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Kufour’s Statement not Befitting an Ex-President: Mills too Lackadaisical

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 Source: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

On several occasions, some of us have had cause to warn that the tribal hate decibel is getting higher and higher. Ghana, a country that represents a rich diversity of tribes, is being pushed to the brink by some who see every act through tribal lens. Diversity, if managed properly, could be a huge asset that can nudge us forward. Unfortunately, our rich diversity is being used as a weapon by enemies both inside and outside the country. Some have turned themselves into tribal pit bulls, determined to ruin Ghana if they don’t get their way. An amalgam of tribes, existing as a country, is bound to have fault lines. Some nation wreckers continue to eerily pry, wedge and ossify these existing fault lines. All of us, with every sinew we can garner, must say no to tribal hate mongering.

The statements by Ken Agyepong may be a surprise to some but not me. There are many more that harbor such tribal animosity but will not dare to act out their primal tribal inclinations. If you read some of the comments appended to articles on Ghanaweb, you begin to understand the depraved and sick minds of these incurably tortured tribal hate mongers. As long as these sick individuals have protagonists, home and abroad, nourishing and championing their troglodytic and absolutely misinformed world views on tribe, they will continue to harbor hope, that, one day, other tribes could be brought to their knees.

I wrote here on Ghanaweb that Rwanda is not such a far cry from Ghana. It was this same clarion call by the Rwandan hate mongers that led to the barbaric slaughter of innocent women, children and men. It was an early morning hate filled yelp that induced one of the most satanic deeds in human history. That 1994 bone-chilling Hutu cry for sin follows the same pattern as Ken Agyapong’s call. Ken’s call, and the tangential events prompting him to meltdown, should serve as a stark reminder to all that all is not well with our country. Tribal hate and the desire to act out such sordid fantasies are very real. All those who take it lightly ought to carefully think again. In a pressure cooker like Ghana, it is not far-fetched to see individuals or groups, reaching to their primal instincts, premised on a false hope that, elimination of their enemies will bring much needed reprieve. However, in most instances, if they look closer, they will discover that their oppression and unending suffering comes from their own and the systems they support.

Leadership on all fronts and at all levels is sorely lacking in Ghana. I am talking here about past and present, as well as top and bottom leadership. The current state of tribal tension cannot be separated from leadership and the deliberate accentuation of tribe in our national arrangement. Instead of emphasizing nationality we do tribe. More importantly, the reaction of our so called leaders towards this unfortunate incident is appalling. Let me use two examples to make my case.

Ex-president Kufour, instead of calling for calm and condemning in no uncertain terms what Mr. Agyapong said as a first step, found it useful to worry about the charges leveled against the hate monger. Sledgehammer on my party member is all Kufour saw. What about the non-Akans who were supposed to be killed? Who would have saved them from Ken’s sledgehammer? While the severity of the charges may suggest overreach by the NDC, it should certainly not be the initial focus for Kufour. The ex-president should know, more than anyone else, that, the issue at stake is very serious. Inciting tribal bloodshed is pathetically heinous. Here you have an MP, God forgive us, calling for tribal bloodshed. Is that what responsible leaders do? If I may ask, what business does Ken Agyapong have being in government and leadership? He obviously does not have the temperament of a leader. Is this clearly not a case of a square peg in round hole? Very sad indeed! This is why we should totally keep bad leaders out of office.

Why should I or anyone else, have to convince Kufour that this issue is remarkably serious? Perhaps it is this same callous, cold-hearted, aloofness that marked Kufour’s actions on tribe when he was in office. There is no doubt in my mind that many of our leaders have contributed to this toxic tribal situation in Ghana. We are a nation at a tipping point. If we don’t take drastic steps to manage the tribal tensions in Ghana, we endanger our future gravely. So yes, nip it in the bud. For once, we have to fire a shot across the bow. Let all the hate mongers know that we will support actions, soft handed or heavy-handed, aimed at dealing with tribal hate. Enough! No more!

Now to Atta Mills! Silence sometimes is golden. However, the time for silence and remote control leadership is not now. President Mills must step up and take control of the situation in Ghana. Ken Agyapong and some of the president’s appointees may incite the violence but he, Atta Mills, will never be forgiven for not acting decisively to stem the tide of violence. He continues to make excuses and seem not to be in charge of the country. There are some in the NDC who have not learnt to shed their violent ways. We are in a democracy. While the temptation to meet fire with fire is always there, the ruling party has the responsibility to exercise restraint and control its renegades. Leadership is not about enjoying the perks and staying aloof. Leadership is about rising above the fray and restoring calm through deliberate action. The time to act and restore confidence is now. The time to send a stern message to all hate mongers is now. Mills must get off the couch and skip the complacency. Atta Mills must stop twiddling his fingers even as the tribal tension escalates. Use the bully pulpit Mr. President! Earn your keeps for once!

President Mills must take steps to rein in all NDC folks who continue to stir the pot of hate and retaliation. The ruling party must set a good example. Mills cannot sit back and trust our inept institutions to make all the right moves. The police force is a broken organization. It is ill-equipped and absolutely incompetent by all standards. The latter is not the making of the President. However, he has the responsibility to fix the force. That is just the way the force has been for a long time. I am quite frankly shocked that many will rely on the police. That organization has to be torn down and rebuilt. The ascendancy of corruption, mob lynching, armed robbery, lawlessness, lack of criminal prosecutions and many more ominous developments, point to the crippling state of our police force. I am really happy that the Deputy Communications Director of NPP agrees with me that the police force is broken. Even our police cells represent a disease replication and multiplication center. Too sad and bad that Buaben Asamoah had to find out the hard way. At least he lives to tell.

To other so-called leaders in the country! Now is the time to preach calm in whatever area or corner you lord over. Know that all Ghanaians will hold you responsible if our beautiful country is compromised because you did not do all you can to take the match away from the tinder box. Cooler heads must prevail. I am really proud of my fellow Ghanaians for not heeding to Ken Agyapong’s truculent, if not churlish, maneuver. He is a disgraced MP who should be censured and asked to resign. If he fails to resign, the NPP must kick him out. NPP, we will be watching! This should be a test case for NPP’s tolerance on the issue of tribal diversity. Ken should find another profession that fits his persona. There should be zero-tolerance for peddlers of tribal hate.

Hopefully, all of us can learn from this dangerous situation. This time around, we made it. We must glean all the lessons we can from this experience and make sure that we all work to avert similar tinder box situations, going forward. This event also must remind us that, the tribal unity effort started by Nkrumah is not complete yet. We have to keep working at it and indeed deal ruthlessly with any or all who try to mess with our union called mother Ghana. Viva Ghana!!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Also known as the double edge sword) I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it is hell---Harry Truman

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka