By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Folks, when it comes to whipping up ethnic/tribal sentiments for political expediency in our kind of democracy, no one can claim to be innocent. That is why I have repudiated all those jumping on Ms. Dzifa Ativor for doing so, even if I have quickly disagreed with the rationale behind her urge. I am more than persuaded by happenings that no one doing politics in Ghana in our time is doing without the ethnic/tribal fervour.
Ms. Ativor is on people’s lips just because her utterance fits into their agenda for doing narrow and unproductive rabble-rousing. But there is more to this issue, especially when someone from the camp of narrow politics also plays the ethnic card but is glossed over in public discourse. Why should Ms. Ativor alone be dragged in the mud? Or is she being confronted because of her fear of being jailed by an NPP government, which might be seen as the motivation for making that utterance?
If you are wondering where I want to take you, just relax. The NPP’s running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has gone the same way but hasn’t been reacted to yet. Why is it so?
Let’s bring everything up now. Speaking at Nyohini, in the Tamale South Constituency, Dr. Bawumia said many things wrapped around tribal politics, even if he set out to undermine President Mahama as a failure. Here are his own words as reported in the news:
“My elders, my brothers, my sisters, in 2008 and 2012, we were told by the NDC that because John Mahama was a Northerner, we should vote for him. Indeed, John Mahama himself asked the people of the North to vote for him because he was from the North…
“My elders and siblings, if John Mahama is claiming that you should vote for him because he is a northerner, then I would like to remind you that I am also from the North as a grandson of Na Gbewaa and I am asking for you to vote for Nana Akufo-Addo and myself…” (See http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Mahama-has-failed-Bawumia-435227).
Oyiwa!! What is less tribal in Dr. Bawumia’s appeal than that of Ms. Ativor? The fundamental issue here is that Dr. Bawumia claims he is “also from the North as a grandson of Na Gbewaa”. Forget about the crutch he used—the failure of President Mahama to fulfill electioneering campaign promises to the people of Northern Ghana. His message prop is that once he is also a Northerner, he should be voted for as Akufo-Addo’s running mate.
But here ends his political mischief. Will the Northerners vote for him to become the Vice President (a mere ceremonial office holder) when they already have the incumbent as the President, the fount of power in Ghana? Do they not know that Dr. Bawumia doesn’t have any clout and will only be running errands given him by the power brokers in the NPP? Why will they discard the pith and go for the husk or the bark?
Playing this tribal card isn’t going to help Dr. Bawumia and the NPP. It is no campaign message worth the voters’ bother. All the claims he made can’t even stand. Do the people not see what the government has been able to do for them so far?
More importantly, why should the focus be on Northerners and Northern Ghana, not the entire country? By choosing to go this way, Dr. Bawumia seems detached from reality. Has he been monitoring happenings as President Mahama tours the regions? I urge him to wait for how he will be received in Northern Ghana.
In any case, his recourse to this kind of tribal politics speaks volumes but will not be heard by those thinking like him; but it has a negative sequel that will soon explode in their faces.
The hypocrisy that underscores Ghanaian politics will destroy our democracy. Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaa!!
I shall return…
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