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Politics | Dec 13, 2004

ETHNIC VOTING: Ashanti is guilty, not fanti

Lens

Lens -- A systematic attempt has been made over the last 12 years to create the impression that the people of the Volta Region are guilty of voting en bloc for the National Democratic Congress just because the founder of the NDC is an Ewe. The assumption therefore being that the people of the Volta region are all Ewes. What a fallacy.

Yet, since 1992, when Ghana returned to multi-party democracy, many of these clearly uninformed analysts have been all over the place castigating the people of the Volta Region for voting massively for the NDC. These analysts have not even bothered to verify the ethnic composition of the Volta Region.

They do not for instance understand that there are many different tribes and ethnic groups that have lived, and continue to live, in the Volta region for over a hundred years.

The people of Kpetoe are Ga-Adangbes and not Ewes; the Buem people are not Ewes. The Lolobis are not Ewes. The Nkonyas are not ewes. The Bowris also in the Biakoye constituency are not Ewes; the Tapas are not Ewes; the Akpossor Kubis are not Ewes; the people of Worawora are Akans and not ewes; the Kotokolis that can be found in great numbers in Kadjebi are not Ewes.

The motley of ethnic groups like the Komkombas, Nawuris etc who are all over Nkwanta and even Kete-Krachi are not Ewes.

In the light of the above, what do these people really mean when they state that the Volta region is voting along ethnic lines? This is a region in which not just the Ewes, who are the majority, but all the so many other tribes are voting along the same line.

But the opposite is the case in the Ashanti region. In this region, virtually all the non-natives vote contrary to the voting pattern of the native Ashantis. It is said that the NDC has always won some seats in the Ashanti region as well as at least some 30% of the popular vote in that region. But who are those who vote for the NDC in Ashanti?

The statistics show that in all the places that the NDC wins votes in that region, there are large settler communities. The NDC has always been largely supported by the settlers in Ashanti region, and not the natives.

So while the NPP is rejected en bloc by the Ewes and all other tribes in the Volta, the NDC is embraced by all the non-natives in Ashanti and rejected by only the Ashantis. Could that be an indication of the great bond of affection and understanding that exists among the diverse tribes in the Volta and conversely the antagonism that exists among those in the Ashanti region?

The evidence then shows that the region that can truly be said to be voting along tribal lines is the Ashanti region and not the Volta Region.

In 1992 and 1996, then candidate Rawlings won in all the other regions except in the Ashanti Region. He had the massive support of the Gas, the Adangbes, the Fantis, the Nzemas, the Brongs, the Ahafos, the Krobos, the many diverse tribes in the Northern, Upper East and Upper west regions, in addition to the many tribes in the Volta region. He also had the support of the many settler tribes in the Ashanti region. The only tribe that voted en bloc against him were the Ashantis even though in terms of infrastructural development, the Ashanti region benefited the most during the Rawlings era.

Some spurious argument have been made that the Ashantis have always been opposed to military and dictatorial regimes. That is a blatant lie. Why did they not oppose the Afrifa-led NLC regime? Why did they not find anything wrong with the systematic attempt made by the NLC/PP regimes to virtually kill the CPP, castrate the NAL and in the process create a quasi-one-party rule in Ghana?

It has been argued that the people of Ashanti even showed their aversion to dictators by opposing their own tribesman, Kutu Acheampong's NRC/SMC1. That is another deliberate lie. The only reason Acheampong faced stiff opposition in the Ashanti region was because he overthrew the Danquah-Busiah party, the Progress Party (PP) that enjoyed massive support in the Ashanti region, certainly not because of some sentimental antipathy to dictatorial regimes.

And is it not intriguing that the parts of Greater Accra that the NPP draws most of its votes are communities dominated by the Twi-speaking people? Why don't they win in the less cosmopolitan areas like Ada or Ningo?

So, obviously, the talk that the people of the Volta region vote along ethnic lines is one huge lie designed to keep discerning minds from seeing those who are truly guilty of voting along tribal lines in Ghana.

The people of the Volta region should be left in peace, and if these quack analysts are really interested in finding out the region that votes en masse for a particular party, they should address themselves to the voting pattern of the Ashanti region for the NPP.

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