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30.09.2017 Feature Article

The Role the Media Play in Fuelling Tribalism in Ghana

The Role the Media Play in Fuelling Tribalism in Ghana
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The most dengerous challenge in the course of a peoples' destiny is not the calamities they encounter in the journey of their fate, it is rather the lack of clear knowledge of where they are heading. If they know where they are going, then they will be prepared for all eventualities. But if not, then the road will lead them to where it is going. Is the Ghanaian clearly aware of where the country is heading?

Tribalism, ethnocentrism and religious psychophancy are gaining prominence in the daily polity of Ghana. In fact, tribalism is basically defining the direction of life of the average Ghanaian and worse still, the influence this is having on the Ghanaian democratic evolution, is incredibly alarming, as the Ghanaian is confusing ethnotribal nationalism with patriotism.

It is no more strange to some of us, who are fully aware of the ethnotribal danger drowning up the helpless Ghanaian down the abyss of ignorance, given how the proponent of tribalism and ethnocentrism have succeeded in misleading the Ghanaian into accepting the attributes of these socio-cultural cancers, as the culture and traditions of Ghana. The Ghanaian has become so in-tuned with the inconveniences associated with the ills of tribalism to the extent of being indifferent to whatever horror he or she is subjected to, under the guise of culture and traditional conformity. In fact, the Ghanaian is evolving into a strange form of human species who exist by the unimaginable odds, confused for one's culture and tradition. How can the feudal life of landlords of masters and slaves, be the culture and tradition of any modern person?

It is also fair to add that the Ghanaian intellectuals and policy makers, who could not hold on in defence of the values real of Ghana but gave in to the weight of ethnotribal minded politicians, compromising the core principles of their social responsibilities, share in the destruction of the Ghanaian modern fate. In short, the intellectuals traded their principles in favour of unearned privileges from these ethnotribal politicians, to fail the Ghanaian. So our intellectuals and supposedly policy makers, connived in failing to enlighten the Ghanaian, to see the difference between the peculiar values of the over 50 unique indigenous nations, with which the country Ghana was form and the value of the new modern state of Ghana that emerged out of the formation. Instead of patriotism, Ghanaians are thorn in their various nationalistic loyalties to their respective ethnotribal nations. These are all at the expense of patriotism to the state of Ghana.

The average Ghanaian is confuse on which of the laws to obey when faced with the laws of his or her ethnotribal nation, against the laws of the state of Ghana. What the poor Ghanaian is experiencing in today's Ghana, with respect to ethnotribal group affinity, is the same as what an extremely indoctrinated religious fanatic experiences when face with a choice between loyalty to his or her state of Ghana as a country, and loyalty to their religious group faith. In the case of Ghana, the citizen has his or her respective ethno tribal affinity, in addition to the mushrooming religious sects.

Like the topic of this article try to suggest, the media is a critical factor in the socio-cultural transformation of a people, where the public or the individual opinion carries a weight. The media out-reach serves as a medium of information transmission. So given such critical role, everyone of us depends on these information from the media, to form our opinion and shape our character. Since our opinion and character define our actions that influence the actions of others, the media cannot be a thing to toy with in the course of our country's evolution.

In brooding over why the Ghanaian is evolving retrogressively and realising that every facet of the state is suffering a form of chronic deformity, it becomes obvious that the Ghanaian human factor is malfunctioning. Since this human factor is critical to the development of any people and their environment, with the Ghanaian media being the vehicle of information de emanation not being an exception to this rule, I realise that the Ghanaian media is not helpful or unconscious of how it is destroying the future of the Ghanaian. I also noticed a positive correlation in the challenging attitude of the population of Ghana and the deranged nature of the Ghanaian media. It is strange that these defective attributes of Ghanaian media, freely allow to destroy a whole population, are totally disallow by the media regulators in the UK and other European countries.

I know Ghana was not like what currently pertains until the later days of Ex President Jerry John Rawlings era, when we embarked on our final transition from military rule to civilian democratic governance. Of course deregulating the media is essential to freedom of expression which is one of the corner stone of democary. Thus, deregulating the Ghanaian media for individuals and groups to freely associate and express themselves as enshrine in our 1992 Constitution, is not out of place.

