About five months ago the Ghana News Agency (GNA) reported that one of the chiefs at Kyebi in the Eastern region had ordered the destruction of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) posters, which had Professor Atta Mills' picture embossed on them, at Kyebi. The chief did not understand why Atta Mills' pictures should be pasted in the town when Nana Akufo-Addo, who hails from the area, is also contesting for the presidency.
When the news broke, we used this very column to condemn the behaviour of the chief. We argued that Kyebi is not a state on its own, but part and parcel of a country called Ghana, therefore, the chief cannot claim that because their son is contesting the election there was no need for other candidates to campaign in the area. Besides this, the 1992 constitution, which is the reference point in terms of governance, has not made any provision barring other Presidential candidates from campaigning in towns and villages where Presidential candidates come from.
We warned that the action of the chief could bring tribal differences in the country and called on him and those who share his views to stop destroying posters of Atta Mills and his NDC party in and around the Kyebi area. Five months down the line, the NDC appears to be exhibiting the same attitude as the Kyebi chief did.
An advertisement placed in one of the newspapers last week Thursday, apparently by both the London and Washington branches of the NDC, suggested that because Prof. Mills is a Fante, people from Fanteland should vote for him so that they would also boast of a President who is a Fante. The Chronicle finds the advert as not in consonance with uniting the country as all Ghanaians are praying for. Most countries in Africa have been blown apart because of this kind of ethnic differences, and we would not want that the same thing happens in Ghana too.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Busia, Dr. Hilla Limann, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings and currently President Kufuor, who were democratically elected into office all came from different corners of this country, and no ethnic group stated that because they did not come from their region or tribe, they would not be voted for. Yes, Prof. Mills is a Fante alright, but let him sell his policies to his people to convince them to vote for him, instead of playing the ethnic card. We are not blaming Prof. Mills because he did not place that advert. We are rather holding his campaign team responsible for trying to bring division among the ethnic groups in the country.
It is an undeniable fact that the NDC flagbearer did not perform well in the Central region during the 2004 elections. Despite this shortcoming, the law Professor did not openly blame his people but decided to work hard in the region this time round to convince them to vote for him. We, therefore, do not understand why the campaign team of his party should be playing the ethnic card, which has the tendency to divide this country.
Prior to, and immediately after independence, some groups of people tried to play the ethnic card in our politics, but Dr Kwame Nkrumah managed to subdue the phenomena, and since then Ghanaians have seen themselves as one people with a common destiny. This is not the time to do this kind of politicking, because at 51 years, Ghana has come of age.
Certainly, the advert we are complaining about would not promote national unity and we appeal to the campaign team of the NDC to withdraw it before other parties start to copy them.
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