Prof Stephen Kwaku Asare says qualifying the ethnic group of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is to invite them into the political conversation and nothing else.
According to him, it would have been prudent for anyone who thinks that there is something fraudulent in the Agyapa deal to have pointed them out and not to qualify a whole group.
In a post on his Facebook timeline, the D&D Fellow in Public Law and Justice at CDD-Ghana wrote, “What really does qualifying Sakawa with Akyem achieve other than to insert Akyem into the conversation?”
He continued: “We can make our points easily without inserting these needless qualifiers that can only hurt feelings and divide.”
President Akufo-Addo at a meeting with the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, complained about the ethnocentric tagging of his ethnic group.
“Sometimes, one would hope when things come out, people will comment on them. The comment made by my opponent: ‘Akyem Sakawa’ people, I have not heard any public figure in this country or anybody comment on it.
“If I was to get up to make a comment about northerners or Gonjas, you can imagine the uproar that will be in the country,” worried Akufo-Addo said.
This was after former President John Dramani Mahama had shared a post of Isaac Adongo, the MP for Bolgatanga Central, which described the President and some people in his government who are Akyems as ‘sakawa’ [a local description of a fraudster].
When asked in an interview with TV XYZ, Mahama stated that the post wasn’t to describe all Akyems as ‘sakawa’ but those behind the controversial Agyapa Royalties deal.
“He [President Akufo-Addo] was an opposition leader who called Presidents before him anything you can imagine, including ‘Prof Do Little’ and then he described somebody as a ‘Simpa Panyin’ and I don’t want to repeat the other things.
“He’s the President who has called his critics naysayers and Jeremiahs”, the NDC flagbearer said, adding: “I don’t understand on what standard he can be offended at this time because he has precedence of name-calling.”
Mahama further mentioned that, “I’ll be the last person to disparage any tribe or ethnic group”.
However, Prof Asare believes that, inserting ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc. is not to invite an inference that everyone in the group is guilty of the impugned act.
He explained: “When they say black rapists they do not mean all rapists are black. They never meant all Tutsis are cockroaches when they said Tutsi cockroach. Greedy Jew is not an invitation to assume all Jews are greedy.”
“Rather, it is often to invite, albeit subtly, something more sinister – contempt for or hatred of the inserted group,” Prof Asare’s post read further.