The Socio-politico “Environment”-Present and Future

Sun, 19 Jul 2009 Source: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw

-To Kobla Dotse: a response!

Yaw Opare-Asamoa


Ghana found herself on some international news broadcasts last week due to the visit of the president of the United States of America. We are told the only reason we enjoyed that ‘privilege’ was because the good people of Ghana decided to conduct democratic elections without any ‘violence’. We successfully transferred power from one political party to another; and for that we were ‘rewarded’ with a presidential visit! Though the elections took place in relative peace, all discerning Ghanaians would admit that all is not well with us. There are serious ‘cracks’ in our socio-politico environment. The uneasy tension within the ethnic ‘undergrowth’ calls for some concern. I believe this generation should rise up to the task and tackle the ‘problem’ head-on. Yes, I do recognize that there are those who deny that Ghana is polarized, and they are free to believe what they want. Their refusal to see the obvious does not make the problem go away. Playing the Ostrich has never solved anything. We may not want to admit it but by and large we vote along ethnic lines. That, in and of itself, should not be a problem. But when that degenerates into ‘name-callings’, insults and downright enmity between neighbours then we cannot afford to go on as usual. I do visit the websites on Ghana and if all the people who post comments on these sites are Ghanaians, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, then we need to pause and ask ourselves what exactly is it that we want and in what state do we want to leave the country for the next generation. I have said it before and I will repeat it here that, I decided to write because of all those ‘mischievous’ comments and articles that kept appearing on these websites. I don’t claim to have solutions to everything but I refuse to sit idly by and watch. And until something happens to change my circumstances, I intend to continue writing and put out there what I know. In keeping with my stated objective, I respond to some of these articles that show up, and try to present the facts as I know them. I also try to reveal the ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘inaccuracies’ that underlie these articles. That brings me to the subject of today’s write-up. A little background information would help: I wrote an article (The Re-writing of Ghana’s History) and tackled some issues that one Kobla Dotse had raised in an earlier article posted under his name (Rejoinder: Asantehene: new progress philosophy, etc) on Ghanaweb. Kobla Dotse then wrote a rejoinder (Rejoinder: The Re-writing of Ghana’s History) to my article and that is where we are now: Kobla Dotse wrote in the rejoinder to my article “The Re-writing of Ghana’s History” thus: “…Yaw Opare-Asamoa failed to address and provide credible and authentic sources of information regarding the main issues that were under debate vis-à-vis: ‘The origin of Okomfo Anokye…’. He continued by stating that I “…never gave answers to where exactly Okomfo Anokye originated from or any information about Okomfo Anokye’s familial lineage.” But what Kobla Dotse fails to realize is that I was not, and never have been, as interested in the ‘origins’ of Okomfo Anokye as I was in ‘tackling’ the ‘motives’ behind such academic ‘adventures’ in ‘historical’ revisionism. In fact I was puzzled when I read Kobla Dotse’s rejoinder to Kofi Akosah-Sarpong, because I had read that particular article in question and I did not find the supposed ‘conspiracy’ that Kobla Dotse referred to. As I stated in my original article Kofi Akosah-Sarpong had mentioned Okomfo Anokye just to make a point; and for Kobla Dotse to pounce on that to write an article telling us where Okomfo Anokye ‘comes from’ was too much of a stretch unless he had some other ‘agenda’. I believe he did and my article was to address just that and not ‘gallivant’ about the origins of Okomfo Anokye. So that was my whole point; I never said anywhere that I was going to tell anybody about the ‘familial lineage’ of Okomfo Anokye. Frankly I am not interested and I do not bother myself with such. It is good enough for me that the ‘deeds’ of Okomfo Anokye are visible for all to see, even, today-the sword, the golden stool and the ‘oware’ carved in stone! In response to Kofi Akosah-Sarpong’s article, Kobla Dotse had this to say “This article is one of the mischievous ones that come up occasionally on Ghanaweb and elsewhere. It contains a lot of historical distortions, and at best, propangandish and manipulative in its reasoning, gestures and rationales. This and other articles bearing the same signature tone have to be strongly condemned and appropriately rebutted by the true and nonbiased historians and social scientists!” And I suppose he, Kobla Dotse, believes he is one such historian and/or social scientist!! I will ‘humbly submit’ to Kobla Dotse that I felt the same way when I read his (Kobla Dotse’s). Why do some people do the very things they accuse others of? Kobla Dotse admitted that he had to read Kofi Akosah-Sarpong’s article (Asantehene: new progress philosophy) a second time before he could identify and agree with “..the general spirit of the article since there is no dispute over the fact that our African traditional leaders can play vital roles in the emerging African unity and in the socio-politico-economic development of their countries” So if indeed, after the second take, he came to this conclusion where did that rejoinder come from then? If he agreed with the ‘general spirit’ of the said article that the role of traditional leaders in Africa today cannot be disputed, then I am at a loss as to how he could refer to the same article as ‘propagandish and manipulative’. For an intellectual like Kobla Dotse it is unbecoming that he would brush the general ‘import’ of the article aside and devote a rejoinder to talking about a rather mute point made about Okomfo Anokye-indeed out of a 3-page article, Okomfo Anokye’s name appeared only three times-twice in one paragraph and then once in another. The article was not about Okomfo Anokye!! It was about what Kobla Dotse ‘discovered’ after his second reading. I know I have spent too much time on this point and have even repeated myself but it is for a purpose. I want to establish the fact that Kobla Dotse is guilty of what he had accused others of; his rejoinder was ‘propangandish and manipulative’ and the rationale very questionable!! Let me now address other points he raised in his rejoinder to my article: I asked the question “Is Dotse Kobla ready to discuss the issue of hegemony?” To this he claims I got ‘carried away and went on to rhetorically ask questions..’ that I already knew the answers to. Well, I am here to inform Dotse Kobla that I particularly asked that question because no Ewe I had come in contact with would discuss it. Any time I bring it up with any of them the issue is either sidestepped or avoided. So Kobla Dotse, I did not already know the answer, but from your response I guess you are ready to be the first to openly and truthfully discuss the issue of Ewe hegemony! Actually you referred to such enterprise-Ewe hegemony-as a noble cause and a simple endeavour of ‘bringing together kith and kin as one unit’. If it is such a noble cause then why did you have such a problem with what Kofi Akosah-Sarpong wrote, which you referred to as “aiding and abetting an Ashanti hegemony in relative peace” Again, I want to point out the hypocrisy in all of this: an article that discusses the roles of traditional leaders in contemporary Africa is described by Kobla Dotse as “..the greatest conspiracy in the history of Ghanaians in particular and Africans as a whole..” but when he presents his version of the ‘genealogy’ of Okomfo Anokye it is to be accepted as the ‘truth’ and that there’s nothing conspiratorial about it. Are these the kinds of intellectuals we need for our development?? Ordinarily, I would agree with you but for the fact that this ‘bringing together kith and kin as one unit’ has become something more than that. Kobla Dotse gave himself up when he put the question “Is that not what we need in Ghana as a whole instead of one ethnic group trying to dominate the others?” As I have stated already, I read Kofi Akosah-Sarpong’s article and nowhere in that article did I find anything about one ethnic group trying to dominate others, but of course we all do not read and understand equally or do we! How does Kobla Dotse propose we, as a country, go about becoming one unit? Is his idea that each ethnic group develop a ‘miawo de’ (we alone) mentality with its attendant set objectives, and when it’s all done we try to put all the ‘miawo de’ groups together as one unit? Or would it be a better idea that we approach the quest for national unity in a holistic manner where each identifies with the other irrespective of ethnic origins? Referring to ‘he and his people’ (I have no idea what he meant by that, but I will let it pass for now) Kobla Dotse accused me of being angry that the “mythical figure, Okomfo Anokye, who has for centuries belonged to he and his people is being stolen from them..” By the way is he admitting that what he tried to do with his write-up was an attempt to ‘steal’ Okomfo Anokye? I will quote below what I said about this situation “Even the widely accepted hometown of Okomfo Anokye, Awukugua, was not acceptable to Dotse Kobla; As an Akwapim, I take serious exception to that!!” Where, in this statement, does Kobla Dotse find anger?? Dotse Kobla talked about the exodus of Ewes from Notsie. He referred to that as a ‘little lesson’. I have no idea who that ‘little lesson’ was meant for. He also mentioned the fact that “..Paramount Chiefs of Volta Region do not wield absolute power.” Where did that come from and where does it fit in the subject under discussion? When I mentioned records of events in 1800 as given by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Dotse Kobla says I should provide the facts if I have them. Well according to the GSS there was an Asante-Ewe war in 1800. I just mentioned that to refute his claim that “the Anlos and the Asantes have never directly fought any major wars in the history of pre and post Republic of Ghana”. Or maybe the key words here are DIRECTLY and MAJOR, in which case Kobla Dotse could find a ‘window’ to wriggle himself through! Isn’t it interesting that Kobla Dotse thinks I deserve his thanks for “being complimentary about Ewes” for identifying the four areas by which they intend to facilitate the ‘miawo de’ agenda? I would also like him to provide facts to support what he refers to as “..futile attempts at instituting present day Asante hegemony…”. Can he tell us what ‘Section 58 of the 2008 Chieftaincy Act and Section 49 of its predecessor Act 370 of 1971 and other relevant portions of the Chieftaincy Acts’, contain? In his conclusion, Kobla Dotse asks me to come again and present ‘the official and credible origin and genealogy of the great mystic Okomfo Anokye!’; well I have no interest to engage in such exercise and by the way wasn’t his (Kobla Dotse) version supposed to be the ‘official and credible’ one??

For me, Kobla Dotse and a few others like him are responsible for those articles that he rightly referred to as “mischievous”. The issue is not, and should not, be about Okomfo Anokye. So instead of the origin of Okomfo Anokye I would like the debate or discussion to focus on the supposed ‘hegemonies’-real or otherwise. I think it should be discussed openly and dispassionately. Let’s have all sides present their respective cases and then let’s all find ‘solutions’ to whatever ‘sticky’ areas that may arise.

Written and submitted on July 15, 2009

Columnist: Opare-Asamoa, Yaw