I don’t know the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin. I have no familiarity with his party affiliation, nor, do I have any sense of his political leanings, agenda items or ultimate political aspirations.
Moreover, for purposes of my commentary, none of that matters. I only wish to discuss his recent decision to wear traditional cloth during MP meetings and the motivation he has offered for his actions.
While I agree with the old adage that ‘clothes do not make the man’, I proffer, psychologically speaking, that one’s clothing often permits us to peer inside the mind for a glimpse as to the man’s perceptions of himself, vis-a-vis the global context in which he lives, and his critical thinking regarding the resources at his disposal and how they may enhance his ability to alter his circumstance while simultaneously assisting others.
Given Ghana’s colonial history and a comparatively short period of ‘independence,’ its contemporary socio-political and economic infrastructures still reflect significant colonial vestiges, the efficacy of which, have not undergone any serious, objective scrutiny to determine to what extent they represent assets verses impediments to the development of a Ghana Beyond Aid.
These considerations, in my opinion, are critically important to Members of Parliament who are charged with the responsibility to uplift the Ghanaian people, in general, and their most ardent supporters, in particular.
When it comes to perceptions, if I were an MP, I would query ‘How can I effectively bond with Ghanaian citizens if/when my dress conveys the message that I’m more interested in presenting as a European or American than as a Ghanaian?
While, to most, this may appear to be an insignificant gesture, to the contrary, I enthusiastically applaud Speaker Bagbin’s courageous first step.
I not only applaud his stated rationale, I consider it to be a critically important and potentially transformative step towards the realization of Ghana’s Beyond The Return goals as well as the ultimate success of the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. Both initiatives pre-suppose an African consciousness as the foundation for any success.
I respectfully remind Speaker Bagbin that ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.’ Moreover, I am both hopeful and cautiously optimistic that a growing number of his legislative colleagues will develop the resolve to join this critical African ‘cultural resurrection.’
Finally, I share one of my favorite Akan proverbs that “Going back to tradition is your first step forward.’ Now that the first step is behind you, you need only keep moving towards the resurrection of Ghanaian tradition. If I can be of any assistance, I’m around.
Your bold statement has enhanced my African pride and renewed my hope for the future of Ghana and Mother Africa—NkaKra nKaKra, Obe ye yie. Medaase Pii.
Nana Kwamina Kra II
Nana Kwamina Kra II
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