Opinions Mon, 10 Mar 2014

RE: The NPP’s “IF–CLAUSE” against Dr. Bawumiah confirms it all

The greatest threat to our democracy is allowing politicians to exploit our ethnic diversity for political power.

This rich tapestry of cultures that is a source of our national pride can also be the harbinger of grieve and destruction when in the hands of political charlatans, unscrupulous academics and opportunistic press.

Rwanda is all too fresh in our minds, just the other day Ivoirians poured through our western borders to escape from conflict. Before them were Liberians, Sudanese, Sierra Leoneans, Boko Haram refugees, Niger Delta refugees etc.

Ghana is not a fortress and that is why people of good conscience should stand up and guide against those who would like to hijack our peace and harmony for selfish designs.

My jaw dropped when I read a piece on Ghana web by Dr. Bokor under the caption above and his attempt to pit Akans against other tribal groups.

If Dr. Bokor wants to trade his comfort in academia to join NDC foot soldiers in the trenches to divide this country for cheap political power, we will call him out because Ghana is too precious to allow charlatans and zealots to push it over the edge.

In as much as I agree that the secretary of the NPP should not be seen as supporting one presidential candidate in an internal NPP contest which he will help organize, it is absolutely unconscionable for anyone to attempt to exploit his innocuous reference to ethnicity for cheap political gain.

In the same interview that Dr. Bokor want us to draw different conclusions from, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie was quoted as saying “We will not send Bawumia to the gallows to defend this party and when it comes to the ultimate, he will not be there?”

How anyone can read ethnocentric chauvinism from this baffles me, except they may be living in George Orwell’s animal farm where reference of war means peace.

Dr Bokor is in the company of a small group of scholars who love throwing darts in the dark in the hope that a Northerner will be hit and then jump to their feet that an Akan wanted to kill a Northerner because of who he/she is”.

They may succeed to exploit our ethnic division to win political power but the end thereof is the destruction of a country we all hold so dear.

Some of us have resisted the temptation to follow this path that leads to national self destruct and implosion because the survival of a nation is more precious to us than cheap political power.

The fact that we don’t exploit ethnicity in our writing speaks to how much we want to elevate our national discussion but we know it all about NDC. Your party, the NDC has a rather horrible record on the politics of ethnicity in this country.

Hon Fifi Kwetey is on record to have said Ghanaians will never vote for a northerner as president. That presumably was said away from the camera and the microphone but it is from such secluded confines away from the media that we get to know the true views of people.

Americans got to know the real Mr. Mitt Romney not on the campaign trail nor at the convention floor but in the company of a small group of donors and friends. Mr. Fifi Kwetey was expressing a deep feeling within the NDC about Northerners, a geographical region that have consistently returned them to power.

Ask any northern elite in the NDC and you will get an ear full of how they were treated by Mr. JJ Rawlings in his government. But for the hand of God that guided a northerner to the presidency in Ghana, do you honestly believe that the NDC would have nominated a Northerner as their presidential candidate.

As a nation, we all carry this collective guilt with the management of our ethnic diversity. It is made all the more tragic given that our first president pioneered the greatest social engineering project for us and all we needed was to build on that.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had a brilliant idea; bring the youth of every tribe, creed and culture together; Ashantis, Dagombas, Brongs, Ewes, Gas, Guans, Mamprusis, Kussasis etc and educate them under one roof and the Ghana Education Trust-boarding schools were built.

He spread developments throughout the geographical landmass of our nation to let every Ghanaian have a stake in the development of the new independent nation and what was the result.

It is not by accident that Ghana has done relatively better than our neighbors across the sub region when it comes to religious tolerance, ethnic harmony and a country at peace with itself. But today can we honestly be proud of where our nation is heading.

The Twi version of our national anthem has a line that I love so much “Aduru mene wo nsu so ….” It is the turn of me and you to continue the good work and sacrifice of our forbearers.

We all either by our passive acquiescence or active connivance have contributed in placating this monster called ethnicity. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo committed political heresy with his infamous “Yen Akanfo” comments and so were the incendiary comments by Hon Kennedy Agyapong.

But so also were the ethnocentric comments by Hon Haruna Iddrisu on the floor of parliament and the actions of former president JJ Rawlings who as president made one tribe, Ashantis the object of hatred and the target of his fight against corruption in society.

By the way can any NDC member decode the slogan “Ashanti Project” for me? A slogan that was often chanted by the late President Atta Mills to wild applause on his campaign trail.

To suggest that Dr. Bawumia would have been the best candidate of for NPP for the 2006 election is rather a crude and disingenuous way of pitting Akans against Northerners. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo brought a technocrat whom most people have never heard of into political limelight.

No one knows if this accomplished technocrat was even willing to leave the comfort of life as the deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana for a job that has no rewards but innuendos and character assassinations, but he did.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo was only guided by a believe that here was someone who had the training and competence to guide Ghana’s economy to achieve accelerated development. And he just happened to come from Walewale in the Northern region of Ghana.

I am glad that today everyone in Ghana including yourself agree that Ghana has a future under the steady hands of Dr. Bawumia.

Dr. Mohamadu Bawumia’s parents had strong working relations with Mr. JJ Rawlings but that did not deter Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo and his believe that Ghana needed him to guide us out of this economic mess.

This is the mark of a leader whom we should be celebrating and not to denigrate. Dr. Bawumia does not need to ascend the presidency to help solve Ghana’s myriad problems only if only your party will swallow their pride and take advice from him.

He wrote; “least we get fixated on the challenges of the Mahama-led administration for we know that that some of the problems are systemic”. Oh come on give me a break, since when did a criminal enterprise that a judge described as create, loot and share become a systemic challenge.

SADA was brilliant idea initiated by a president who happened to come from the north to address the endemic problems of the northern part of Ghana but are you happy about what has become of SADA and GEEDA etc?

In United Sates of America where we both live, such deviant conduct is called Graft the fight against which is relentless because of its danger to society. Corruption rubs from what belongs to all in society to line the pockets of a few individuals.

Not even the president is spared when caught in a web of corruption. As I write Mr. Rod Blagojevich an ex-governor of the state of Illinois is serving jail time for corruption.

Former Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen are being prosecuted for accepting gifts in return for favors to a friend while in office.

If those of us who have the privilege of living under American democracy albeit an imperfect one can take back some of the virtues we enjoy under a democracy, we will be making a big contribution and investment towards building a more just, viable and enduring democracy in our dear country

. If we can demand honesty and integrity from our leaders and be bold enough to ask NDC leaders to live by the tenets of their own mantra; probity and accountability one little girl will wake up tomorrow morning preparing for school rather than becoming part of the statistics of teaming masses of young boys and girls who trek south everyday into this despicable blight on our conscience we call the KAYAYE phenomenon.

I hope Dr. Bokor shares in my hopes and prayer that the next time I visit Ghana, the Accra-Kumasi road would be dualized and completed, that Keta has finally won its battle against sea erosion, that Volta University is well resourced and fully functional, but that begins only when we demand from our leaders honesty, integrity and accountability without which our sovereignty will always be subverted.

Dr. Bokor arguably has an impeccable academic credentials and I take it that he has a good job to go with it. I will assume that he is either respected in his community or he will demand it from them not just because of his qualifications alone but for an uppity African having achieved success in a racial society like America.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo is an accomplished academic and a consummate politician, please defer on him the same respect and decorum that you will wish for yourself regardless of what profession he chose to engage in.

Winter is upon us, that dreadful change in weather that compounds the already stressful and depressed condition of our daily lives. Very soon Americans will be planning for their summer vacation to take some time off to relax and nurse their feeble limbs back into shape.

I will assume that when Dr. Bokor is vacationing on a Caribbean Island this summer, the last thing he will expect is for his boss to call him to account for whatever is going on at work while he was away.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo has gone through a tumultuous year and a half; a grueling political campaign that ended in defeat, eight months of court battle to challenge the outcome of the election and the general stress of live for a man of his age.

The man needs to rest and he deserves to take some time off just as anybody else. Please respect his legitimate right to a vacation just as your boss respects your vacation right which is even enshrined in American labor laws.

The good book has a divine advise for us all “Do unto others what you want them to do onto you” Don’t worry the man you love to hate so much will soon be back.

Thomas Kofi Kyeremeh

Germantown, MD


Columnist: Kyeremeh, Thomas Kofi