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General News
Teachers, students urged to discourage tribal politics 4/23/2007
Winneba (C/R), April 22, GNA - Graduate teachers and students in the country''s universities have been urged to help reverse tribal politics because it has the potential of sowing a perpetual seed of discord among the people and eventually retard effective social, economic integration and democratic development of the country.

Mr Ignatius Joseph Obeng, a lecturer at the Department of Social Studies Education, University of Education, Winneba, made the call at a durbar to round off activities marking the 10th anniversary of Social Studies Students'' Association (SOSSA) of the UEW at Winneba on Friday.

Mr Obeng also extended similar call to traditional councils, churches and other religious organizations, civil society organizations, district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies to join the national crusade at reversing the trend.

Speaking on the topic: "The role of the graduate teacher in combating tribal politics", Mr Obeng mentioned nepotism, mediocrity, inefficiency and other wrong-doings, which tribal politics promoted, adding that strenuous efforts must be made collectively to halt "symptoms" of tribal politics to pave the way for national cohesion and sustainable development at all levels.

He also spoke about the multiplication of tribal associations such as, Asante, Ewes, Denkyira, Assin, Bono, and Northern Students'' Unions, in the country''s universities.

He said: "the formation of these tribal groupings in itself may not be evil but all of us are aware that when it is time to elect SRC, NUGS and GNATOC officials, ethnic or tribal-based associations sponsor candidates, and at their meetings, leaders of these groups impress upon their members to vote unblock for their tribesmen or tribes women without considering the competences, abilities, and capabilities of such people".

"This is why today the students'' front continues to tear apart due to the lack of visionary leaders to champion the course of students", Mr Obeng added.

Mr Obeng said his observations about the growing numbers of tribal students'' groupings in the universities did not necessarily call for the banning of tribal students'' associations, but expressed the hope that these associations would limit their activities to social matters.

Mr Obeng urged graduate teachers to refuse to be part of any tribal grouping whether formed on or off campus to promote the parochial political agenda of tribe members.

He charged graduate teachers to contribute to political discussions by looking at issues as they are and not to attack personalities on tribal lines, adding that in this way, graduate teachers would develop a sense of respect for divergent political views as well as political tolerance for people from various parties and tribes.

Mr Obeng said graduate teachers must learn to vote for politicians of vision and with the requisite skills and knowledge with which they could deliver if given the mandate.

They should also learn to tell the truth all the times, especially where political leaders from their tribes go wrong because ''we are all fallible in one way or the other'' saying, this would bring some neutrality into the country''s our body politic.

Mr Joseph Boahene Aidoo, former Western Regional Minister, and Mr Alex Tetteh Enyoh, former Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) and MP for Damgbe East, also spoke on tribal politics and the threat it posed to the country''s future political development. Mr Boahene Aidoo recalled past election results that had emanated from Ashanti and Volta Regions on behalf of past and present presidential candidates as well as parliamentarians who represented NDC and NPP.

He admitted that such situations did not augur well for cohesive national development and expressed the hope that with intensive civic education the trend could be reversed.

Mr Tettey Enyoh charged teachers in the country''s primary, secondary and tertiary institutions to initiate measures to teach their pupils and students the need to shun ethnic sentiments right from school so that they could see themselves as one people with a common destiny. Mr Tettey Enyoh who presided over the function, praised leaders and members of the Association for organizing the durbar, and advised them to maintain the unity, understanding and vision of members to enable the association to play a meaningful role in the administration of the University.

Madam Akosua Ankomanyi, Deputy National Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), urged graduate teachers to encourage inter-tribal marriages, saying that that was one of the surest means of eradicating the problem of tribal politics and other issues that divide the people. 22 April 07Source:
GNA

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