The Minority Spokeperson on Education Hon. Peter Nortsu-Kotoe has presented a statement to Parliament of Ghana on behalf of the Volta MPs Caucus on the recent published History of Ghana textbooks that contained derogatory contents against the Ewe people of the Volta Region.
The statement presented to the 8th Parliament under the speakership of Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin reads;
Rt. Hon Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to make this statement on behalf of the Volta Region Members of Parliament Caucus on recently published textbooks for use in our schools which portray the Ewe people in very bad light.
Mr. Speaker, the history of Ghana cannot be said to be complete without the people of Volta Region. As a region we have and continue to play a very important role in the economic, social and political development of the country. Traditionally, our revered chiefs play very crucial roles in the maintenance of peace and resolution of traditional matters.
Citizens of the Volta region, like any other region in this country have held and continue to hold positions of high repute to make the country move forward as one country united with one purpose.
However, Mr. Speaker, the Ewe people in Ghana do not receive the needed recognition as citizens of Ghana as having equal opportunities in political, economic and social affairs of the country. Many a time, political leaders in this country make derogatory remarks about the Ewe people which we have taken for granted. The first of its kind was in the late 1960s when a leading political figure in this country referred to the Ewes as “inward looking people.” That remark at the time is still on the lips of some Ghanaian politicians. A recent statement by another politician was that all Ewes in Ghana were Togolese. This brings to mind the ignorance of some people that the Ewes and for that matter the former Volta Region became an integral part of the Gold Coast now Ghana through legitimate means and that the people were not annexed through wars.
Mr Speaker, the last straw which broke the camel’s back is the derogatory remarks contained in a number of textbooks written for use in our basic schools in the country. Every ethnic group in this country has unique features, characteristics, values and norms. Every ethnic group in this country has a cultural identity such as traditional deities that are cherished and preserved. It is therefore naive for the publication of textbooks that tend to portray the Ewe ethnic group as a voodoo worshipping people. In a world of development where science and technology have become the order of the day, a publisher in his figment of imagination thinks that it is juju that makes a team win a football match and assign such magical powers to the Ewe people.
In the said book, History of Ghana by Badu Nkansah Publications, Textbook 3, a reference is made to the erroneous impression that the Ewes vote for their chiefs to be selected. We see this as a distortion of our tradition and history and feel slighted by the publishers of this book. The book further alleges that this so-called “vote” for chiefs is influenced by the elders. The publishers must note that the Ewe people have rich cultures including rite to succession of chiefs and nowhere in Ewe land that the ballot is used to select a chief. We have defined traditional steps and rites that are followed like any other tribe in Ghana for succession to our chieftaincy stools.
Mr. Speaker, the Volta MPs Caucus of Ghana’s Parliament has taken notice of the public outrage and condemnation against the publisher’s clear ethnocentric and divisive content. It is important to state unequivocally that as a caucus we find the contents of these books most distasteful, backward, unacceptable and most reprehensible. It is a part of a grand scheme by certain individuals to deliberately denigrate, vilify, indoctrinate and poison the minds of people against the Ewe ethnic group.
Mr. Speaker, today it is the Ewe ethnic group; tomorrow it could be another tribe in Ghana. As a nation, we need to stand for each other so that we do not engage in tribal bigotry and tendencies that can divide us.
In conclusion, Mr Speaker, it is important that the various state agencies and institutions live up to expectation so that matters of this nature do not escalate into heart –breaking events.
There is the need to unite this country as having one Destiny with One People and move forward. We therefore call for the immediate withdrawal of these books from our schools and bookshops by the Ministry of Education and the publishers are made to suffer the necessary sanctions to serve as deterrent to others.