Dzifa’s breath smells fear and panic

By Kwabena Opong

Political frustration can breed bad breadth. Even more so it generates poor language skills that could be detrimental for national cohesion and peaceful coexistence. In Rwanda it is such bad choices in language by individuals and on radio that developed into a genocidal war in which several thousands of Rwandans (Rwandese) lost their lives. Ethnocentric prejudice like racism emanates from ignorance, and those engaged in such behavior, if involved in politics use it [politics] as a smokescreen for their ignorant actions and behaviors. And Ms. Dzifa Attivor, Ghana’s former minister of transport happens to be one of such people, unfortunately. She is quoted as spewing the following:
“When the NPP won power in 2001, most ministers who are Ewes were imprisoned, including Serlomey and Abodakpi and a host of other ministers. Does that mean that no individual from any other tribe has faulted in the discharge of their duties?” … “I want to remind you that it is your vote that will decide if Fifi Kwetey and I will be prosecuted and put behind bars or not”.
Hers may not be the first time such statements or statements of ethnocentric import have been made. So many instances are available from both sides of the political divide but this is more than merely being politically motivated. The woman expresses fear and panic while at the same time paints a picture of the opposition New Patriotic Party as vindictive. In her ignorance, she overlooks the import of the venom in her language and the repercussions it could accrue. In her small mind she thinks she can preempt any attempt by the NPP to prosecute her if the party wins the elections.
Has Ms. Attivor been always this prejudiced? Her recent resignation as a minister gave her national prominence as a woman of principle. That action indicated that she was one of a few in Mahama’s government with the guts to stand up to corruption. Now she is giving herself away with this stupid statement borne out of hate, and it is sad. But she was wrong. It is not only Ewes who were targeted for prosecution by the NPP administration, and she knows. And, most importantly, the law that prosecuted those former officials was enacted not by the NPP but by the NDC administration of Jerry John Rawlings. Even more so, as Kwaku Barko, Jr. posited on a JoyFM program on Saturday, April 30, 2016, a committee set up to investigate the insinuations of political justice found no such truth in the accusations.
For Ms. Attivor’s information, targeting and selectivity were the hallmarks of the NDC under its founder’s military and civilian administrations. Rewind to 1982 when three high court judges and a retired military officer were murdered in cold blood. They were all Akans and included a lactating mother. As if the killing was not enough, people who lost their businesses for no other reason than who they happened to be. If indeed the so-called Account 48 is in existence there must be a list of such hardworking people in it.
Dzifa Attivor may be apprehensive of her situation under an Akufo Addo administration. She must be. She needs to be recalled to explain the one million dollar cost per mile of an asphalted road, the highest in Africa. It used to be US$450,000 under Kufuor. What about the US$29 million resurfacing of the Kumasi Airport tarmac? Or the US$40 million refurbishing of the Tamale Airport as well as the high cost of interchanges springing up all over the nation’s capital. She may have the chance to defend herself in a court of law, a privilege some did not have when her protégé Rawlings was in office. Is Dzifa’s discomfort emanating from her share of Smarty’s branding saga?
Ghana and Ghanaians are lucky to have a party and a region whose people do not share Dzifa’s sentiments. The Volta region and the NDC boast of men and women of integrity. Former President Jerry John Rawlings was quick to disown Dzifa for her careless speech. “While I may not be a fan of the NPP, I know their presidential candidate is not tribalistic or ethnocentric. Whatever Nana Addo’s shortcomings, tribalism is not one of them,” he said. NDC regional chairman John Kwadwo Gyapong was also quick to condemn Dzifa saying “Politics is history and I know she was speaking from history…but making such a statement is unfortunate and going on that tangent would destroy Ghana.” Greater Accra NDC Chairman Ade Coker has condemned Dzifa’s statement as in bad taste. He believes Ghanaian politics has been historically vindictive and that it is wrong to single out Ewes as the victims. “As a country, any government that comes to power should not be vindictive. Over the years, since the fall of Kwame Nkrumah, we have practiced this vindictiveness. So, probably, the broader statement that she was trying to make, she has narrowed it down to the Ewes. I do not agree to the narrowness of the statement that she made, but in the broader perspective, she is drawing our attention not to be vindictive,” he told Joy FM in an interview on Wednesday, April 27.
What Dzifa appears to forget is that Volta Region comprises a motley of ethnic groups. Her own party’s regional chairman John Kwadwo Gyapong reminds her. “I am an Akan myself and not an Ewe, so Volta Region is big…if you want unity, there are certain things you shouldn’t do…,” he added.
Some NDC members as well as some Ewes share Ms. Attivor’s sentiments. General Secretary Asiedu Nketiah, Kofi Adams, Koku Anyidoho, Kwadwo Twum Boafo and Kwakye Ofosu are among a few of those that agree with Dzifa but it is not strange. To those it is politics as usual with no hindsight of the likely fallouts. While such unfortunate outbursts are loaded with trouble and rancor among Ghanaians, it has become almost customary to hear such language from politicians. It is believed that ethnocentricity that has bedeviled Ghanaian politics in the 4th Republic was created by Mr. Rawlings. He was fond of telling minorities to be wary of Akans who have used them for so long. Late President John E. Atta Mills asked his Fante kin to vote for him on ethnic grounds – adze wo fie a oye. Mahama has also made similar appeals to his northern compatriots.
As if what she said was not enough, Dzifa has launched another round of blitz against the Kufuor administration for its constant victimization of Messrs. Rawlings and Tsatsu Tsikata. She goes on to deny that she is not prejudiced. The woman has carved out a diabolical program to destroy our country and must be called to order.
If she is principled as she posits herself, she must be ready to face the law to defend her actions and not try to employ preemptive methods to try to escape prosecution. Throwing out incitements among the good people of Volta region and the NDC is a lame effort. It is infantile and unwise.

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Posted by on May 11 2016. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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