That African politics today is characterised with ethnicism and divisiveness cannot be disputed or denied by any authoritative and sincere political scientist or cultural critic.
This hitherto unpleasant situation in African politics is a major obstacle and a bane in the smooth and healthy development of the African continent.
The African continent is populated with numerous different ethnic groups. This creates a situation in which the practice of a true and healthy democratic system of governance is difficult, if not impossible.
Partisan politics which is an aspect of democratic system of governance is not easily attainable on the African continent today owing to the strong feelings of ethnic belonging or allegiance. To express this in an unrefined and crude language, tribalism or tribal politics!.
Ethnicism as a refined word for tribalism which manifests ugly and heavily in African body politics which permeates overtly or covertly through the formation of political parties, campaigns political parties during election time; and the casting of votes by the electorate at the polls for the election of candidates for leadership of rule; and the other subsidiary offices of rule in the governance of the country.
Starting from Ghana as the star of Africa and the rest of the African countries such as Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, CoteVoire, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Benin, Liberia, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Angola, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania etc, one can clearly observe the heavy ethnicism of this practice of politics for democratic system of governance.
Why this uncomplimentary and unpleasant situation is so, as stated in the foregoing, is the numerous presence of different ethnic groups on the African continent today, who unfortunately seem to have biases, prejudices, low or high opinions against each other.
This unpleasant state of affairs in African politics today has negatively contributed to the slow progress and development of the African continent as compared to Euro-America and Asia.
This negative situation in African politics can be minimised or even eliminated completely, if Africans will develop a new mentality and consciousness to see themselves as brothers and sisters of African descent with common destiny to attain the goal as dignified and respected human beings who are comparable to Europeans, Americans or Asians.
Ghana is indeed endowed naturally with inexhaustible natural resources; in addition, she has great human resource potential who are capable of harnessing and exploiting the natural resources that Ghana is richly endowed with to benefit the country tremendously in economic growth, development and prosperity.
Similarly, Nigeria and the rest of the other African countries on the continent of African are also endowed with great natural resources that can be harnessed and exploited by human resources that are available in the various African countries to incite economic growth, development and prosperity.
It is unfortunate that Ghanaian and for that matter, Africans see themselves as enemies belonging to different ethnic groups.
And so Africans are divided and have suspicions against each other which do not promote peace, harmony and mutual co-existence for developmental aspirations and prosperity.
Although, they speak different languages, Africans must realise that this should not constitute a barrier to their relationships to each other but rather this should unify them.
This ideal situation can be realised by Africans trying to learn and speak each other’s language to effect communication among themselves, besides the languages of their former colonial masters that they speak, such as English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish etc, who selfishly partitioned the African continent among themselves between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries, to dominate and rule Africans.
Africans learning each other’s language; and furthermore, involving themselves in inter marriages will go a long way to minimise or even eliminate completely the strong ethnic feelings among them.
And this will create a pleasant situation for Africans to see each other as friends, brothers, sisters who are the same and have common destiny as respected human beings. The relatively recent outbreak of ethnic strife and genocide which occurred in Rwanda and Burundi between the Hutus and Tustis must serve as a lesson and warning to all Africans to live in peace and mutual trust among themselves so that they can move together as one people with common destiny to experience progress and development.
If each African country people today beginning with Ghana will renew themselves with this ideal consciousness as one people striving for a common purpose as united and peaceful people, Africans will speedily develop their countries and the African continent will witness an unprecedented pace of development and prosperity which had add to the present time eluded the African continent.
Ghana as the star of Africa must set the pace now for the rest of Africa to follow suite.
Thus, Ghanaians must now try to eschew all manifestation ethnicism in the body politic of the country.
Ethnicism must be eschewed and shunned now among Ghanaians in the formation of political parties and electoral process for the choosing of political leaders and other roles of rules irrespective of ethnic belongings, so that the democratic process of governance will be efficacious in practice to make it credible and effective in the rule of Ghana, to bring about realistic and meaningful development of the country, which had eluded her, since attaining political independence on 6th March 1967 from British rule and exploitation.
Ghana had for far too long been in the wilderness as a victim of ethnicism in her efforts to experience development and prosperity through democratic system governance.
ethnicism is therefore evil, baneful and a hindrance to Ghana’s developmental aspirations such as the present ongoing developmental program of “Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda”.
If this evil and deadly canker of ethnicism is eschewed and eliminated from the body of politics of Ghana, the “Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda” will be greatly enhanced to achieve great success.
All Ghanaians from all wards of life irrespective of ethnic group or belonging must come on deck of the “State Ship” and move together as one people with a common destiny so that Ghana can speedily move forward to experience realistic development and progress.
A country is not built or developed on the basis of ethnicism and divisiveness; and therefore, Ghanaians must learn from the Americans who are champions of democratic system of governance in the modern world today and other true effective democracies prevailing in the other of the world today.
This learning and emulation will definitely improve upon Ghana’s present practice of democracy to serve as a prototype and a fore runner to the rest of the African countries to emulate.
In conclusion, I am highly optimistic, and have a firm belief that Ghanaians will sacrifice enough to become selfless; and narrow minded, naive and parochial in their thinking and consciousness so as to eschew ethnicism in their practice of democratic governance.
This will make Ghana to become a beacon and a very high shining star on the African continent to inspire Africans to work positively and concertedly to the development of African continent to experience optimum economic growth, development and prosperity.
Ghana must therefore live up to this great expectectation to lift the African continent out of it present underdevelopment, poverty, disease, misery and suffering; for Africans are destiny to experience a very high level of economic growth, development and prosperity as Europeans, Americans and Asians in the present era of twenty first century.
BY MICHAEL AKENOO