Author: Magnus RexDanquah
A ‘NORTHERN’ has been defined as an unestablished informal term used by the public, especially people of the southern Ghana, to refer to Ghanaians who hail from the then three northernmost Regions of Ghana, namely; the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
One of the major acts of the Akufo-Addo government in its first term in 2018 was the new regions referendum, which re-defined the northern sector as encompassing Upper West, Upper East, North East, Northern and Savannah regions of Ghana.
Over the years, since Ghana’s independence in 1957, we have all been fixated by the tribe of the Prime Minister or President or the Chairman of whatever Military Junta or of the numerous Presidential Candidates of whatever political parties contesting the elections as managed by the various Electoral Commissions of Ghana, for one reason or the other.
Not that we are tribal bigots as a people and as a nation – intolerant or hateful towards each other and or others of different ethnicity or religion; but that we have always seen tribalism as one of the variables of political discourses; justifying our hatred towards others on the basis of which political party one belongs to or affiliated with because of the tribal undertones.
Indeed, in recent times, we have gone to the extremities of aligning particular political parties with specific tribes because of the leadership or the genesis of the political heritage, which is defined by the tribe of presidential candidate at the formation of the party or the leader of the party, when he is also the President or Prime Minister of the governing party.
For the records, we have had one (1) Nzema Head of Government as Prime Minister and later, Head of State as President; one (1) Ga Military Head of State; one (1) Ewe Head of State as Chairman of Military Juntas and later, Head of State as President; two (2) Northern Heads of State as Presidents; and eight (8) Akan Heads of Government (Dr. K. A. Busia) and Heads of State (including three Military Generals).
The issue of tribe has become an issue now because for the first time in the history of our national politics, the two major political parties will be fielding Northerners as their Presidential Candidates, namely John Dramani Mahama for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana and the Presidential Candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
I recall the elections of 2012, when the then Vice-Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia was at his showmanship best element, proselytizing all forms of economic theories, jargons and solutions to the myriad of economic problems that Ghana was faced with in those days; including the 170 (one hundred and seventy) economic questions sent to my late senior, Paa Kwesi Amissah – Arthur.
What he forgot was an appreciation of one fact of life that ‘what goes around, comes around’; and therefore 2020 comes and he couldn’t answer the same questions he set someone else. Indeed, he even forgot the basic question that when the economy is anemic, lacking power, vigor, vitality, or colorfulness, the exchange rate will not only expose you but that he needed to connive with the central bank of the country to print new one hundred and two hundred Ghana Cedis notes with impunity and without recourse to the Parliament House to create a spiral inflation.
What I find fascinating with the coming encounter of the ‘THRILLER OF THE NORTHERN GHANA’, the bout of the two Northern Presidential Candidates of the two major political parties, i.e., the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), is the extent that this particular encounter will shape our local, national and international perceptions of the northern parts of Ghana in our body politick: remembering all the landmarks that have been achieved by the north before Independence, our fight for Independence and Ghana post-independence.
It is also key to situate the fathers of the two gentlemen and their roles in Ghana’s post-independence struggles to shape the future of our infant democracy then: a diversion that cannot be lost on us, no matter how jaundiced the glasses that each and everyone of us will use in appreciating the matter of the 2024 Presidential Elections between the two candidates from the North.
Dr. Bawumia’s father, Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia was a teacher, lawyer and politician, a Mamprugu Royal and Chief of the Kpariga Traditional Area at the time of his death in September, 2002.
He was a founding member of the Northern People’s Party alongside Chief S. D. Dombo, Chief Abeifa Karbo, Yakubu Tali, the Tolon Naa, and J. A. Braimah, Kabachewura. WIKIPEDIA
The Northern People’s Party, together with the National Liberation Movement and other opposition political parties, later merged into the United Party, the forebear of the current New Patriotic Party.
Alhaji Bawumia served under various Ghanaian governments in various capacities, including member of the Northern Territories Council, the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly, a Member of Parliament of the First Republic, Northern Regional Minister, and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Alhaji Bawumia was awarded the high national honour of Member of the Order of the Star of Ghana in March 1999. He served as chairman of the Council of State, under the presidency of the late J. J. Rawlings from 1993 to 2000 in the 4th Republic.
Dramani Mahama’s father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama was a Ghanaian politician. He served as a Member of Parliament during the First Republic of Ghana under the Convention People’s Party (CPP).
An educator and rice farmer, he was the first Minister of State for the Northern Region under the Nkrumah government. Mahama also served as a senior presidential advisor during Ghana’s Third Republic under Hilla Limann. He was also the first MP for the West Gonja constituency. WIKIPEDIA
The shadow boxing underpinning the contest between these two gentlemen started with the crescendo announcement of the ‘24-HOUR ECONOMY’, which was first, condemned as nothing new; second, tagged as pirated from the ‘digitalization’ phenomenon; and then thirdly and finally, stolen from a sneak preview of the yet-to-launched manifesto?
You see this is the first time in the history of Ghana Politics, that the two main political parties are fielding Northerner presidential candidates; and thereby raising the anticipated tempo of the campaigns several octaves higher than the usual.
Don’t get me wrong that I do not intend to raise the decibels of the cacophony of sounds of accusations, rebuttals, wrong claims of rights as to who originated what ideas or innovations that will lead Ghana to the promise land, especially as the escalating exchange rates exposed the ‘quacks’ years ago. What this brought in its wake is never to be too quick to claim ‘sainthood’, when the real tests do not start with when one is a spectator, schooled in the queen’s English and laced with a unique laughter, which is only akin to horror films, when the ‘ghost’ is just round the corner, and where kids clutch the hands of mothers as if the world is coming to an end.
I am not by any means advocating violent campaigning because of what many of us are afraid to say but to play the devil’s advocate and state that: “We will hold the two equally accountable for any political upheavals, disorders, alterations, turmoil, commotions or show of any kinds of violence during their political campaigns.
The whole nation will never forgive any one of them, if for any reason, they live up to the billing and exact violence through their supporters on innocent bystanders during their campaigns across the length and breadth of this country.
I won’t be the hypocrite nor play the ostrich but state what everybody else is thinking but afraid to voice it out loudly: that there will be so much violence with the 2024 national elections because the two main candidates are from the Northern Ghana and therefore, we will witness the highest forms of violence as was exercised as well as witnessed during the ‘M’ATE ME HO’ days.
You know, in the minds of many Ghanaians, the two gentlemen of the Northern Ghana, pitching their political parties against each other, might trigger the worst form of violence ever under the Fourth Republican Dispensation, during the coming elections. In our individual homes, I can assure you the most discussed topic since the last quarter of the year, 2023 to the elections 2024 December will the possibility of mayhem from hired hoodlums of the two main political parties. This is against the wrong perceptions of our political past.
The pledge I want the two presidential candidates to sign and swear to, is a public declaration of NON-VIOLENT CAMPAIGNING from both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and endorsed by their respective Party Chairmen of Steve Ntim and Asiedu Nketsia.
The two gentlemen should know that this act and subsequent manifestation of non-violent campaigning during National Elections 2024, will definitely redefine the character, unity and spirit of the North for the next century, even more especially open the door for the next set of presidential candidates from the northern Ghana for the two major political parties before the turn of the millennium.
Need I say more…?
By Magnus Naabe RexDanquah