The Re-writing of Ghana’s History

Tue, 23 Jun 2009 Source: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw

a la Dotse Kobla

Yaw Opare-Asamoa


I just read this article, “Rejoinder: Asantehene: new progress philosophy, etc.” written by one Dotse, A. Kobla and posted on Ghanaweb. It is precisely the presence of such articles on the web that got me writing. I remember that in the run-up to the last elections, there were so many of such articles on the internet written by people like Dotse Kobla. It seemed to me then, that their main aim was to distort the history of Ghana in every way, shape and form. I observed the development for a while and then finally decided not to sit idly by any more. I believe we all do know about that famous quote of Edmund Burke: it now sounds almost cliché but it is still relevant-“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. In my writings, I have had the opportunity to call out certain ‘dishonest intellectuals’ and I can state without any reservation that this Dotse Kobla is one such individual. Dotse Kobla is apparently peeved with what Kofi Akosah-Sarpong had written in an earlier article. Interestingly, the first four paragraphs of Dotse’s article had nothing to do with what he concentrated his energy and venom on, throughout the latter part. He spent the rest of his article attacking a statement that Kofi Akosah had made about Okomfo Anokye. When one reads the quote from Kofi Akosah one realizes that he (Akosah) just mentioned Okomfo Anokye to make a broader point. This is what he said: “Active till late 17th century, Okomfo Anokye used traditional values and institutions to help establish not only constitution, laws, and customs but a vast empire stretching from central Ghana to present day Togo and Cote d’Ivoire, bordered by the Dagomba kingdom to the north and Dahomey to the east.” Is this a statement that should warrant such endless rantings of dishonest intellectual discourse from Dotse Kobla?? Dotse Kobla refers to the Asante Kingdom as ‘so-called’ but in the same line he mentions the ‘Kingdom of Anlo’. Now tell me, when did Anlo become a kingdom?? And how did it become a kingdom?? I would also want to know what made Anlo a kingdom!! Kingdoms are not made by mere pronouncements; there are concrete ‘processes’ that lead to the formation of a kingdom or empire. To Dotse Kobla, Kofi Akosah’s piece is a great ‘conspiracy’ towards the ‘aiding and abetting’ of ‘Ashanti hegemony’ Can it get any more ridiculous?? He even states that it is a “ploy to promote Asantehene and Ashanti hegemony” Seriously???

Does the Asantehene need anybody to promote him?? If we are to even assume such as the case, would such ‘promotion’ be accomplished by an article from Kofi Akosah??? I can say one thing for sure and that is, there’s not been a single country in this world that I have travelled to that the people over there did not know about Asante and the Asantehene. I believe others can testify to this as well. Should that make me angry or jealous because I am not from Asante?? No way!! Should I be proud as a Ghanaian? You bet! Unfortunately, For Dotse Kobla and people like him, that should not be the case. Again Dotse Kobla questions the source or authority of Kofi Akosah’s information about Okomfo Anokye. Right after that he presents to us his (Dotse’s) version of who Okomfo Anokye was and where he came from. Of course you guessed right; Okomfo Anokye could only come from one place and that one place could be no other than where Dotse Kobla and his people come from. In his revisionist attempt at history, why didn’t he place Okomfo Anokye at, say, Accra? Afterall my people also migrated here from elsewhere. Even the widely accepted hometown of Okomfo Anokye, Awukugua, was not acceptable to Dotse Kobla; As an Akwapim, I take serious exception to that!! It had to be Notsie or Anlo or somewhere that Ewes could lay claim to. I am surprised that he did not go ahead to claim Opemsuo Osei Tutu as a son of Anlo as well. These people will stop at nothing to see their agenda through. What makes me angry is the hypocrisy in all of this. I would take this opportunity to ask permission of one ‘CYBERCOP’, a contributor on ‘Ghanaweb’ to quote, below, his entire comment to Dotse Kobla’s article:

“Dr. Kobla, did it occur to you that it is a recognizable trait among different groups of People living close together in pre-scholarly times that an incident that originated in one area became ethnocized to be claimed as bona fide property of the neighboring groups? If you check the annals of Cultural development and sources of Myths and Mysticisms, you would find stories of some Messiah claimed by various Ethnicities and mimicking the story of Jesus of Christianity. The Myth of "Amokye", the Akan archetype of a Guardian of the river that is believed to separate Life and Afterlife, has its versions in Cultures spanning over Scandinavia and Asia. Your account of Okomfo Anokye's roots and biography, is more of a well-crafted ethnocized version to claim him for your Culture.

