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29.12.2003 General News

Editorial: What Is Stoking Ethnic Superiority Claims?

By Gye Nyame Concord
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ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government issued a statement deploring the recent Ghanaian press war extolling the antediluvian superiority of one ethnic group over others in the country.

Issued by Information Minister Nana Akomea, the statement recalled a publication in The Ghanaian Chronicle that pontificated on the alleged past invincibility of the Okyehene and Akyems over the Asantehene and the Ashantis; this was followed by a counter in the Daily Graphic emphasizing the pre-eminence of the Asantehene and the Ashantis over the Akyems; subsequently another counter position on Ghanaian ethnic history saw the Ga-Dangbe being superior to the Ashantis whom they defeated in war.

The government statement, rightly, urged all to desist from promoting parochial, sectoral interest at the expense of the national unity as Ghanaians.

It said in part; “It is rather how we as a nation, are able to weave group greatness into ncollective greatness and be inspired by the feeling of collective greatness that can make us maximize the benefit… of cohesion and unity of purpose for our nation growth”

The Gye Nyame CONCORD shares in these sentiments and do hope that the idle and parasitic extremists among the various ethnic groups in the country would heed the admonition and sheath their rusty ethnic swords and give peace a chance.

However, that is where our approval ends. Our elders say that the raffia does not cry until it is touched by third party. So it time to pose a hard nosed question to which we expect the government to proffer an answer.

Why have our ethnic sentiments which Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah effectively buried, and which remained so buried during the long years of military interregnum and eight years of NDC rule, suddenly surfaced, less than three years after the NPP assumed the reigns of power.

Gye Nyame Concord would urge President John Agyekum Kufuor and his think-tank to closely examine their acts of commission and omission in the last 34 months and see where they may have inadvently or unconsciously seemed to promote one ethnic group over and above others, justifiably or not. This examination should encompass the World Bank arrangement with traditional institutions and the recent Ghana Expo 2003 in London.

We note the explanation that the World Bank $5 million grant was initiated by Dr. Jerry John Rawlings and his NDC. But the NPP government did not display the sensitivity to the environment that it should have. Mischief makers deliberated cultivate short memories so that they can rationalize their mischiefs away, and the NPP, living up to the image of the elephants, blundered into their path.

On Ghana Expo, one gets the suggestion it was planned to give the impression that there is only one pre-eminent traditional institution in the country. That is debatable, but even if that were the intention, there is a better way of achieving it.

This would have been through an open invitation to all traditional institution to participate. Given the financial outlay needed, very few would have taken the bait, anyway.

But a number would have gone. It would then have been left to the international community for whom the Expo was organized, to draw its own conclusion through the exhibition that each traditional institution would put up, as to which of them is pre-eminent. And that would have been final.

The problem with ethnic extremist is that they cannot see beyond their puny self-conceited noses and always shoot themselves in the foot.

The Gye Nyame CONCORD believes, however, that not much harm has been done given the timeless nature of the government statement.

The next step for the government, if the statement is not insincere, is to closely monitor its intended actions for ethnic overtones and take democratic steps to pre-empt their being seized upon by ethnic trouble makers Actions, it said, speak louder than words. And so let be with our rulers.

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