A good friend of mine once joked that the “D-R” honorific routinely prefixed to the name of Ghana’s first premier is merely a deftly sanitized abbreviation for the word “DICTATOR.”
And it was precisely the latter of which I was reminded when I came across a Ghana News Agency (GNA) report captioned “Kwame Nkrumah Was Not A Dictator – Daughter”
In the aforementioned report, Ms. Samia Yaba Nkrumah, the daughter of former President Nkrumah by his Egyptian-born wife, is quoted to be lamely claiming that her father was not a dictator, by any stretch of the imagination, because Mr. Nkrumah used his so-called Ghana Education Trust Fund to exponentially expand “educational facilities in the country.” I guess, in the opinion of Ms. Nkrumah, one could equally assert without any qualms or fear of contradiction that Germany’s Chancellor Adolf Hitler was no anti-Semitic genocide mastermind, because not only did Hitler invent the Volkswagen but he also caused to be designed some of the best-rated autobahns in recent memory!
Anyway, there is absolutely no dispute over the fact of Nkrumah having exponentially expanded basic educational facilities during the 15 years that he held Ghanaians by our scruff. Still, what the late leader’s longtime Italian-resident daughter conveniently fails to point out is the stark fact of the Ghana Education Trust Fund having been established with capital skimmed off the sweat and blood of the proverbial average Ghanaian farmer and civil servant.
And so what does Ms. Nkrumah really mean by claiming that her notoriously extravagant father “deprived” himself of the good life even as he guaranteed that his countrymen and women would unreservedly enjoy the creature comforts of modernity? And do any of our readers remember the brazenly hypocritical era of “TIGHTEN-YOUR-BELT,” during which period the Ghanaian farmer and worker were drastically underpaid, even as the likes of Mr. Nkrumah and his Abongo Cabinet Boys feasted high on the hog, as it were? Or am I a lone ranger on this score as well? And what of “ONE-O’CLOCK-FEVER”?
Ms. Nkrumah was also reported to have boasted to students, academics and administrators on the Wa campus of the University of Development Studies (UDS) that her father established many industrial plants around the country in order to catalyze Ghana’s industrial development.
Indeed, were the Member of Parliament for Jomoro, in the Nzema district, adequately honest with the incontrovertible facts of history, Ms. Nkrumah would also have lamented the fact that it was self-confessed, diehard Nkrumacrats like President John Evans Atta-Mills who sold off the Ghana Industrial Holdings Corporation (GIHOC), the umbrella company under which such industries as the Zuarungu Meat Factory and the Pwalugu Tomato Factory operated, all in the name of privatization. And so for the Jomoro MP to pretend that, somehow, the ideological opponents of her father were primarily the ones who stood against the logical material advancement of Ghana is rather curious, to say least.
It is also rather pathetic, although predictably understandable, for Ms. Nkrumah to sophomorically and vehemently deny her father’s well-documented dictatorial proclivities. Maybe she takes Ghanaians for a people with a morbidly blighted mnemonic capacity. And on the latter score, it bears pointing out that on the occasion of the opening of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park, even Chairman Jeremiah John Rawlings, putatively the most extortionate Ghanaian strongman, had the temerity to impugn Nkrumah’s abiding and seemingly unbridled animosity towards his ideological opponents.
What those of us who have no remarkable affection for both the man and his pseudo-socialist policies have said is that while, indeed, he significantly contributed to the development of Ghana and also African decolonization, in general, nonetheless, in the critical realm of Ghana’s Fourth-Republican democratic culture, it is Dr. J. B. Danquah, the undisputed Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics, who rises head-and-shoulders above all else. And true to our categorical contention, Nkrumah has yet to be celebrated both inside and outside of Ghana for his democratic credentials.
Dr. Danquah, on the other hand, has been significantly and fittingly recognized as an incomparable bulwark against Nkrumaist dictatorship.
On the question of education, what Ms. Samia Yaba Nkrumah ought to be looking at is the Nkrumah-sponsored and Hausa-chaperoned terrorist organization called the Young Pioneer Movement (YPM), an organization eerily modeled on Adolf Hitler’s prototype of the same name; and also, the self-serving pseudo-academy called the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute (KNII).
In absolutely none of either institution was any viable or progressive curriculum emplaced, short of unreflective serenading of “The Osagyefo” and the vicious incrimination of the Nkroful Show Boy’s political opponents.
Interestingly, Ms. Nkrumah also had prime occasion to quixotically claim that her father’s cancer death was actually caused by intractable shrapnel wounds from the Kulungugu assassination attempt, in which 60-percent of the arrested suspects were bona fide card-carrying members of Nkrumah’s own so-called Convention People’s Party (CPP).
Here again, were she honest with the glaring facts of history, Ms. Nkrumah would have maturely and respectably observed the fact that her father had been a chain-smoker. She would even have admirably used the “untimely” death of her father, resulting directly from his unhealthy lifestyle, to admonish Ghanaian youth against picking up the addictive and hazardous personal culture of smoking. Instead, we had Ms. Nkrumah, literally, lying through her proverbial teeth and seeming to relish every bit of the same.
Indeed, contrary to what Mr. Kale Cezar, the deputy Upper-West regional minister, would have his captive audience believe, “if Ghana had any dues to pay” any of its illustrious citizens, such credit definitely belongs to the man whose meticulous and scholarly research reconnected modern Ghanaians with our glorious past and also the man who first demanded collective self-governance, and sovereignty, for the people at large. And that person, of course, is none other than the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics.
Source: *Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Insttitute (DI),
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