Vice-President John Dramani Mahama’s reported declaration of March 6, 2010 as one that commemoratively caps the centenary anniversary celebrations of late President Kwame Nkrumah, provides absolutely nothing new or significant in Ghana’s post-independence narrative.
At best, it is a pleonastic declaration that Ghanaians would rather do without; for, ever since those of us who are about Mr. Mahama’s age can recall, including the vice-president himself, March 6 has always been an invariably monotonous celebration of Kwame Nkrumah, almost as if the Nzema-Nkroful native was the only Ghanaian citizen who significantly contributed to both our beloved country’s attainment of sovereignty from Britain and the massive decolonization of the African continent which latter landmark, by the way, had far more to with U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Atlantic Charter” than any single or even group of African leaders.
Anyway, even as other scholars and historians, including this writer, have more than amply and creditably indicated, Ghana’s “Journey to Independence,” as Dr. J. B. Danquah felicitously cast it, was the symphonic handiwork of generations of Ghanaian leaders and the people at large. In brief, it is precisely this self-centered and cultish cannibalization of our collective genius and glorious achievements to which bona fide Ghanaian citizens like me have set themselves up to rectify and render inclusive. For, there is no meaningful knowledge and/or pleasure to be gained by deliberately falsifying the history of our beloved country, as the diehard Nkrumacrats appear to be hell-bent on doing.
And to be certain, until very recently, for example, not many Ghanaians were aware of the signal fact that it was Dr. Danquah whose meticulous research led to Ghana’s name change from the Gold Coast on the eve of our attainment of sovereignty. Likewise, many Ghanaians were not aware of the fact that it was Danquah who singularly spearheaded the struggle that led to the establishment of our nation’s flagship academy, the University of Ghana, including hundreds of thousands of Nkrumah-leaning graduates of Legon, and other allied institutions, who either failed to read the introductory pages to the University of Ghana Bulletin/Catalog or simply couldn’t care less about who the de facto Ghanaian founder(s) of Legon was/were. Equally overlooked by many Ghanaians is also the fact that both the universities of Cape Coast and Science and Technology were veritably created out of Legon’s Department of Education and that of Science and Technology, respectively.
And so for Mr. Mahama, whose father served as a regional minister under Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP) government, to call on Ghanaians to pretend as if March 6 is all about Mr. Kwame Nkrumah amounts to nothing short of a flagrant breach of scholastic integrity and the truth of history.
Indeed, no well-meaning Ghanaian can controvert or dispute the greatness and/or patriotism of Mr. Nkrumah, both on our national political landscape as well as that of the African continent in general; nonetheless, it is also worth observing that Nkrumah was neither a pioneer nor a one-man protagonist on both the Ghanaian political stage and the continental African political theater.
Needless to say, the history of the Grant- and Danquah-led United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the seminal modern Ghanaian institutional matrix that baptized and inducted Mr. Kwame Nkrumah into the mainstream of Ghanaian politics is all too familiar to be regurgitated here, except, of course, to highlight the fact that viciously orchestrated propaganda by fanatical Nkrumaists and Nkrumacrats has precipitated an unpardonably bizarre situation whereby the rest of the legendary BIG SIX have come to be inexorably and consistently maligned as “Enemies of the State,” in the immortalized words of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906).
In the aforesaid narrative, Nkrumah, the veritable protégé of the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics, becomes both the figurative personification of Ghana, an inviolable paragon, or benchmark, of sorts, while those who actually worked around the proverbial clock in the legal and constitutional realm to ensure that independence was achieved in our lifetime were conveniently, if also deviously, proscribed. Needless to say, it has been in blind and pathological pursuit of such patently false narration of the Ghanaian independence struggle that has ensured that March 6 would be made synonymous with the centenary celebration of Mr. Nkrumah’s birth.
The foregoing development is, of course, quite intriguing, notwithstanding the fact that such declaration has long been anticipated by this author. In fact, it was barely a year, or so, ago that I pointed out to the Atta-Mills government that March 6 effectively rendered any attempt to institutionalize an Nkrumah birthday as a national holiday decidedly superfluous. And so for Mr. Mahama to unctuously pretend that commemorating Nkrumah’s centenary birthday on the same day as Ghana’s independence is something new and refreshing, simply amounts to nothing short of the outright jaded.
Still, whether Nkrumah’s centenary birthday anniversary ought to be blindly celebrated as a momentous event that marks the effective decolonization of Ghana – knowing fully well that the deposed Ghanaian premier secretly and massively traded with Apartheid South Africa, even while also viciously accusing Nelson Mandela of being in cahoots with the Afrikaner regime – is one that I, personally, cannot abide. Likewise, I cannot abide the deliberate attempt by the Mills-Mahama Corporation (MMC) to rather unconscionably sell the myth of Nkrumaism to Ghanaian pupils and youths, in general, as the gospel truth.
Indeed, as I vividly recall from one of the simplified editions of the Nkrumah readers widely circulated in our elementary schools during the 1960s, the Show Boy appears to have brazenly envisaged himself as a rascally chap who once instigated every one of his schoolmates to stay away from school on the very day that the government supervisor of schools – or Education Officer – was scheduled for a tour-of-inspection of the Nkroful Roman Catholic Primary School. Such mischief, we were told by the self-styled villainous protagonist, was a payback to one of his teachers who had disciplined the young Kofi Nwia for being late to school.
Back then, even as now, I didn’t quite know exactly what to make of such patently reprehensible stories, particularly vis-ŕ-vis what moral lessons the Show Boy, via his publishers, of course, sought to impart to us, the younger generation of his so-called New Africa. Anyway, as Americans are wont to say, a pig decked with a lipstick is still a veritable denizen of the porcine race and species. In sum, for the sake of my immutable reverence for the truth of Ghana’s post-independence narrative, I will be staying as far away from any social activities organized by New York City’s Ghanaian community as possible. All the same, Happy 53rd to the nation that Dr. Danquah designed and Christened. Long live a refined and purified Ghanaian democracy. God Bless Our Homeland!
*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 Institute (DI), the pro-democracy think tank, and author of 21 books, including “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected] ###
Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. [email protected]
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