The distasteful historical description of the Ewe ethnic group: Another classic case of an unlearning Ghanaian politician

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Wed, 17 Mar 2021 Source: Daniel Yiadom Boakye

The politics of ethnocentrism predates our 4th Republic, has achieved nothing but the usual deep-seated division among the ethnic groups crippling social cooperation at schools, other corporate organisations and various work places ostensibly as a result of lack of trust it creates among people belonging to especially some specific ethnicity.

Politicians engineer such divisions for a purpose which would be dealt with subsequently in this article but first of all let's look at the focal point around which this article revolves, the distasteful historical description of the Ewe ethnic group, the benefactors and beneficiaries of this rather condescending phenomenon.

To start with, the publisher did an incredibly shoddy work by failing to research on the rich history of Ewe people from renowned historians and traditional authorities of Ewe descent, books and the copiously abundant articles on the internet to design the required content that meets the broad architectural framework of the syllabus of the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCa) and also, the needs and the dignity of the Ewe ethnic community.

Not only but also, the publisher failed woefully to dig into the route of the infamous statement which is arguably attributed to Victor Owusu. I use arguably in the sense that, taking us to memory lane and recounting what happened in parliament in 1970, Sarpong quoted Baako as having said "Victor Owusu never said Ewes are inward looking but was rather refuting the accusation by opposition leader Dr. Agama who had accused Akans of sidelining Ewes in government jobs and are inward looking. Victor Owusu responded that, as an Ewe, Dr Agama cannot accuse anybody of inward looking". (Sarpong Sat, 10 May at ghanaweb.com).

The interpretation to the above quote leads us to only two main points, first Dr. Agama whose role was like Hon. Haruna Idrisu of today, had accused Akans, thus Edward Akufo-Addo and Kofi Abrefa Busia's Progress Party whose era span from 1969 to 1972, by describing them as inward looking for sidelining Ewes in their government.

In response, Victor Owusu also responded by saying as Ewe, he had no right to do that accusation. Of course inherent in that statement was just the same as saying Ewes are also inward looking just like when someone insults you and you reply by throwing his insult back to him. Again, the publisher had failed to appreciate how sensitive this issues were after failing miserably to even know the history of that statement.

On th part of the government, it is complicit in this because the president who is the head of the executive cannot be at every sector to supervise the areas of work and that's why he has eyes in his appointees to ensure the proper thing is not only felt but also seen to be done and done well.

This makes the president culpable because he bears the ultimate responsibility for the success or failure arising from the actions or inactions of institutions he appoints people to represent. In this case, the government has failed in this matter through the actions and inactions of NCCa.

Presumably, it is either the people of NCCa did nothing to read fully and assess the content of the book or money allegedly changed hands but to think of the government intentionally sponsoring or providing an outline in the new curriculum to provide opportunity for publishers to write balderdash of a history about such an influential group of people like the Ewes is unbelievable, to say the least.

As teachers, it's an indisputable fact that syllabus provides broad or general outline to guide publishers to go into the specific content. Therefore, it is up to the author to research and deal with the content in a manner that is consistent with the broad aspirations of the syllabus.

The lesson which politicians fail to draw from phenomenon like this is the fact that political attrition is part of the game of politics and as such, politicians will do everything position to weaken the chances of their opponents and so activists, whether NDC or NPP, will latch onto issues of such a highly incendiary ethnocentric nonsense of a description to create disaffection for the opposing political groups and therefore have to be very circumspect in dealing with issues that affect especially a group that is seen as the stronghold of their opponents.

The demonstration embarked upon in the wake of the "Akyim sakawa" statement and 'Kumasi people not appreciating president Mahama despite numerous projects comments' and the fuss those comments generated and the current issue of "inward looking Ewe" nonsense show clearly that politicians are not ready to learn by paying attention to sensitive issues of such nature.

Columnist: Daniel Yiadom Boakye