The deregulation and the spirit of clause of our constitutional provision was not intended to destroy us, but to allow us the opportunity to being better Ghanaians. It is to allow us explore our individual and collective potentials, in the service of our only nation Ghana. The deregulation seek us to explore possibilities, as our imagination can allow us to, without compromising the core value of our single Ghanaian state. Well, whatever we have become, is subject to opinion as some minds will only see the positive gains made by their ethnotribal and religious groups, and turn blind eye to the causes of the over whelming negatives.

It is fair to add that unlike the UK media, the langauge of communicating information to Ghanaian by the state media, has never been limited to the officialy English language of Ghana. Thus, several langauges of the indigenous nations from which Ghana emerged, were use, along with our official English language. In fact, these languages were employ as supplementary in addressing the challenges associated with the large illiterate population, whom we can not afford to leave behind, while the English language remain the ultimate. We were therefore hoping, we will eventually attain a status of a country with English language and culture being our only official way of life, while any other will be out of the indivudal's choice in Ghana.

The difference between the prederegulation and post-deregulation era is, decent Ghanaians who choose to have nothing to do with ethno tribal and religious affiliations, and used to live as free people, are now experiencing all forms of discriminations under the threats of ethnotribal and religous open media attack. The deregulation has allowed ethnotribal and religious establishments to apply for license to open media houses, like anyone else. The irony is, the freedom given to our fellow Ghanaians is now becoming a medium of attacking and intimidate other Ghanaians into being members in one form of a group or the other. These establishments use all forms of dishonest means to falsify impressions that attack the psyche of free Ghanaians, coercing citizens into submission to the ill intents of the nefferous self acclaimed holy groups.

Deregulation of any institution of the state does not mean the deregulated body must not be regulated or be above the law. This simply means, others who were excluded from the activities, will be allow to participate but regulated by the law. In most cases, deregulation involve an area of monopoly that the state pass a law to relax. Our deregulation mechanism in Ghana suffers due to the failure of our laws to sustain a form of control. So instead of a deregulated but regulated media era in Ghana, we end up with religious or ethnotribal groups applying for licence to run their media houses that engage in activities which compromise the freedom of the poor Ghanaian. We then ended up with hooligans in sacred clothing, than decent Ghanaians acting in a civil manner. We expected them to be telorant and respectful to all Ghanaians. We never knew that the freedom we gave these individuals would embolden them into highly intolerant ethnotribal and religious fanatic, who will be fighting themselves and any other individual or group they feel discomfort with. So while the regulators are asleep or cowed by these establishments, the Ghanaian is left with no choice but to live daily in fear, as these establishments promote nothing but fear and horror, as tool of controlling the hearts and minds of decent citizens of Ghana.

The reality is, ethnotribal based media houses have taken over the air waves of Ghana, to engage in all sorts of unguarded ethnocentric warfare that was supposed to have been ended when the British conquered all the indigenous waring nations of the pre Gold Coast era, to form the British Gold Coast and establish the one government of Ghana. All the nations of Ghana and particularly the smaller ones, are actively rallying around their members and conscripting any vulnerable person, to hold on to their values, at the expense of the values of the state of Ghana. We are now eclipsing into an era in the annals of Ghana when the value of an indigenous dominant ethnotribal group is now replacing the value of the state of Ghana. We have the larger groups swallowing up all the rest and the religion of the dominant group is also becoming the religion of the state of Ghana. These media houses are also using religious platforms to advance their agenda in total disregard to the position of the weaken state. The media is actively behind all form of ethnotribal and religious groups marginalisation and discrimination, daily experience by the poor Ghanaian, in total disregard to the position of the constitution of Ghana.

We are now back sliding to the stone age when our lives were not only dark but bleak, while the rest of the human race are advancing in technology to make Mars home to man. We even have decent politicians like former education minister, Professor Nana Opoku Agyeman and the current MP for Korle Klottey constituency, Ms. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings, advocating for the use of indigenous language, in place of the official English, to teach our children in schools.

We saw our ex president and head of state, President John Dramani Mahama meekly kneeling before quark pastors for prayers, only to end up losing election. Most of us could not believe our eyes when we saw our president Nana Addo Danquah prostrating to tribal chiefs and Imams, unaware of promoting ethnotribalim and religious fanatism, in desperation for votes to be the president of modern day Ghana.

The tragedy is, our media is very supportive of these ethnotribal and religious wars. Our citizens of Ghana are now at the mercy of these Ethnotribal and religious factions who are free to do anything with the helpless Ghanaian, as the state is clearly hopeless. We all recalled the story of Obinim and the children he publicly abuse. As far as we are concern, Obinim still run his media house like all the others who are faking up miracles, while the state look on dumb. Obinim and his likes, walk freely about, setting example to other up and coming abusers that it is alright to do worse things to the Ghanaian and get away with it, as long as the act is done in the name of God for the people to mistake the devil for a man of God.

