Ethnocentric comments have had quite a field day in Ghana’s political terrain over the past years and the menace, though unpredictable has not seen a near end.
As much as politics of insults irks many Ghanaians, so does ethnocentric comments.
Even though several attempts have been made over the years to make such comments unattractive and condemnable, it still seems to, in a way find an escape route from the mouth of some Ghanaians.
Sometimes unintended, the consequences reflect in public discourses and in many instances have been said to be the reason why politics remain unattractive in the country.
On the back of a recent allegation of this sort against the Ashanti Regional Minister, GhanaWeb in this article looks back at some personalities who have been cited for allegedly making ethnocentric comments over the year.
1. Social commentator, Kwame A-Plus
In 2017, Kwame Asare Obeng, popularly known as Kwame A-Plus became the subject of abuse on social media after he reportedly made some distasteful remarks about Ewes.
The controversial musician who actively campaigned for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in a post on Facebook suggested that Ewes on several occasions felt inferior and irritated by comments of people about them.
In the post that was taken down by Facebook, he indicated that although Ewes feel happy about teasing other tribes, they don’t want to be teased. Kwame A-Plus also insisted that Ewes will on any day attack him when he talks about their brother, M.anifest, but will take the least chance to attack other artistes.
This was the genesis of his abuse by some social media users, while other minced no words in hurling unprintable insults at him, others just questioned his knowledge and demanded an apology.
2. General overseer of Glorious Wave Church, Prophet Badu Kobi
The wave of public backlash, condemnation and demonstration that followed Prophet Badu Kobi’s ethnocentric comments was unprecedented.
What exactly was Prophet Badu Kobi’s crime? In a viral video, the preacher was heard advising the men in his church to desist from marrying from certain Ghanaian tribes. He indicated that per his research women from such tribes were foolish, dormant and money conscious.
Prophet Badu Kobi summarized his advice with the following words “Fanti women are foolish sometimes and Ewes too are doormats. But for Ashanti women no... If you marry Ashanti lady, you have imported problem for yourself forever. I have done research and it is so and I’ll never marry an Ashanti woman…”
For many Ghanaians, including the Deputy Information Minister, Nana Dokua Asiamah Adjei, the preacher was reckless for igniting tribal division in the country.
3. Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo
Former Finance Minister and leading member of the ruling NPP government, Yaw Osafo-Maafo during the run-up to the 2016 general elections was allegedly caught on tape making some derogatory remarks about some regions and how they influence decisions in the country.
At a meeting with some NPP council of elders in the Easter Region he was captured to have said “You have all the resources, but you have no say in the management of your resources and that is what is happening. Your development depends on the one who has no resources.”
He also suggested that the helm of affair in the country should rest in the five regions with the most resources not the other way round. “It’s never done anywhere in the world. In the world over, it is the group with the most resources that rules and not the other way around,” the voice said.
In the estimation of the voice, “86.5 percent of resources in Ghana come from five regions: Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Central. This is where 86 percent of the resources of Ghana come from… And the oil was also discovered in the West. It will change the formula to about 90 percent. We cannot ignore these five regions. We should not.”
As though his alleged comments received an endorsement even after the several rounds of demonstration, Mr Osafo-Maafo was made Senior Minister after the NPP was voted into power in 2016.
4. MP for Adansi Asokwa, K.T. Hammond
Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa on the tickets of the NPP, Kobina Tahir Hammond affectionately called K.T. Hammond was also recently caught up in a web for his distasteful comments about Ewes.
According to some people his comment was a smack of ethnocentrism which was deeply rooted yet was only being manifested as mere comments.
The MP in an interaction with the media attempted to justify the military deployment to the Volta Region – a stronghold of the opposition NDC – ahead of the Electoral Commission’s voters registration exercise.
He suggested that it was an attempt by government to prevent foreigners from registering and subsequently voting in the upcoming polls.
“The Togolese and the Voltarians – when I talk about Voltarians, the Volta Region – remember the history ... basically the same tribe, so, they walk into [Ghana] but they are not Ghanaians…When they walk in there, they can do whatever they [want], so, I guess that is the reason for that [military influx]…There is a classic example”, he recalled. “You remember 2008, the second round; we had so much – 100,000 or so votes leading Prof Mills at the time of the second round. In the next round, one constituency, Ketu South, cleared all the [votes] we had. Where did they come from?” he asked.
Mr Hammond on several occasions sort to clarify his statement but the harm had already been done.
5. Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah is one of the few government appointees known to have little room for issues he may not have interest in.
In a number of his media interactions, he has been cited for going overboard with his expressions and frustrations. With specific regards to ethnocentric comments, in 2018, an audio purported to be the voice of Osei-Mensah was widely circulated for making disparaging remarks about Northerners.
Though he vehemently condemned it and denied it, an investigation was launched into it and no basis were found later on.
A reference to this particular tape reared its ugly head some days ago after the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the Dangers of Ethnocentrism to Ghana’s Unity, Stability demanded of the minister to relinquish his position.
But the Minister who had had enough of the such calls hurled curses on some unidentified people.
In an interview on Neat FM, he said “Whoever recorded that video will go mad before he dies. He will eat at dumping sites before he dies. His children, grandchildren will all feed off dumping sites before they die. The person who did the tape and slapped my picture on it will go mad before dying. I’m saying it for the third time, if the person doesn’t own up, he will go mad before dying.”
6. Former Deputy Agric Minister, William Quaitoo
William Quaitoo, in 2017 came under public spotlight for all the negative reasons.
Unable to stand the heat for his comments, he eventually tendered in his resignation letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on August 29, 2020.
While discussing the impact of the fall armyworm in 2017 on Accra-based Starr FM, the Mr Quaitoo described people from the northern part of Ghana as very difficult people.
In his said interaction he said, “Our brothers [in northern Ghana], it is so difficult to deal with them. I lived there for 27 years, I speak Dagbani like a Dagomba and all that. They are very difficult people. Nobody can substantiate. If anybody says that his farm was destroyed by armyworm, the person would have to come and prove it. We have no records of that. It’s just a way of taking money from the government; that’s what they do all the time…”
For the benefit of doubt, ethnocentrism has been defined by Oxford Languages as evaluating other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one's own culture.
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