Political Activist Dr. Sekou Nkrumah says Northerners and Ewes have been disrespected in Ghana for many years.
“The fact of the matter is that, you know, Northerners and Ewes – it’s unfortunate to say, but for many years – have been looked down upon,” he told XYZ Breakfast Show host Moro Awudu.
Discussing the ethnic composition of the new crop of national executives for the main opposition New Patriotic Party and the place of ethnicity in Ghanaian politics, the son of Ghana’s first President said: “That has been part of the situation in Ghana” for several years.
“Of course, as we mature and grow, we are overcoming that,” he observed; adding that: “I think one of the legacies of [Dr. Kwame] Nkrumah was to focus on the free education in the north, to educate a lot more so that it breaches the gap between south and north.”
“And again, one of the things that make [former President Jerry] Rawlings very popular in the northern region, is the extension of electricity to the region and so on,” Dr. Nkrumah noted.
In his opinion, any benefactor party that is able to provide the needs of various groups of people, devoid of ethnic bias, is likely to win more supporters among those groups.
“So you would see that if you have a leadership that is focused on addressing needs of people and so on irrespective of tribes – but in this case – looking at who exactly needs more attention and so on, then of course you could have a lot more support and sympathy.”
Ghana’s political landscape is enmeshed in tribalism. For instance, Akans are widely perceived as supporters of the main opposition NPP while Northerners and Ewes are seen as followers of the governing NDC.
The NPP has over the years enjoyed massive support in the Ashanti region while the NDC describes the Volta region as its world bank because of the huge support it also has there.
Dr. Nkrumah said the NPP will, therefore, be doing itself a big favour, if, besides having elected a Northerner – Paul Afoko – as national Chairman, also allows either a Northerner or an Ewe to be its flagbearer in future elections.
According to him, that is the surest way by which the party can fight its pro Akan-tag.