic background. And believe you me, I would throw a lavish party if I woke up tomorrow to learn to my utter exultation that, indeed, Nana Amma Obenewaa was my niece or even my cousin! And, by the way, Nana Amma: Did you, perchance, read my article titled “February 24, 1966: Forty Years On” which was published by Ghanaweb.com as a news story? By all means, Nana, do yourself and the rest of us a favor by locating and reading it. You would, I promise, be enthused by what you read, the Ewe part, that is.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., teaches English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: [email protected]
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