Harruna Attah and normalization of ethnocentricity

Harruna Attah Harruna Attah

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 Source: Osei, Nana Yaw

By Nana Yaw Osei

Mr. Harruna Attah is a journalist of no mean repute in Ghana. I read with stark disappointment about Mr Attah’s attempt to justify the unsavory ethnic-centered statement attributed to the president of the republic of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama. “Sometimes I feel sad when I see some of our Northern brothers running around and also doing this (the change sign), they will use you and dump you,” Mr. Mahama told a rally in Lawra in the Upper West region, where he is currently campaigning ahead of the December 7, polls” (Source:atinkafmonline, November 19, 2016, http://www.atinkaonline.com/1.10201522 ).

Mr. Harruna Attah justifies the foregoing unfortunate statement of Mr. Mahama by writing that Nana Addo once told him non-Akan would not lead New Patriotic Party (NPP). Upon receiving condemnation from the public, Mr Attah intransigently asserted “Did I have that encounter with Nana Akufo Addo and did he tell me that the NPP was not ready to cede its “Akan Leadership”? Yes I stand by every single word in the original document. Since this is an issue of integrity, honor and credibility, it is up to Mr. Akufo-Addo to speak directly on the issue and not through a spokesperson. I believe there is something called perjury. I am ready to go through that process. The others I mentioned too can avail themselves of the process. That is all I can say for now” (Source: ghnanaweb.com, November 28, 2016).

Ethnocentricity is evil in our national discourse and no amount of justification could make it attractive. Edmund Burke was right when he asserted that “when bad men combine, the good must associate: else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Granted that Nana Addo once told Mr. Attah that non-Akans cannot lead New Patriotic Party (NPP), he said it only to Mr. Attah not to all Ghanaians. NPP is a democratic party which thrives on a constitution and the argument that the Late Vice president Aliu Mahama was challenged because he was from the northern region of Ghana is bereft of merit. It is logically untenable because vice presidency is not an automatic heir apparent to any vacant presidency in democracy. Hurana Attah and President Mahama cannot sacrifice Ghana’s interethnic integration and peaceful co-existence on unholy altars of their own ethnocentric convenience.

Historically, ethnicity ushered Ghana’s independence in an ephemeral period of euphoria. Shortly after, independence in 1957, the people of southern Togoland engaged in open rebellions and even boycotted the independence celebration. Nkrumah-led government was compelled to send soldiers and police into that area which culminated in the death of three individuals at Kpando. In Accra, many inhabitants, predominantly local Gas, increasingly became disenchanted with Nkrumah’s government on the grounds that the autochthonous (native) Gas had been sidelined in terms of public housing and jobs in favor of the Akans.

In July, 1957, the growing Ga discontent became a force to reckon with as a political movement known as the Ga “Shifimo kpee” emerged. In an unsuccessful attempt to frustrate the movement, Nkrumah’s government suspended the Accra Town council. The Kumasi municipal council controlled by the National Liberation Movement (NLM) was equally suspended.

Nkrumah envisaged that local opposition predominantly formed on ethnic lines could be very pernicious to the existence of his Convention People’s Party (CPP) as well as national cohesion and interethnic bridging. This motivated government to introduce Ghana Nationality and Citizenship Bill. The legislation empowered the minister of interior the right to determine who was a citizen without subject to appeal in the country’s court. After July 1957, Nkrumah passed the Deportation Act and used the legislation to deport some leading Lebanese and Syrians who expressed political opposition to CPP government. The Deportation Act was used to deport Bankole Timothy, who was from Sierra Leone and the then deputy editor of Daily Graphic. His crime was when he was curious to know why Ghana’s new currency had Nkrumah’s head instead of the queen. He also questioned why Nkrumah had his effigy erected in Accra.

In December 1957, the CPP government passed the Avoidance of Discrimination Act, which prohibited the existence of political parties on regional, tribal, or religious lines. This was a calculated attempt to frustrate the opposition parties which hitherto came together to form United Party (UP). It was equally meant to preserve the embryonic independence of Ghana. The political history of Ghana reveals unpleasant testimonies on ethnicity. We are all Ghanaians. Mr. Harruna Attah must stop justifying actions that threaten national integration.

Mr. Harruna Attah claimed he was not happy about the perceived Akan leadership of the NPP. Is he now happy about the president inciting the northerners to engage in tribal voting? Did he really dislike National Democratic Congress (NDC) or was it because President Rawlings (My own papa J) is from Volta Region? I think if truly Nana Addo really told Mr. Attah that Akans will continue to lead NPP against his (Attah’s) convictions that should rather goad him to condemn the obnoxious statement of Mr. Mahama. Justifying Mr. Mahama’s statement makes Mr Harruna Attah more ethnocentric than Nana Addo and almost invariably like a wicked monarch who always ask for immortality while his or her main preoccupation had been anything but the love for human life. Eschew ethnocentricity now AMBASSADOR HARRUNA ATTAH! God bless our homeland Ghana and help us to resist oppressors rule. “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” (Socrates)

Nana Yaw Osei (Padigo), USA

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Columnist: Osei, Nana Yaw