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21.11.2008 General News

Okudzeto is right


A former president of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr. Sam Okudzeto, has called on Ghanaians to eschew tribalism, since it had the tendency to derail the forward match of the country.

Speaking at the 13th William Ofori Atta Memorial Lectures in Accra recently, the legal luminary noted that intolerance and tribalism in the political history of Ghana, which has been overblown by many and for selfish purposes, had resulted in the country not advancing, a situation, he said, must be changed.

Making reference to the Akan-Ewe tribes, as the worst of the distortions, Okudzeto said the two never fought against each other, as perceived by many in the country, but were close allies, as intermarriage and resettlement by the two was a clear testimony to that effect.

There is no doubt that many Ghanaians tend to identify themselves with their tribes first, before Ghana. In the USA and Canada many migrants in most of the cases identify themselves first with their original country where they were born, even though the person may be holding either a US or Canadian passport. A political scientist would tell you this is ethnic identity.

In view of what we have stated above, one cannot begrudge those who identify themselves with their ethnic groups, or place the interest of their tribe above that of the country of origin.

The problem with us here in Ghana, is the dimension this ethnic identity has taken. But for inter-marriages, which was acknowledged by Mr. Sam Okudzeto, and boarding school system that we have been operating for a long-time, this country would have been blown apart on ethnic lines.

It is undeniable fact some of the ethnic groups are being identified with some of the political parties in the country. Just this week, a politician went on one of the radio stations in Accra, and spewed unprintable words against one of the ethnic groups, because of his claim that politicians from the latter group were too arrogant.

This behaviour clearly does not augur well for the development and unity of this country that is why we think Sam Okudzeto has made a valid point that must be well noted by Ghanaians.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, and some parts of India, have never known peace, because of the overplaying of ethnic cards. Ethnic strife, once it breaks out, is very difficult to control, that is why we at The Chronicle are advising Ghanaians to avoid the promotion of ethnic agenda. Poverty and deprivation should be our number one and collective enemy, which we must all come to together to fight.

Whether one is an Ashanti, Bono, Fante, Ewe, Nzema, Dagomba or Manprusi does not matter - the most important thing is seeing ourselves as Ghanaians with a common goal.