22.10.2010 Feature Article


22.10.2010 LISTEN

Sometimes in our attempts to castigate others, if we do not do so with thoughtfulness but do so with uncontrolled indignation, we end up saying things implicitly that are as loud as what we say explicitly. Deputy Minister of Tourism, Kobby Acheampong, in a recent radio interview, opined that NPP General Secretary Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, Popularly known as Sir John stayed in Kumasi for far too long, and that qualifies him to be a “Kokoase Kurase ni” or a cocoa-farming unpolished villager. Acheampong further advises the NPP Scribe to “broaden his horizon” now that he is in Accra.

Mr. Kobby Acheampong goes on to admit that he himself was born in Kumasi. I wonder what Kobby Acheampong is saying about his own parents who chose Kumasi over Accra to live and consequently deliver him there. Is he saying his parents are “Kokoase Nkurasefuo” because they lived in Kumasi apparently long enough to have him there? Is he saying about his own parents that they lack a broadened horizon? I don't know if Mr. Acheampong's parents are alive and have heard his comments about Kumasi residents, but I would be curious to know what they thought about them.

I also wonder what Kobby Acheampong would say about people who live in Ghana if he finds himself living in, say, United States. Is he legitimizing the deploring attitude of some members of the Ghanaian Diaspora towards Ghanaians at home? Mr. Acheampong must know that even if he finds his gum tasteless, that is where he licks everyday.

Furthermore, these unguarded statements raise a few interesting questions about the individual who is second in decision-making at the Tourism Ministry. Kumasi is the second largest city in Ghana, and Ashanti region is the most populous. These should factor prominently in the Tourism Ministry's promotion of tourism in Ghana as a whole. Thus going by these comments by the Deputy Minister of Tourism, are we to conclude that when he is in a position to tout tourism hot spots in Ghana, he would leave out Kumasi and Ashanti Region? Certainly, one would not encourage foreigners to visit a place about which one thought so lowly.

These are yet additional reasons why President Mills must remove Kobby Acheampong from his post as Deputy Tourism Minister. Kumasi and Ashanti Region constitute 17.3% of Ghana's population. Residents there would not want to take the chance that Kobby Acheampong's impression about them would not adversely impact decisions made at the Tourism Ministry regarding Kumasi and Ashanti Region's fortunes.

Finally, the politics of insults may be reaching a point where it can potentially set the stage for civil conflict. Traditionally physical altercations are almost always preceded by shouting matches. Ghana is in a shouting match with herself at the moment, and we must all tone it down or risk throwing away perhaps the one attribute that sets us apart from our brothers and sister on the continent – a country so far devoid of civil conflict. Democracy is about competition of ideas not who can shout the loudest or better at launching insults. TONE IT DOWN PEOPLE.

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