Anti-Ashanti Feeling must Stop – A rejoinder

Tue, 16 Dec 2003 Source: Dr. Rafak R. Nartey

I read with great distress Lawyer Kwame Arhin’s article “anti-Ashanti feeling must stop” that appeared on the Ghanaweb today. I haven’t written an article to our website in a while because of a project that I’m currently working on, but this particular article deserves my rejoinder.

In his article, Lawyer Kwame Arhin referred to the “Intransigent Gas” to make his case why tribalism and jingoistic feeling among certain tribes in the country must cease now.

Much as he made a very constructive case for the sake of unity in the country, Lawyer Arhin missed some important points in his attempt to wrongly dispute history, and also elevate the status of the Ashantis with his calls for “respect for authority”.

First, what Lawyer Arhin must be made to know is that the Asantehene’s position in Ghana is venerable without any doubt, but he’s only the king of the Ashanti people and not the other tribes of Ghana. Therefore, he must not be craftily presented as ruling the entire tribes that make up the people of Ghana to create unnecessary problems for his own people.

Secondly, Lawyer Arhin must also be aware that it’s not only the Gas that feel “besiege” by the Ashanti hegemony in the country but other tribes as well, as was demonstrated by the ads in the daily newspaper touting the Akyem’s superiority over the Ashantis.

Thirdly, rather than lecturing other tribes in Ghana about the importance of respecting authority, Lawyer Kwame Arhin must do some soul-searching to determine the genesis of this so-called anti-Ashanti feeling in the country these days.

Imagine that the Gas invaded the Ashanti Kingdom, bought out their lands, married their daughters, refused to learn their culture and language, referred to them as “animals”, and even went on the radio and national television to tout their superiority over the Ashantis; do you think there will be peace in Ghana?

Two years ago, I wrote an article about the Foreign Minister of the country traveling to Toronto, Canada to speak Twi to his Ghanaian audience. Some people wrote a rejoinder to insult me; even questioning my education, and insinuating that I had bought my degrees in America. But this is exactly the message I was trying to convey, by cautioning our honorable leaders to exercise good judgment when it came to portraying themselves in the country as well as to the outside world.

There have been several wars in Africa over tribal issues, of which the current Ivorian impasse is a prime example. So long as other tribes in Ghana feel that the Ashantis control the wealth as well as the authority of the country, and are not acting responsibly, they’ll be forced to assume a “besiege” mentality, which does not bode well for anybody.

Therefore, instead of making references to contemporary historians to woefully dispute what is known for many years to many Ghanaians, Lawyer Kwame Arhin should convene an assembly of both the Asante Congress and the Union of Concerned Asante Lawyers, to discuss ways of making every Ghanaian citizen feel safe and secured under the “prevailing” Ashanti domination, because it’s only by doing so would the current anti-Ashanti feeling that’s all over the country stop.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.
Columnist: Dr. Rafak R. Nartey