Ghanaians who elect leaders based on tribalism become victims of their own ignorance

Happy Ghanaians File photo

Fri, 20 Jan 2023 Source: Joel Savage

Those who are knowledgeable about human evolution should not be surprised by the idea that humans are fundamentally tribal. Small groups of our ancestors spent most of their evolutionary history in Africa and other parts of the world, vying with other groups and species for scarce resources and lands.

The tribal rivalry has so been ingrained in us. However, tribalism in politics has the potential to be extremely harmful to any society for several reasons.

Modern society is very divided, for political, economic, religious, and other reasons. People are sinking deeper into the cycle of outrage, distrust, and blame since tribalism in politics is a phenomenon most widespread in sub-Saharan Africa.

It is not an exaggeration that tribalism is part of Ghana’s artificially created poverty because many appointed politicians are not qualified for the job and more importantly since they intend to create wealth, rather than serve the people, poor leadership is experienced.

When I was a young lad in school, even if what other people stated about the Ewes from Ghana made little sense, I did believe many of these stories. I was told that Ewes are never Christians and that even those that are Christians, still keep idols under their beds. I was genuinely terrified of any Ewe.

I was told they were the cruelest tribe in Ghana that never showed mercy and that if you dared to offend them, they had the power to murder you because they used black magic.

I made every effort to avoid conflict with an Ewe person despite my skewed perception of them, but one day something happened that made me understand that people are spreading false information about Ewes. Every morning, before leaving for school in the neighborhood of Soko, a suburb of Accra, where I was raised, I use my catapult to seek birds.

An Ewe man named Mr. Dogbe, who has been observing me every day, gave me the nickname "Hunter."

I even got my first ball from him, and he became my best friend.

K. A. Gbedemah, former minister of finance in Kwame Nkrumah’s regime and the leader of the National Alliance of Liberals, was the target of the same tribalism and prejudice, and Kofi Abrefa Busia's Progress Party won the elections in that particular year.

Tribal bigotry has long been a major factor in Ghana, which has slowed down national growth. However, no one can persuade tribal bigots to change their views because they are like junkies; no rehabilitation facility can help them.

When I initially went to Europe in the late 1980s and couldn’t find my way because of cultural differences, an Ewe man gave me a place to stay and taught me how to get by without getting into any difficulty or committing any crimes. It gives me great pride to refer to him as Mr. Mathias Ametepey.

No other Ghanaian, not even members of my Fante clan, had ever done for me what he did, yet some Ghanaians continue to treat Ewes and Northerners with indifference as if they are not human.

Even though Ghana has abundant natural resources, such as gold, diamonds, bauxite, manganese, oil, and other valuable agricultural products, the country is far behind in development because the people elect their leaders based on tribalism.

In any country where this issue exists, the people suffer as a result of their ignorance. If this current president hadn't been elected, Ghana would have advanced far without any significant economic or political crises by this point.

People find this intolerable, but I'll say it nonetheless because it's the truth. The main causes of our country's downfall are tribalism, incompetence, and persistent corruption.

The people in Ghana's northern region are very clever, but because they don't receive a fair share of state monies to develop the area, they are insulted and called all kinds of slurs. Despite this, we are all Ghanaians.

Tribalism is also visible on the Internet, a societally pervasive medium where individuals are segregated into groups around particular issues and websites or who support particular bloggers, as is plain to see from the outside. Neotribalism is a term used to describe this kind of tribalism, which has no limits.

I'm occasionally astonished by what anti-NDC writers wrote about John Mahama when Ghana was much better, but they won't even try to mention the destruction caused by Akufo Addo in Ghana today. It's sad but I understand, they have the common incurable syndrome called 'tribalism.'

It reveals the type of people we have in Ghana who wouldn't even care if the nation submerged beneath the water as long as their preferred tribe leader is in charge. However, I'm delighted to see Ghana changing rapidly because many people have come to see their errors. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done, and now both human and child welfare are in jeopardy.

Despite this, we still get ignorant, dishonest individuals who come and tell Ghanaians that the NPP will end the eighth cycle and that they should instead give their incompetence and corruption a break because the suffering masses can’t take it any longer.

Columnist: Joel Savage