It is just painful that the evolutionary trend of the world is so revolutionary. Human societies have migrated from the era when cultures as distinct communities, live in relative isolation and therefore interact less. to a new world order when global cultures are too close and interconnected, for anyone to be left behind. So finding our selves as a state, shackle with the challenges of modernisation in a world that has no mercy for those who are yet to wain themselves of their infantile nature, is a problem. We never knew that we shall find ourselves feuding and competing for our state's human and material resources on ethnotribal and religious lines. We thought that died with our past as we look up to a United people of a new nation called Ghana.

Alas! Here we are with devil ruling us all again. But, must there be anytime best for a people to empower themselves in the course of their destiny? Why must a people be slaves under a dictator with the pretence of developing them into knowing right and wrong, enough to allow them the freedom of individual and collective self determination? Since such time does not exist as we learnt from our experience of Libya, and know that this is not within the power of any individual to decide when it is in the best interest of a people to individually shape the course of their fate, Ghana cannot be said to make the wrong choice. It is just sad to have some of our fellow Ghanaians to want to superimpose their ethno tribal hegemony over our country Ghana.

Perhaps our fellow compatriots are misunderstanding our tollerance for stupidity. It's time we make it very clear to such ill-minded persons that the state of Ghana has only one language and a culture. The language of Ghana is English and the culture is English, subject to our unique Ghanaian strand! The Ghanaian is not an exception to this fate as the United State of America share the same fate, which does not make any American lesser than a British. The English culture rather empowers all those who are genuine in its adoption and excel in all human endeavour. It as well fail those who adopt it half hearted.

The English language is compulsory to every Ghanaian citizen to learn and master, while any other language is a privilege or the choice of the individual. We are yet to have anyone in Ghana visiting a bank to fill his or her form in Arabic, Dagbani, Twi or French language and see whether such transaction will be honoured. We all know such document will not be accepted in any transaction in Ghana or use as evidence in any court within the jurisdiction of Ghana. Until such a time, the proponent of aimless ethno tribal hegemony must beaware of the slippery slope they are treading. No country in the world has ever embark on such dangerous journey to end up in peace. So we plead with our fellow Ghanaians not take us down that route.

Colleagues, there is no doubt we are in an era of hi-tech that works at relieving the individual citizen of the shackles of past practices that exist to serve the interest of a few, at the expense of the individual's right to self determination. We have no reasons to deny our citizens access to modern tools like the facebook, twitter, Internet radios, Internet TV, youtube, skyp, what's up and instrogram. It is just sad that instead of using these mediums to pool our common attention in tackling social cultural ills that could have escape us all, the misconception the ordinary Ghanaian has regarding the understanding of culture, make our citizen see these information either as means of entertainment or justifiable action in defence of animalism, mistaken for Ghanaian culture.

It is no doubt the uniqueness of our situation makes monitoring and control some of the Internet forums difficult, unlike the experiences in places like China and Brittain. As our state of Ghana try to exercise some control in these delicate area with our megre resources, we can not sustain turning blind eye to presenters on our national radio and TV stations, who are incapable of knowing the difference between Ghana and their ethnotribal cum religious interests. We feel very sick when we listen to individuals on GTV and radio channels, who are easily identifiable by their religious or tribal affiliations. I hold the strong view that no citizen of Ghana must be paying a mandatory TV License for anyone to promote their personal ethnotribal or religious agenda. Worse still is, when state employees of the stations engage in dressing, speaking and praying to their God, at the beginning of programs.

We have several state facilities like, the national anthem and pledge, among others, clearly express in our official langauge to sustain patroitism. It is time to make ethnocentrism and religious psychophancy a thing of the past on our state media.

Well, all those who have turn our national station into their religious and ethnotribal forum at the expense of the state, are on our records as evidence. We assure them to be looking forward to rmeeting us in court. You can always get in touch for a PDF copy of ECRA Mission.

Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
Chairman ECRA
(ECOWAS Citizens Right Advocates)
[email protected], 07737224787

Kofi Ali Abdul Yekin
Kofi Ali Abdul Yekin, © 2017

The author has 83 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: KofiAliAbdulYekin

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