BRIGHT SIMONS’ TAKE ON REGIONAL MAJORITY, ETHNOCENTRISM, MIGRATION AND 2012

I understand the sentiment behind this ‘regional majority’ argument making the rounds on facebook. But lots of people are not looking at this critically r rigorously enough.

Some regions are more multi-ethnic than others.

[This whole discussion, by the way, is taking it for granted that ‘tribes’ or ‘ethnic groups’, like ‘races’, are internally coherent ways of categorising complex human beings].

So, a region like the Greater Accra region may well have more Ahantas than Western region or more Sisalas or Walas than Upper West. A great many koulongos (or ‘seikwafou’ in general) now live in Ashanti, perhaps more than live in Brong Ahafo. etc etc.

We need to be rigorous in this kind of debate. Nobody has really bothered to do a proper ethnic census in Ghana so it is hard to segregate ethnic groups cleanly into regions.

That is why IMANI rejected ‘ethnocentrism’ as a driving force in the just-ended elections and chose to use geographical labels alone.

So when you say ‘Akan-dominated regions’, you are referring to landmasses traditionally associated with Akan groups despite changes caused by migration patterns. It says nothing about any ethnocentric sentiments in those regions. For examples, Gas and Adangbes are probably now a minority in the Greater Accra region, but that region is still a Ga-Adangme region. Regions are no longer the measures of ethnic diversity in Ghana.

Also, the NPP is seeing its votes stagnate in key Akan regions like Western, Brong and Central, and there is every reason to believe that millions of Akans voted for the NDC. The ethno-sentiment al arguments fail to see the more intriguing patterns in the voting outcomes by looking at sentiment rather than geo-numerical trends.

Yes, the distinction between ethnocentric and ethno-geographi call may appear subtle, but take your time and you will see there is a world of difference. Also ‘ethnographic extrapolation’ has nothing to do with ethnocentrism. It refers simply to a qualitative research approach often favoured in anthropological studies.

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