To many like me, sharing Myths like this is only a manifestation of the indestructible singularity of our common origin. Many experts in Mythology would even like to impress upon us that some these similar Myths were developed in parallel to others. But as credible as your version of Okomfo Anokye's Myth sounds, it is even more credible that you are an expert in such Mythical transformation of facts!!!!... And most people around the World, not just in Ashanti or Akan, will see yours as a deliberate effort to diffuse the significance or the uniqueness of that Ashanti Myth. Good Try!!! Nevertheless, I would not want to argue with you on this. Because the larger issue of the state of our Nationhood supersedes any attempt to claim superiority or veiled or covert, among our component Tribes. You are therefore only adding to the fuel of the Ashanti-Ewe Ethnic strife that has been going on for sometime now, by attempting to overshadow the Ashanti Myth about Okomfo Anokye. Should we also say that your name Kobla and Komla could as well be the originals of Kwabena, given to Males that were born on Tuesdays? Following that logic, Quamiga and Kwashiga could as well have been the original nomenclature for Kwame and Kwasi or Kwesi, respectively, derived from the days of the Week by the Akans. Right? What else associated with or owned by the Akans do you want to claim as originally yours? I am totally disgusted by this attempt of yours to intentionally reject the unadulterated truth of a living Social order, first showing your antithetical sentiment about the significance of the Asantehene in the country, and second refabricating (Not just fabricating) a Myth to supplant that of Okomfo Anokye. Have you been to Awukugwa to trace the roots of Okomfo Anokye and did not find it? Inasmuch as the Myth about Okomfo Anokye could have been exaggerated accounts by a people that mastered using such aspect of human intelligence to coagulate vassal states into a Kingdom, the ownership of that Myth to the Ashantis could be disputed by people of your ilk that would rather claim it as belonging to their Culture. You have only proven to be no different from Dr. Okoampa Ahoofe that many have characterized as a versatile modifier of our History for a parochial Ethnic interest. Maybe we should all just simply relax and rest satiated with the fact that none is supreme. Ewe or Ashanti. We are all humans and all Ghanaians. Let us do service to Ghana first!!! Long Live Ghana!!!”

So there you are. That is one way to look at it. In fact Dotse Kobla’s article can be torn apart from so many different angles. The very people who accuse others of seeking or promoting some form of hegemony are steeply involved in that very agenda themselves. They claim that after their escape from Agorkoli, they promised never to allow themselves to be subdued again. In order to prevent any future occurrence of oppression and suppression, it was important and imperative that they put in place the necessary structures. The four areas that they settled on as ‘pillars’ of both offence and defence were: Education, Population, Marriage and Juju. Is Dotse Kobla ready to discuss the issue of hegemony?? Really?? Which group of people have a long-term plan of bringing their kith and kin, scattered across Ghana, Togo and Dahomey (present day Benin), together as one ‘unit’? Dotse Kobla threw around some statistics and at the end asked how a “figure of about 15-17% make the Asante ethnic groups ‘an all Ghanaian group’? I need this man to explain something to me. What makes a group ‘all Ghanaian’? Does a group have to make up 50% of the population before it can qualify as an ‘all Ghanaian’ group? Can’t I describe my family as ‘all Ghanaian’? Anyway what is this, ‘fixation’ of Ewes about anything Asante, all about? Personally I think that Ewes do have a sneaking admiration for Asantes and their rich culture and history but they would never acknowledge that in public. Let’s now look at the statistics provided by Dotse Kobla: The Volta region is among the smallest regions in Ghana, by size. There are other indigenous peoples in the Volta region besides the Anlos, right? Groups like the Nkonyas and the ‘Akans’ of northern Volta. I do not believe that the Anlos even make up 50% of the Volta region (I stand corrected). Now let’s look at Asante: This region is the only one in Ghana that is ‘indigenously homogenous’ (my own creation). What I mean is there are no non-Asante indigenous peoples from Asante. Of course there are non-Asantes ‘living’ in Asante now but that is not what I’m talking about. For instance, Gas are not ‘indigenous’ to the Upper West region and neither are the Mamprusis to the Central region. The next point is that the Asante region is bigger than the Volta region. So how do the Ewes (part of the Volta region) make up 13% of the Ghanaian population and Asantes 15-17%, according to Dotse Kobla?? If this statistic is correct, what could possibly be responsible for this? Remember the ‘pillars’ of hegemony stated earlier and the role of population in the whole agenda? One needs ‘power’ in order to achieve one’s political goals, but power comes through ‘politics’ which requires ‘numbers’. Yes, numbers and that is the whole point!!! Anyway, the whole ‘miawo de’ philosophy would be tackled at a later time. I have another question for Dotse Kobla. He said “…the Anlos and the Asantes have never directly fought any major wars in the history of pre and post Respublic of Ghana!” The question is what happened in 1800?? The Ghana Statistical Service has a different set of records as far as ‘engagement’ between these two groups is concerned. As a matter of fact, Dotse Kobla can claim Okomfo Anokye for all it’s worth. What does that do for us, as Ghanaians, anyway, except to reinforce what we already know-that Dotse Kobla and his people are ‘masters’ when it comes to ‘juju’(another ‘pillar' of Ewe hegemony??) or what he refers to as ‘miracles’. Pilate, it was who said, ‘what is written is written’ History is history is history. Those who want to spend their existence re-writing history to suit their own agendas are welcome to do so. The rest of us would peek into the past (history) from time to time, focus our energies on the present and plan for the future.

Written and submitted on June 20, 2009

Columnist: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw