Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, has advised Ghanaians to eschew negative ethnic sentiments that could inflame passions and destroy the peace and stability of the nation.
"It is my prayer that Ghanaians would always consider themselves first and foremost as one people with a common destiny as we have demonstrated over the past 50 years," he said when opening this year's National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) in Kumasi on Thursday.
The 10-day festival is on the theme: "50 years of Ghana's Cultural Integration and National Development." NAFAC is held biennially to showcase Ghana's rich culture and traditions.
Activities lined-up to mark the celebrations this year include a Jubilee traditional durbar of Chiefs, Regional Days, Exhibitions and Bazaars, Highlife Fashion and Beauty Pageants.
Mr Boafo said ethnicity portrayed people's cultural features and traditions, which gave them their identity, self-respect and respect, adding that Ghanaians should therefore be committed to activities that would enhance inter-ethnic and tribal relations. He said his Ministry was compiling a register of succession of various stools and skins in the country as a way of curbing
chieftaincy disputes and urged the co-operation of traditional authorities and stakeholders to ensure the success of the exercise. Mr Boafo bemoaned the presence of unsightly heaps of filth in the cities and urban areas and called on Ghanaians to keep their environment clean ahead of next year's African Cup of Nations tournament to be held in the country.
Mr Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, Ashanti Regional Minister, lauded the late Dr Alexander Atta Yaw Kyerematen, former Director and founder of the National Cultural Centre for initiating NAFAC and hoped it would be sustained to further consolidate the current peace in the country. Daasebre Osei Bonsu II, Mamponghene, who represented the Asantehene, called on the organizers of the festival to outline programmes that would boost Ghana's tourism potentials.