DIVERSITY IN POLITICS AND TRIBES BUT ONE PEOPLE. THE NEED FOR PEACE IN ELECTIONS 2016Jonilar
As a young Police officer who had just passed out from the training school at Koforidua, I was always on my knees praying to my God not to send me to Volta Region, Northern Region, Upper East or West Regions. As a boy growing up in Takoradi, I heard a lot of evil things about people living the Regions that I mentioned. The most scaring tales of demons were about the people from Volta Region and so the day that our posting came and I realized that I have been posted to Volta Region, I wept. I really wept as our mates who were going to other regions apart from the ones I mentioned earlier on were jubilating, I kept on weeping. Finally my family and friends in Takoradi started calling me to ask me about our postings. Anytime I mention Volta Region, they will exclaim on the phone. What really broke my heart were calls from my elder brother who is a staunch Christian. Immediately I mentioned Volta Region, he asked me whether I cannot do anything to change it? I said no. He really said a lot that scared me. Not quite long my elder sister also called and preceded whatever she was going to say with tears. She was crying aloud that I could hear people at the background asking her whether there is something wrong with me. She really cried and even said that if possible I should come back home than to go to Volta Region and be killed. I had to hang the phone because I was really getting afraid. Some said I should not eat in one bowl with the people. Others said I should not take a girlfriend from there and a whole lot that really got me confused and scared.
Finally the Volta Region Police bus came and we had to go. In fact I nearly ran to Takoradi. It took some of our mates who come from the Region and have been posted there to psyche me up a bit before I carried my “chop” box to come and finally joined the bus. I was really scared and nervous. I realized I was not alone. All the Akan boys who have little or no idea about people from the Volta Region were nervous and scared. Their families and friends might have told them the same things they told me. Volta Region is a land of demons and wicked people. It is a land of fetishes and spiritual assassination of people. From Koforidua to Ho, not quite long we reached. Immediately we got to Ho and I was told we have reached, I felt goose bumps on my skin. I was psychologically disturbed because I have come to the land of death, I assumed. The bus stopped and quickly the Ewe boys got out and were roaming about. The Akan boys remained in the bus. For close to two hours I was in the bus with some guys but how long can you stay in the bus? We by all means have to come out. I brought my first leg out and stepped on the ground. I asked a friend whether he still sees me? He said yes. I then brought out the second leg and asked him the same question and he responded in affirmative. I was thinking I have vanished into the thing air without a trace because that is what I have been told about Volta Region. I started looking at the soil and said to myself this a different soil. Even the color is different. A whole lot went on in me that made me shivered in broad daylight. Finally some of the boys came out of their shells and started going to Ho Township to buy food and other things. I again realized that the Akan boys were always walking in groups. I guessed it was a mechanism for protection. At Ho too, we were again posted to other places. I and a very good friend of mine with whom I have almost everything in common apart from our individual bodies were posted to Kpando. I had heard a lot about Kpando because of Heart of Lions football club. I was a bit relieved. We were to go Hohoe first and from there to Kpando. On reaching Hohoe, I was really surprised to see such a beautiful town. Above it all, the office of Bank of Ghana. I really longed to stay at Hohoe but that was not my destination. Finally another Police vehicle came for us to Kpando. It had rained heavily and the road and some parts of the town were flooded. Something I still remember till today. Very memorable as far as my stay in Volta Region is concerned. We got to the Police station and they showed us our rooms. I sighed a relief. It has not been easy from Koforidua to Ho through Hohoe and finally Kpando with its psychological problems.
Life in Kpando was very interesting. Initially I was indoors because I have been advised by family and friends back home but the question is how long you will stay indoors? You certainly cannot do policing in your room. You must go out and chase criminals. Kwame and I were doing most of the arrest since we were young and had fresh blood in us. Not quite long we adapted into our new environment and realised that the people at Kpando are not different from Takoradi and Koforidua. The only problem was the language. We really had good time at Kpando as young Police officers. It was Kpando that I had my first adult sex apart from the “Maame and Paapa” ones we had as playful children. Kwame and I stayed at Kpando for six months and were reposted. This time Kwame and I were separated. We had different stations this time round. There is always a breaking point of separation in people’s life and so Kwame and I went our separate ways and left our beloved Kpando behind. Six years after leaving Kpando, I still miss the place dearly. I miss the food and everything about Kpando. That was the first place I passed the night in the Volta Region.
In my African studies class, the lecturer mentioned about the Herero’s located somewhere in Southern Africa as a group of people who practiced polyandry. A system of marriage where a woman is allowed to marry more than one man. The whole class expressed their dissatisfaction about such practices but obviously the lecturer who might have traveled extensively was not surprised because as the saying goes, travel and see. It was a shock for us to here that elsewhere on the same continent of Africa a woman is allowed to marry more than one man whilst for us here, it is a taboo and abomination for woman to have multiple sex partners. That is their culture, practices and beliefs. Among the Masai’s in present day Kenya, your father should be the first to go to bed with your wife if you are newly married. That is how they lead their lives. Cultures, beliefs and practices vary widely as far as human beings are concerned but it does not make one better than other.
If I had not come to Volta Region, I would not have known that even in the region, not all the people speak Ewe. The people of Abotoase speak twi purely and owe allegiance to Asantehene. The guan speaking tribes are found beyond Hohoe. The Krachis and other tribes are also scattered up north. Even among the Ewe speaking tribes, there are dialectical differences. The Anlos, the Tongs and Vedomes are all Ewe speaking tribes but one has to pay a rapt attention when one is speaking. Volta Region is a land of diverse people with different cultural backgrounds and until you travel there, you will never know but rather fill your head with misconceptions. I was surprised to find churches and mosques in the region because I was told only demons and wicked people live there. I am sure we all have misconceptions about people who are not from our tribes and that is a sickness that we need to cure ourselves from especially when elections are approaching and we need to stay in peace despite controversy over the voters ‘register which many politicians from the political divide claim is a recipe for chaos. Misconceptions and tribal pride have eaten deep into our skull to an extent that at workplaces some see themselves better than others. We find it very difficult to accept people who are not from our tribes to be our head of departments or institutions. In some cases we work to sabotage them. We go home and bow to our chiefs and treat chiefs from other tribes with contempt. It is megalomaniac and we need to stop it in order to foster unity among ourselves as a nation.
Throughout the world the world, the only thing that distinguish us is our cultural beliefs and practices and Ghana is not different. Though some have used their cultural beliefs and practices to suppress others, it does not change the fact that we are all human beings with blood going through our veins. As election 2016 comes, many unscrupulous people will stand up to play tribal cards and incite tribes against others. Let us shunned them. Some people will stand up to exhibit their tribal superiority over their others. Let avoid them. As usual many tapes will come out to purport some political parties to be Akans, Ewe, Gonjas and a whole lot that has the tendencies to destabilize us as a country, let us ignore them. Some politicians will call on their tribes to vote for them so that will have a bigger share of the national cake. Let us be reasonable about them. We may be different people from different political and cultural backgrounds but we are all occupying a space on the globe called Ghana. Despite our diverse background in politics, culture, beliefs and practices, we are one people who need peace whether the voters’ register is changed or not. Our lives matter more than election 2016 though necessary.
It does not matter who you are, what matters is peace during election 2016 and beyond.