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Blundering Old Osafo Marfo and the Primitively Tribal NPP


Now that he has been exposed as a tribal bigot, poor Osafo Marfo, the former Finance Minister in the Kufuor administration must be squirming, wringing his hands in anger and frustration, and absolutely regretting his ill-timed and poor decision to candidly say loud what most southern politicians would only mutter.

At an NPP elders confab in the Eastern Region last month, Marfo inexplicably confided in his peers that southerners whose regions produce much of the natural resources that power the national economy were being given the shaft, shut out of political power.

The country, he continued bitterly, is run by individuals from regions with scant resources.  Unbeknown to this pea-brained, blundering old politician, someone, a true patriot I must add, had secretly recorded his perturbed musings.

Reactions to Marfo’s vituperations were swift; the blowback was unrelenting.  He was condemned in no uncertain terms by, of course, his political opponents who called on the NPP to repudiate Marfo’s comments.  A demonstration, a favorite past time of Ghanaians these days, was quickly organized to protest tribal bigotry in general and to highlight the dangers of engaging in it.

As would be expected from someone caught with his pants down, Marfo denied uttering those words. He howled and screamed that he had been misquoted and that the voice on the recording was doctored and manipulated to cast him in bad light. “I have northern friends,” he added, strangely.

Marfo’s outrageous comments point to a larger story, one  that is not lost the Ghanaian population; his party, the NPP castigated severally for being primitively tribal, from all indications, has not demonstrated a willingness to shed this ugly image. This failure to address its internal ills unfortunately continues to exert a negative influence on its dealings with the ruling NDC.

Out of power for two presidential election cycles, the NPP is desperate and has on numerous occasions displayed temper tantrums peculiar to a child who cannot get what it sorely craves. It is certainly not out of place to maintain trenchantly that the NPP has been relentless and unapologetic in fanning the flames of intolerance and bigotry evidenced by its petty and incessant criticism of President Mahama and almost every initiative he puts out.

Some within NPP hierarchy have used the derogatory term, pepeni, to describe Mahama and NDC ministers of northern extraction.  Even the rank and file has enthusiastically embraced this repugnant behavior — the tribal tinged placards at the recent NPP orchestrated “dumsor” demonstration in Kumasi –  are ample evidence of the party’s entrenched bigotry.

That Marfo and others of his ilk feel emboldened to spew such tribal hatred is due entirely to the NPP’s abject failure to take stern measures against them or put in place mechanisms that will censure such behavior. Indeed, the party has created a comfortable environment for these tribal bigots to operate in. It is a dangerous trajectory that could come back to haunt the party and ultimately doom its quest to wrest power from the NDC. Ghanaians will once again soundly reject overtures from the NPP to be their political guardians.

Tribal politics, sadly, has become an ugly feature of African politics. It is destructive and anathema to democracy. Those who engage in it invariably wind up endangering their tribes and society. The stories of Ivory Coast, South Sudan, Kenya and Nigeria should serve as lessons to the likes of Marfo and the NPP, and of course to the wider Ghanaian society.

Our society has avoided the pitfalls of tribal bigotry and for good reason; we are remarkably tolerant, a virtue that has made us the most admired society in trouble-plagued West Africa. Ghanaians don’t want a fraternal conflagration and as such are distrustful and wary of a party that seeks the interests of one ethnic group to the exclusion of others.




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