Home Editorial Naah-Yiereh Writes: Tribal bigotry in Ghana, a crusade borne out of ignorance

Naah-Yiereh Writes: Tribal bigotry in Ghana, a crusade borne out of ignorance


“We used to give our women in marriage to Mosi men to get ‘men’. We used to give our women in marriage to Dagomba men to give us giants to become kings” – Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

Now that the political aspect of the tape that surfaced recently has been sorted, can we tackle the root cause of the stinking tribal bigotry polluting our nation?.

Growing up in Juaso, the capital of the Ashanti Akim South Municipality with a Dagaati name and parents, not once was I made to feel different by classmates, teachers or friends at Juaso Zongo or anywhere else within the region.

I spent few weeks intermittently living at Asankare, Konongo, Agogo and Kumasi yet never was I treated any differently by any native Asante.

We lived as one people, when we wake up, we would give thanks to God for life and then to Otumfuo for his leadership. My dad and the Chief of Juaso were very good friends till the late chief passed on, he even named his daughter after him.

One may be tempted to think my story is an exception after listening to the mind boggling audio with both political and ethnic undertones. In the said audio an Akan man, presumably Asante reacted to news Mr. Akamba in the upper east incited students of Tempane SHS against Free SHS policy by the NPP-Nana Addo government.

It wouldn’t have been a big deal because though regrettable, the Ghanaian political landscape is filled with such attacks from the camps of NDC and NPP and we have always disregarded it as cheap means to score political points. It is the ethnocentric remarks captured in the audio that is more disturbing and has the potential to disturb the relative peace we enjoy as Ghanaians.

“If the North was good why don’t you stay. Excuse me to say most northerners are senseless, when they get money they come and live in the south…..Northerners are never sensible”

That is quite a lot to take in for someone with Dagaati roots and an Asante upbringing, to think that this is coming from a fellow blackman to another makes it all the more distressing. Attacking an integral part of Ghana’s population based on their ethnicity?. This bigotry of an outburst was a confirmation of a supposed superiority complex some Akans feel over other tribes and a topic we have failed to discuss as a nation because it is an uncomfortable one.

In Paul Collier’s book, Guns,Wars and Votes, he said an ethnically diverse population is least successful especially in a bottom billion country like Ghana. His assertion is closest to the truth than otherwise looking at Ghana’s progress since independence.

Ethnic conflicts and differences have stifled Ghana’s progress for much of the our history and now remnants of the past lurks in people who have decided to disregard history or learn from science and facts. They may be a few bad nuts but the ripple effect is felt throughout the nation when one of such people openly display their ignorance especially in this internet and social media age where information spreads with the speed of light.

But there’s a glimmer of hope, history and a timely video by the great and much respected king Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, king of the Asante Kingdom relayed a very important message to all his subjects and indeed the entire nation. Tribal bigotry is to the ignorant. Strategic inter tribal marriages which started centuries ago between Asantes, Akyems, Brongs etc and many northern tribes means that barely is there a pure breed of any single Asante, Brong, Fante, Dagomba, Mosi, Dagaati, Brong etc.

See video below

It may be safe to assume that the spread of knowledge and education will eventually end tribal bigotry and usher a new era where we see each other as Ghanaians pursuing a common destiny and with a common enemy, the corrupt politicians and people in Society who tries to sow seeds of divisions. But there is a caveat, Africans are extremely sentimental beings, the fight might last longer than this generation unless a proactive approach is taken.

Moving On

First of all we must take the Rwanda approach. We have decided to be one country and Ghana must be our identity, all official forms must exclude any question that requires one to state their tribe or ethnicity.

The definition of hometown must be where one grew up and has a permanent abode not where ones parents are from.

By any means possible sway tribal allegiance to national patriotism. The NCCE must be up and doing. The earlier such avenues to assert tribal supremacy is rooted out from the system the harder it would be for anyone to find reason to attack people based on their ethnicity and promote peace.

Joseph Naah-Yiereh

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