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02.10.2004 General News

The Ethnic Agenda Continues As Asantehene Storms Atlanta

By Lens

Ever since the NPP assumed the reins of government, there has been no hiding the fact that one of the top items on their agenda, has been what many observers have termed "The Ashanti-nisation" of Ghana.

It would seem that the Asantehene has virtually now assumed the role of the Monarch of Ghana while President Kufuor acts as the leader of Government Business.

World Bank loans/grants are contracted for him and his subjects while virtually every visiting dignitary must as a matter of "protocol" go and greet the him after first visiting the castle to greet the president.

Below is a letter by a Ghanaian resident in the USA concerning the recent Ghana Expo that took place in Atlanta. In it he expressed his disgust at the ethnic agenda the NPP government is pursuing with what would appear to be the full blessings of the Asantehene.

"Well I was a bit upset by the so-called Ghana Expo that was held here over the past weekend. I never intended to go but I had two football tickets so I decided to go watch a college football game in downtown Atlanta. The venue for the football game is only a stone throw from where the so-called Ghana Expo was being held.

Well at half time, guess who comes walking onto the field. The Asantehene and his entourage and the announcer introduces him as the king of the Ashanti Kingdom. A King of a kingdom? I didn't think we still had a kingdom within Ghana and why only the Asantehene in attendance? It's obvious that the other paramount chiefs were not invited and or even probably considered as far as this Ashanti Expo is concerned. Yep it was an Ashanti expo and I for one I am glad I didn't go.

I was there again yesterday for another football game and from what the announcer said on Saturday, the king was sitting in durbar on Sunday and folks were being invited to come and take pictures. They had his framed picture on sale for $20, I wonder who gets all the revenue. Looking at all the limousines parked outside I wonder who was footing the bill for moving the entourage around?

It's so obvious that the president is sidelining everyone else once again. What a missed opportunity to unite the country. Once again we see a great divide simply because our so-called intellectual leaders are doing it again.

It's such a common sentiment here among a few folks that I talked to and it's really such a sad thing to see. To conduct business under the umbrella of Ghana and then call it a kingdom is illegal. I think these actions can be actually challenged in court but then again the issue still remains that the folks at the top are the ones who allow such abuse.

It's wrong, wrong, wrong! The Ashantis are no better than anyone else in Ghana and what we need is united Ghana not some misrepresentation of a kingdom that doesn't exist. At best he is a paramount chief and that's what he should be introduced as- the paramount chief of the Ashantis.

How the government officials would allow this and turn a deaf ear and then I read an article on the web for JAK about coming together and building a nation is mind-boggling. It's such a contradictory stand and people need to rethink this whole thing urgently.

There was a dinner for the Asantehene and it was for his fund; the cost was $500 a ticket. Where does this money go to and who is really accountable for it? Is it for an NGO or is just his own fund- fund for what? These are questions that need to be answered. Where is the money going and what government agency is checking to make sure that the funds are not being used by the kingdom? I usually don't get excited about politics back home but this really hit me the wrong way and I am not in the least amused"

The above letter aptly reflects the mood and the unexpressed feelings of lots of Ghanaians who are sick to the core with the nauseating and unwise Ashanti agenda that is being heedlessly pursued by the Kufuor clique to the neglect of nation building and national cohesion. But does Mr Kufuor ever listen?

TALKING REALITY

Desmond Darko

OF EHNOCENTRISM AND RELIGIOUS POLITICS

The catchphrase of most people these days is that, democracy has come to stay in Ghana. But to be able to derive the best from it, we must be seen to be working assiduously towards its sustenance. This largely depends on the level of commitment all the stakeholders, especially political parties show in this regard. Unfortunately, the contrary prevails where the NPP is concerned.

The politics of ethnocentrism and of religion are two known enemies to any democracy. Ethnic politics is dangerous and the tragic experiences of Rwanda and Burundi are cases that readily come to mind.

Religious politics on the other hand has its own nasty story to tell with the examples of the frequent religious conflicts in Nigeria and elsewhere to show. One can therefore imagine the quantum of damage to be expected if this canker is extended onto the national arena.

Unfortunately, the NPP since 1992 has engaged in this dangerous kind of politicking. The Rawlings administration was branded an Ewe dominated government and the Ghanaian electorate was asked to vote against the NDC on that basis. Even now, the press secretary of the NPP, Kwadjo Afari, calls the NDC a Volta party.

But during the primaries of the NPP towards the up coming elections, the party's General Secretary, Mr. Dan Botwe stated that, for strategic reasons, some constituencies in Greater Accra had been reserved for only Ga natives. The NPP's resort to ethnocentrism calling the practice "strategic" can only be described as unfortunate.

In the 2000 elections, the NPP decided to play a different but equally dangerous card - the religious card. The selection of Alhaji Aliu Mahama as President Kufuor's running mate became a major "religious song" of the NPP. Consequently, the Moslem population was impressed upon to reject the NDC.

Men live to be haunted by the evil that they commit. The religious card played by the NPP in 2000 had a boomerang effect on the party this year. President Kufuor was faced with the difficult decision to replace the vice president with a non Moslem as his running mate, but could not eat back his own words. He therefore had to reluctantly retain Alhaji Aliu Mahama as his running mate for the 2004 elections. Perhaps, he took this decision with the hope that Prof. Mills would choose a non Moslem as his running mate only to have the shock of his life.

Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni's nomination as running mate to Prof. Mills has apparently thrown NPP's campaign out of gear. His nomination no doubts, has truncated the religious political game the NPP intended to play. Unlike the NPP, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni's choice as running mate for Prof. Mills is seen more as one based on competence rather than on religion.

There have been some comments from members of other opposition parties' including NDC to the effect that the NPP government is an Ashanti dominated one. The reality however, is that, what exist now is a family and nepotistic government. President Kufuor only uses the Ashanti flavour as a cover-up. It would be recalled that the people of Kumasi demonstrated against Mr. Kufuor's election as the flag bearer of the NPP in the 1996 elections.

A careful assessment of the various governments that this nation has had so far would single out the NPP government and its parent, the PP government, as the only ones that have resorted to playing this dangerous game at the expense of the unity of the Ghanaian people.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah set the pace by equitably distributing the resources of this nation without any ethnic or religious considerations. Ex-President Rawlings distinctively demonstrated that he is a Ghanaian first, before any tribal concerns. If the ex-president were self-centered, his home region, the Volta region, would have been among the most developed regions today. But the NDC's love for mother Ghana, not tribes or religions had kept him focused.

The ex-President is not a Moslem, but his government did for the Moslems what Napoleon could not do. That has been the order of the day in the NDC. The party has a national face and the concerns of any group, are treated as national problems, no wonder the NDC has seats in all regions of Ghana but NPP can boast of seats in only 8 out of the 10 regions.

Regional balance in political appointments is a must! However, it must be devoid of religious sentiments. The ideal thing to do in our party politics is the NDC example. We must endeavor to discard the dangerous phenomenon being pursued by the NPP from our body politics. Should we give it room to operate, we definitely will have ourselves to blame in the near future.

YOU ARE NOT A COWARD

Baba Jamal tells loud-mouthed Kennedy Agyapong.

The deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Baba Jamal told Kennedy Agyapong, on the "Kokrokoo" programme on Peace FM recently that he is not the man of steel and courage that he claims to be.

Baba said this in response to Kennedy Agyapong`s clanging noises on the program to the effect that if President Rawlings makes an attempt at making a coup again in this country, he will realise that there are men around who will equally face him.

Baba`s efforts to drive home the point that President Rawlings has no such intentions fell on the deaf ears of the foul talking member of parliament. Instead, Kennedy Agyapong, true to his rabid characteristic, continued to blow hot air.

This attracted an appropriate response from Baba who did not mince words in telling the loud-mouthed NPP MP, that he is not a man. Baba said if Kennedy Agyapong were a man, he would have stayed in this country in the heat of things like Kwesi Pratt and others did.

According to Baba, Kennedy cannot run away like a coward only to come back when the going becomes easy and start making all kinds of wild noises all over the place.

Interestingly, history is replete with the examples of cowardly individuals like Kennedy Agyapong, who invariably are the first to flee even at the sound of a whistle. As it is the case most of the time, empty barrels make the most noise, and Kennedy Agyapong seems to perfectly fit into this category.

It would be recalled that Mr Ato Awhoi not too long ago boldly stated on air that Kennedy Agyapong, inspite of all the noises he makes, was a notorious cocaine dealer. Kennedy Agyapong could not immediately deny this allegation by the former Energy Guru of the NDC. Mr Awhoi was emphatic on the program that he could prove his accusation completely and that Kennedy Agyapong knew fully well that he (Ato Awhoi) had the full facts in this issue.

Back to the Kennedy Agyapong's claims about coup attempts against the ruling NPP, Baba Jamal made it categorically clear that the NDC as a political party will not support any coup in this country.

AND ALIU MAHAMA GOOFED

The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama goofed badly during the delivery of his acceptance speech after President Kufuor confirmed him as his running mate for the 2004 elections, at the NPP delegates congress in Kumasi recently.

Right at the beginning of the incoherent speech, the vice president shockingly said, 'Four years ago, I was privileged to have been chosen as the presidential candidate of this party....." This as usual did not seem to have raised any eyebrows from the members of the NPP since they have gotten used to such goofs on the part of both Vice President and his boss.

However this shocking gaffe attracted a look of surprise from some members of the diplomatic corps that were present at the function.

Most will dismiss it as an oversight but for people who understand what in Psychology is referred to as a Freudian Slip, this was an unconscious indication of the impossible dreams being entertained by Aliu Mahama to become the presidential candidate of the NPP one day.

An NPP party insider, the Lens spoke to acknowledge that possibility and advised that Aliu Mahama should not even contemplate the idea because even the running mate given to him has only been done now not because of any merit on his part but for fear of a Muslim backlash that could rock Kufuor's second term ambitions.

Interestingly this goof is coming from a man the NPP would like the world to believe has undergone such massive transformation over the last four years. That transformation claimed by the NPP is yet to be seen because the Vice President has perennially continued to goof and make incoherent, inarticulate and incomprehensible speeches all over the place. Even the labour with which he reads prepared texts is an embarrassment to the high office he occupies.

The news therefore that his son, a student at the Kwame Nkrumah's University Of Science and Technology, is failing his exams abysmally, did not come as a shock to most people who have carefully followed the fortunes of Alhaji Aliu Mahama since he became the Vice President of Ghana. Like Father Like Son has become the familiar refrain in this issue.

It is an pen secret, known and believed by most Ghanaians that Alhaji Aliu Mahama just like his boss, Mr. Kufuor continues to be a man with no self confidence and but for NPP`s religio-ethnocentric politics could never have become the Vice president of this proud nation.

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