Can CPP win in 2016? By Ade Sawyerr

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Since Ivor Greenstreet won a spectacular election to become the CPP flag bearer, I have been asked this question by several people who know my passion for the Party that is Supreme but who also know that I am honest in my writings about the party. So I have been wondering what it really takes to win a presidential election in Ghana.

For instance if it is about the number of times the candidate stands then we have a clear winner because Edward Mahama is running his fourth campaign after taking a break in 2012 for Hassan Ayariga to run.  Nana Akufo Addo is on his third run, and so is Paa Kwesi Nduom, but Atta Mills won on his third run after changing his running mates each time.  If Abu Sakara were to make good his promise to run as an independent and Hassan Ayariga gets his party registered, then they will join, Henry Lartey and John Mahama in making their second run except that John Mahama won on his first attempt.  Rawlings also won on his first attempt and Kufour on his second after changing running mate.  So it not about the number of times you run.

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‘Africans Were In Britain Before The English…’

This powerful statement of fact is how historian Peter Fryer started his seminal book Staying Power (Pluto Press, 1984) documenting the black presence in Britain

SONGSTRESS: An unnamed member of The African Choir from South
Africa who played concerts for a high-profile audience including Queen Victoria, courtesy of Hulton Archive/Getty Images

 

IT IS a notion that would confound most people, particularly against the backdrop of today’s fierce debate on migration. Yet the truth remains that African history in Britain stretches back to the 3rd Century when valiant and gallant soldiers fought beside the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Though a few of these largely forgotten heroes remained in England, Scotland and Wales, the focus has been on Africans as slaves and servants in royal courts in the stories of people like Quobna Ottobah Cugano, Olaudah Equiano and others
who documented their lives in Britain.

After the transatlantic slave trade, Africans started coming to this country as much sought-after musicians and performers in the courts of nobility. Others came as seafarers working on ships that brought raw materials from
the colonies to Britain and returned with finished goods fashioned for the tropics.

They settled mainly in the port towns of Bristol, Liverpool and Portsmouth and through the advent of colonialisation
others were brought here to learn the language so that they would act as interpreters to aid trade with Africa.

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E. A. Ammah’s Ethnographic Vision By Marion Kilson

In 2016 Sub-Saharan Publishers will publish Kings, Priests, & Kinsmen: Essays on Ga Culture and Society by E. A. Ammah, edited by Marion Kilson.  This essay is based on Marion Kilson’s introduction to the volume.

AtaaAmmahE. A. Ammah (1900-1980) gained renown as an authority on Ga culture and society beginning in the 1930s. He was the first Ga person to speak on the radio about Hɔmɔwɔ and he published a number of essays in the Ghanaian press over the years.  As the head of one of three Ga royal houses, he was an active participant in the proceedings of the Ga Royal Council for many years.  As a devout Anglican, he sought to demonstrate the correspondences between Ga religion and Christianity as well as other world religions including Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.[1] His interests in Ga cultural studies were wide-ranging including social organization, political history, life transition ceremonies, and religion.

A close reading of E. A. Ammah’s essays reveals that his ethnographic vision had two principal components. The first was ensuring the accurate recording and interpretation of Ga institutions and the second was positioning Ga culture within the context of other world cultures.   The first was a concern from the time that he began researching traditional Ga religion in the 1930s and the second seems to have emerged in his writing in the early 1960s.

Ga-focused Ethnographic Vision

In pursuit of ethnographic accuracy, E. A. Ammah not only took meticulous interview notes like those enshrined in his 1937 field diary but took to task others who did not record the ethnographic facts as he understood them.   He wrote a blistering 1941 review essay of M. J. Field’s book, Social Organization of the Ga People.  In it he ridiculed the first major British ethnographer of Ga society for her misinterpretation of the Ga political system.  His critique begins: “Some of the disclosures are as startling as they are vexatious.  The theory that she so remarkably attempts to develop is that (1) the Gas are not one people either in origin or organization; (2) that each town is an independent republic with its own territory and its own unique set of customs; (3) that there has never been any political association between the towns and they have never had a paramount chief… (4) that the stool is not a monarch’s throne…and (5) that the Government of every town is a gerontocracy.”  With this opening salvo, Ammah proceeds to challenge each of these “vexatious” formulations pointing out his perception of Field’s errors of fact and interpretation.  Mr. Ammah was not the only one who objected to Field’s characterization of the Ga polity, for two months later a newspaper editorial stated “Readers will remember that following the release of the book for sale critical reviews and protests began to appear, particularly from the Ga State Council in the press.  A representative of the same Council submitted objections to the Eastern Provincial Council of Chiefs…This was accompanied by the slaughter of sheep to remove…the stigma of insult brought on the Stools and the tribe by the statements published and asked that representation be made with a view to the withdrawal of the book.”  Despite the barrage of Ga-inspired criticism, the book lives on!

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