Tribal Politics: Not Even Wives of Past & Present Ghanaian Leaders Belong to The Same Ethnic Group

It is unfortunate that the New Patriotic Party (NPP), an offshoot of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia (DDB) tradition, the pace-setters of Ghana’s political evolution, are always wrongly tagged with undeserved names which do not augur well for nation building.

The pre-independence era followers of the tradition were labelled as collaborators of the then colonial government for not speeding up the independence agitations.

Victims of historical accident

The tradition’s adversaries even said our slogan of “Independence within the shortest possible time” was part of the so-called compromise rather than the “Independence now” of the Convention People’s Party.

With the current 1992 Fourth Republican dispensation, it is unfortunate that some members in the National Democratic Congress are still singing the chorus of NPP being a tribal party.

Tribal parties

Framers of our 1992 Constitution in their manifest wisdom, having considered one major weakness of the 1969 Constitution of not appreciating the potency of political parties being formed on regional/tribal lines (PP, Akan dominated; NAL, Ewe dominated) opted for the hybrid type of Constitution to give Ghana a national character.

This is further strengthened by Article 55(4) of the 1992 Constitution that “Every political party shall have a national character, and membership shall not be based on ethnic, religious, regional or sectional divisions.”

It is against this background that the Press Conference recently organised by the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson AsieduNketia (Gen. Mosquito) labelling the NPP as a tribal party always showing disdain towards the good people of the Volta and BrongAhaforegions is most worrying, especially coming from a high profiled personality.

This was in response to Dr MahamaduBawumia’s red flag on the electoral register.

Ghanaians would have cherished it much if the NDC had come out with a counter report disproving Dr Bawumia’s assertion rather than resulting to ethno-centric tendencies.
Proceeding further, I will entreat my brother General Mosquito and others to spend some precious time of theirs to read and analyse recent expositions by my brothers Joe Fraizer, Sammy Dzandu and the recent pronouncements of KokuAnyidoho, the deputy General Secretary.

Uniqueness of Ghana

My research has revealed to me that Ghana boasts of two distinctive features which have been the bedrock of new Africa’s political march, but which are lacking in most African jurisdictions.

The first of these is religious tolerance. Today, the Christian Council of Ghana, Catholic Bishops Conference, Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, Muslim Council of Ghana, Ahmadiyya Mission of Ghana, Traditional Religion believers and others work in unison with the ultimate aim of fostering lasting peace, either in the pre or post-election era. No wonder, the membership of the National Peace Council is dominated by religious groups. What is even marvelous is the newly instituted yearly symposia by the Muslim groups to coincide with the celebration of EidulFitr.

Guest speakers have been either Christian politicians or Christian religious leaders. No wonder that at state funerals or holiday celebrations, we always have the NuhuSharubutus, Bin Salis, Palmer Buckles, Emmanuel Marteys, Duncan Williams, Emmanuel Asantes, OpokuNyinas and others proposing toast to each other; all in the name of peace and nation building.

The second feature is the high rate of inter-tribal marriages among Ghanaians, which may be alien in certain African countries. In Nigeria, sparingly would you find a Yoruba married to an Ibo. In South Africa, it is very uncommon to see a Zulu engaged to a Xhosa. What about the Kalenjis and Kikuyus, Luos and others of Rift Valley of Kenya? The last two are always seen as strangers by the former, who do not merit marriage unions with them. The Hutus and Tutsis’ bitter confrontation in Rwanda which made inter-marriages between them an abomination is still fresh in our minds.

In the diaspora, of every ten marriages contracted among Ghanaians, eight are between various tribes rather than within a tribe. Back home, the inter-tribal marriages have now assumed certain dimensions giving credence to the popular saying of the day that if you want to be a head of state you should always marry outside your tribe or geographical area.

With the exception of Generals Ankrah and Acheampong, who married their kinsmen, all our departed and living heads of state have married from different tribes or geographical areas. They are Nkrumah and Fathia of Egypt, Afrifa/Abdquaye (Ashanti and Fante), Busia/NaaMorkor (Akan and Ga-Adangbe), Akufo-Addo/Adelaide (Akuapem and Akyem), Dr Limann/Fuleira (Sisala of Upper West and Bimoba of Northern Region), Rawlings/Nana Konadu(Ewe and Akan), Kufuor/Theresa (Ashanti and Brong/Fante), Mills/Naadu( Akan and Ga-Adangbe), Mahama/Lordina (Gonja and Brong). And come what may in 2017, it will be a repetitive exercise or Akufo-Addo/Rebecca (Akan and Ga-Adangbe).


Let me drum it to all and sundry that today, Ghana has become a tiny global village, and that generations of today are interested in where they were born rather than the tribe they belong to. To those of us who are still in our deep slumbers and always want to beat non-existing tribal war drums politically, we need to grow up in respect of anything on tribalism.

As Politicians, we should bear in mind that the best of the brains are always outside the corridors of Politics owing to one or two things, and that we need not use our privileged positions to disturb the peace, tranquillity and advancement of this beloved country of ours.The writer is a Private Legal Practitioner and former MP for Kumawu.