The ethnic tension within the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is heightening as the presidential candidate aspirant of the NPP, Joe Ghartey has waded into the fray, calling for restraints on all sides.
The NPP Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu had uttered an infamous statement earlier this week, claiming the next presidential candidate of the party should be a “non-Akan”
In an interview with JoyNews, the Majority Leader said: “Inwardly, I know also have the competence but is it wise for me now immediately after two Akans; Kufour had been the president, Akufo-Addo follows from the Eastern Region and there is a third Akan to follow? Doing introspection, I think it may not hold well for a party that is accused by some as being overly Akanistic party. But not everybody agrees with me. And that is the beauty of democracy.”
Boakye Agyarko, another Presidential hopeful of the NPP who happens to be an Akan had slammed Mensah-Bonsu’s prescription and had described it as “Nonsensical” and “Foolish”.
Mr. Ghartey who comes from the ethnic Ga community is calling on everyone in the party to hold their “horses and exercise restraint.”
“I have followed the statement made by the Majority Leader and the various responses. Whilst I disagree with the Majority Leader, I am pleading that we exercise restraint in our comments. Of course, NPP is not an Akan party, Mr. Ghartey said.
He stated that contrary to the propaganda by some individuals, the NPP was not an Akan party. He said the party has been opened to all Ghanaians over the years and will continue to remain so.
“Aren’t the people of the Central Region Akans? How many seats did we win. 10 out of the 23. How about the Western Region, eight out of 17,” he said, as he elucitaded the ethnically diverse makeup of the ruling party.
Mr Ghartey is therefore urged NPP members and supporters to remain united, saying retaining power in 2024 will require a united front and hard work.
He said even though NPP supporters and members may disagree with some comments from their leaders, they must exercise restraint.
“As a party, we must agree to disagree. But we should exercise restraint. And we should become a kinder and gentler party,” Mr Ghartey urged.
However, it is unclear if Mr. Ghartey’s admonition will quell the tribal chain reaction that has been set in motion in the ruling party.
There are strong hints that President Akufo Addo is attempting to extend his hegemony by installing his Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as his successor.
Dr. Bawumia is from the Northern part of the country in a tribe that is a sort of minority in the ruling party. Already, party loyalists are promising to resist any such attempt by President Akufo Addo to impose Bawumia on them.