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Stop this cheap Fulani politics, Asiedu-Nketia

Sat, 30 Apr 2016 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Garden City, New York

April 24, 2016

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

The General-Secretary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) ought to get serious and stop playing cheap political games with the people of Asante-Akyem Agogo, who have been needlessly experiencing the wanton predatory activities of Fulani cattle herdsmen (See “Sacking Fulanis Would Mean Sacking Bawumia’s Wife – Mosquito” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 4/13/16). The problem here involves only a certain narrow category of Fulani people, not the entire Fulani ethnic group in Ghana which has been in existence for centuries; and he darn well knows this, and so why is Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia arguing with such sophistical absurdity as if the issue at stake here was between the people of Agogo and the Fulani ethnic group in general?

General Mosquito, as Mr. Asiedu-Nketia is popularly known, is also characteristically reductive to cast matters as a simple conflict between crop farmers and animal farmers. This is inexcusably absurd, because the conflict that we have here is fundamentally one of culture and behavioral conduct, not merely one of ethnicity. Indeed, as I have called attention to several times in previous columns, the Fulani cattle herders and rustlers with whom the people of Asante-Akyem Agogo are locked up in conflict are largely nomadic people and seasonal migrants in search of forage and water for their livestock. They often prowl the forested areas of the West African sub-region during droughts or the dry season, which severely affects water resources and forage for their livestock in the Sahel region, where their lifestyle and culture are best suited and they have been resident since time immemorial. They are not permanent residents of Ghana, unlike the wife of the three-time New Patriotic Party’s Vice-Presidential Candidate, Mrs. Samira Bawumia.

In other words, it is the fluxional, or nomadic, lifestyle of the Fulani cattle herdsmen that is the cause of the conflict between the Agogo food farmers and this “come-and-go” reckless marauders of cultivated farmlands. I have in the recent past, for example, called for the leaders of the West African sub-region to put their heads together in order to find a constructive and amicable solution to the problem. In the era of the postcolonial nation-state, the sort of nomadic culture being doggedly pursued by the Fulani herdsmen in Ghana, most of whose indigenous populations are sedentary, virulently militates against the socioeconomic stability of the country. Consequently, what needs to be done by governments of the sub-region is to create safe pastoral zones, preferably in the Sahel regions of West Africa that are better suited to the nomadic Fulani lifestyle.

Such designated safe-zones could then be adequately supplied with potable water, for both the herdsmen and their livestock, the lack of which is the number one cause of the endless Fula/Fulbe nomadism. We simply cannot allow Fulani nomadic existence to keep incessantly upending our own, merely because the human rights of these nomadic people have to be recognized and respected. Equally valid, of course, is the imperative need for these Fulani herdsmen to recognize and respect the human rights of the Agogo food farmers. Besides, the law of primacy or antecedence dictates that the group of people who are historically known to have first settled and civically developed the Agogo environs into a globally recognized legitimate settlement and/or civilization be accorded priority in the conduct of their lives and activities.

In short, these Fulani cattle herdsmen must not expect to be accorded priority in grazing rights for their livestock over and above those of the people of Agogo, who created their otherwise civilized, settled and stable society long before these Fulani herdsmen arrived in the region. Indeed, were it such a facilely fair game, as Mr. Asiedu-Nketia would have the rest of Ghanaian society believe, nobody would require visas and other travel documents to move around the West African sub-region and, indeed, any humanly habitable region of the world, for that matter. Even in the free-movement era of members or nationalities constituting the association of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Mr. Asiedu-Nketia would also have his audience believe that it is perfectly legal for Fulani cattle herdsmen, often unaccompanied by any spouses or women, to rape, maim and murder their Ghanaian host populations because long before any critical mass of Fulani herdsmen arrived in the country, Ghanaian men were raping, maiming and murdering their own kind. I don’t know how anybody who reasons as morally and intellectually regressively as Mr. Asiedu-Nketia could have been elected General-Secretary of any legitimately registered and recognized political party in the country, let alone a governing party. And just to think of the fact that not very long ago this man was an elected Member of Ghana’s Parliament and even a Deputy Minister in the Chairman Jerry John Rawlings-led government of the National Democratic Congress gives me goose bumps.

It is also an inexcusable commentary on how low the moral sensibilities of the average Ghanaian leader have sunk. Indeed, one is hard pressed to make a head or a tail out of Mr. Asiedu-Nketia’s trend of reasoning vis-à-vis what has been widely and aptly described as the Fulani Menace in the Ghanaian countryside. In other words, does Mr. Asiedu-Nketua reason the way he does primarily because he harbors any ineradicable ancient tribal resentment for the people of Asante-Akyem Agogo or the Asante in general?

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame