Former Trade Minister Dr Ekow Spio-Gabrah has revived an old attack against the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), which he labelled as a tribal party.
He said while the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) accommodates non-Akans, the same could not be said about it arch political rival, the NPP.
Speaking after an NDC press conference to announce its manual registration exercise, Dr Spio-Gabrah said the NPP is purely a tribal entity.
“The [NDC] is a party that has had Presidents from the Volta, Central and Northern Regions [but] this is not the case in the NPP,” he told Joy News’ Joseph Ackah-Blay.
The two parties have a history of trading tribal claims in their attempt to win votes, a ploy that peaked in the lead up to the 2016 general elections.
Spio-Gabrah’s comments is a recycled version of the then President John Mahama’s call to voters in the three regions of the North to vote for the NDC because it is the only party that allows Northerners to rise to the height of political power.
John Mahama and the NDC General Secretary Asiedu Nketia have all suggested the NPP would reject Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia if he attempts to contest for the presidential candidate of his party because he hails from the North.
Former Finance minister Osafo Maafo was also accused of making ethnocentric comments in a recorded video in which he is said to have argued that only persons from resource-rich regions should become president.
The suggestion was that resource-rich regions are largely Akan dominated areas where NPP has its strongholds. But the leading NPP figure maintained the February 2015 recording was doctored.
Mr Spio-Gabrah tipped to contest for the NDC flagbearer in 2018, said the NPP is more tribal because it has precluded non-Akans from becoming flagbearer of the party.
“The party [NDC] is nationally based but there are some parties which have declared that their leader should not come outside the five Akan regions,” he said referring to Osafo Maafo’s 2015 comment.
But Deputy General Secretary, Nana Obiri-Boahen has dismissed the claim on Joy FM’s Top Story, saying it is “unacceptable and historically incorrect.”
“I was expecting him to speak like a mature politician and not a neophyte,” he told Evans Mensah host of the programme, adding Dr Spio-Gabrah lowered his standard with his tribal comment.
Political scientist, Dr Bossman Asare said the nature of Ghana’s politics makes it possible for people to make statements that are “unacceptable” like what Dr Spio-Gabrah made.
He said the NPP could no longer be described as a tribal party because of its performance in last year’s election especially in the three regions of the north.
“The media should be discouraging this kind of discussions,” the Head of the Political Science Department at the University of Ghana said.