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15.06.2005 General News

Appoint Minister for Ethnicity - Council of State Member


Accra, June 15, GNA - Nana Otuo Siriboe II, a Member of the Council of State, on Tuesday suggested the creation of a Ministerial Position for Ethnicity to forge unity among the various ethnic groups in Ghana. He also advocated the commissioning of a chair at one of the nation's universities for research into ethnic issues to adapt its positive sides towards national development aspirations.

Nana Siriboe, made the suggestion in answer to questions on the growing ethnocentrism in the country, after delivering a paper on "Ethnicity and National Reconciliation" on the second of a three-day forum on: "Reconciling the Nation" organised jointly by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in Accra.

Nana Siriboe, who is also the Juabehene and the Chairman of the Council of the Kumasi-based Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, observed that although inter-tribal marriages were on the increase it had not helped to defuse inter-tribal conflicts as expected because of weak foundations of integration and bonding of families of the spouses. Interspersing his answers with rich Akan proverbs, the Juabenhene underscored the need for unity among the more than 50 ethnic groups in the country, stressing the importance of living together without any need to dig for the origins of minority groups that had the tendency to fuel ethnic sentiments.

He said the strict applications to the policy of not disclosing the origins of one another had forged social cohesion and helped in preventing social upheavals in his traditional area, where he said he also involved opinion heads of different ethnic groups to take part in some important meetings and decisions that affected the growth and well-being of the area.

He spoke of the common values shared by the ethnic groups, and called on Ghanaians not to allow individuals or groups of persons to use selfish values to put the citizenry asunder.

"There must be viable efforts to reconcile the ethnic groups", Nana Siriboe said.

He noted that one of the guarantees to reconciling ethnic groupings was to build on ethnic tolerance, which he said formed the foundation of the nation, stating that the institution of chieftaincy should be a prime mover to consciously build inter-ethnic-bridges for national reconciliation.

He called for vertical structures that would reflect ethnic balance in political appointments.

Professor Reginald Amonoo, Fellow of the Academy, who chaired the forum, noted that Ghanaians had, more of the things that would unite rather than divided them.

He said Ghana was an artificial country, with more then 50 groups of languages and culture but unified by education, judicial system, and parliamentary democracy. He called for tolerance, stating: "We are all bothers, and our mother is Ghana."

In attendance at the lecture were the President of the GAAS, Nana (Dr) S. K. B. Asante, Chiefs, University Dons, Members of the Council of State and representatives of the country's development partners. The GAAS and the FES started the forum in 1992 to promote knowledge and social justice.