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Feature Article of Friday, 16 October 2009

Columnist: Mensah, Nana Akyea

Chase Them Crazy Busia Bust Outta De Park!

By Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

An Open Letter From An Old Friend To:

Mr. Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo,

Regional Minister,

Bono Ahafo Regional Administration,

Sunyani,

Republic of Ghana.

Thursday, 15th October, 2009.

Hello Mr. Marfo,

SUBJECT: CHASE THE CRAZY BUSIA BUST OUT OF THE PARK!

Warm greetings! This is Nana Akyea of Oguaa Hall. A friend of Santos. We've drank beer several times together. Long time, how are you?

Please, kindly permit me to express my very warm appreciation of your courage and wisdom to right an important wrong that was perpetrated against the honour of the Bono people in the extra-judicial assassination and political disappearance of Kwame Nkrumah at Sunyani. As an old friend, you are indeed a source of personal pride. I wish you long life and prosperity. Please forgive me that after such a long silence, I just bump in to you with this. This is an issue that, if you follow me on twitter, you would see reverberates from Sunyani Park to far away lands like the Bahamas! The whole world is watching us and we need to be bold enough to do the right thing with courage and confidence in the rightness of our cause. I wish to encourage you not to cede to threats of barbaric acts. It shall amount to surrendering our birth rights to their imperialist owners! That is not what Nkrumah taught us.

Honourable Sir! I am sure you know the story very well. Since this is a matter of public interest, I shall undertake to give a full account, to the best of my abilities, to explain to the younger generation of Ghanaians whose history is being stolen away from them right in front of everybody's nose. The first time my attention was drawn to the phenomenon of Busia's bust at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Suyani, whose name, had also been surreptitiously changed to Jubilee Park by the NPP government, was in an article with a title, that those familiar with the author would find predictable: “Nkrumah's Divide-and-Conquer Legacy Grips Brong-Ahafo” By: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame, (Ghanweb Feature Article, 2009-09-30). The general impression the article sought to create was that of some mischievous opportunists taking advantage of the Nkrumah Centenary celebrations to rob the Busia-Danquah tradition of something that rightly belonged to them.

The complain was:

“It is rather ironic that just about the same time that President John Evans Atta-Mills was calling on Ghanaians, irrespective of ideological suasion, to harmoniously rally around the non-birth centenary celebration of former President Nkrumah’s birthday, a woefully misguided and, perhaps, fanatical traditional ruler in the Brong-Ahafo Region was fervidly engineering the execrable removal of a bronze statue bearing the image of the region’s most distinguished citizen and former Ghanaian prime minister Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, from Sunyani’s Golden Jubilee Park, in order to replace the latter with one in the image of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, postcolonial Ghana’s first premier. Needless to say, no morbid act of desecration could be more criminal!” (Okoampa-Ahoofe)

The irony rather was in the complaint itself. The change of the name of the park, under the Kufour Administration, from Sunyani Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, to the so-called Sunyani Golden Jubilee Park, was the first move to obliterate Kwame Nkrumah's special links with the region's history. That same park has been called Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, ever since the Sunyani Centre for National Culture (CNC), was built in the 1960s. In fact, the reason why it was called Nkrumah Park was because it was a piece of land specifically set aside by Kwame Nkrumah to be used for cultural activities which included durbars of chiefs and people of the Bono whom Nkrumah met on several occasions on these very same grounds.

That is not all. There are very important historical reasons why the attempt to blot out Nkrumah and smuggle Busia into this particular park is particularly repugnant. The fact of the matter is that everybody knows that once upon a time the people of the Bono Ahafo got very tired of their centuries of feudal servitude to the Ashanti hegemonic and aggressive, violent and supremacist capture of the Bonos, which they used to refer to as Western Ashanti. "As will be recalled," writes Abena Pokuaa Atuahene Ackah, “Bono Ahafo was a province of the Ashanti Kingdom - a condition that gave effective ownership of the human and natural resources of the Bonos to the Ashanti King. In all history, no people have flourished in slavery and servitude. This fate of the Bonos remained unchanged until 1948, when Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III, the Omanhene of Techiman, led Techiman to secede from the Ashanti confederacy (Austin, 1964, p. 294). The secession of Techiman was supported by Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu I, Dormaahene, Drobohene, Nkoranzahene, Berekumhene, Bechemhene, Kukuomhene, Abeasehene, Mohene and some of the Brong states."

*Round One: Kofi Busia of Wenchi versus Kwame Nkrumah of Africa.*

The attitudes of the two characters in the history of the formation of the region were diametrically opposed. Even though Kofi Abrefa Busia hailed from the region, and was also an elected Member of Parliament, he refused to support the struggle for the Independence struggle of the Bono against the Ashanti domination of his own people. He became a part of the problem of the Bono people. With his education and his clout, this was by no means a small problem. His own brother, Nana Kusi Appiah, who was then the occupant of the Wenchi Stool also refused to attend any of the meetings of the Brong Kyempem Federation nor to lend it any support whatsoever.

Whilst Busia was collaborating with the Ashantis, whom he was busy representing in parliament, as they helped to elect him, and vehemently opposing the Brong Kyempem Federation, as a veritable thorn in the flesh of his own people, Nkrumah stepped in, full of grace, wisdom and understanding. Ms Abena Pokuaa Atuahene Ackah again:

“Convinced in the justice of their cause, the Bono chiefs presented a petition to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for total secession from Ashanti. After deliberations, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah called for a referendum on the matter. But the Bono chiefs rejected a referendum on the grounds that, against the Ashantis, they were not sufficiently resourced to campaign for votes. Under the unrelenting pressure of the Bono chiefs, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah took a firm decision and on the 4th of April 1959 the Brong Ahafo Region was created and Mr. Yeboah Afari, who came from Dormaa Ahenkro, was appointed first Regional Commissioner for the region. In 1961, when Nana Abrefa Mbore Bediatuo VI became the 3rd president of the Regional House of Chiefs, he appealed to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for a proper secretariat to be built for the Regional House of Chiefs. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah readily gave ₤700. The edifice was built but later got burnt; and Dr Nkrumah’s government rebuilt it.”

* *

*Kofi Busia of Wenchi versus Kwame Nkrumah of Africa: Technical Knock-Out! *

The Golden Rule is that you do unto others, as you wish others to do unto you. After failing to physically assassinate him, a group of people that even the CIA refers to as “pathetically pro-Western” succeeded in an organised military aggression against the state, the Constitution and the democratically elected government of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Thereafter, they set about to burn his books, break down his statues, burn his effigies and ban the mere mention of his name or the keeping of his photographs or images associated with him. They even said that they were promoting freedom of expression by gagging Ghanaians against the mere mention of the obviously scary name: Kwame Nkrumah!

I find the attempt to change the name of Kwame Nkrumah Park to Golden Jubilee Park, and on top of that putting a bust of Busia in it as a part of the vaporisation process initiated by the imperialist motivated coup of 1966. It is not Nkrumah they are aiming at, it is our independence they are smuggling away to the imperialists. The reason why this matters is because the political struggle to rehabilitate Nkrumah to his rightful place in our history as the real Osagyefo of Sunyani, of the Bono people, of Ghana, of Africa, and of all black people wherever they may be found, is in the final analysis, an attempt to assert ourselves as a proud and independent people. We wish to insist on re-building the political kingdom Nkrumah wanted to build which was destroyed in 1966. These same people who worked day and night to see to its destruction are the very same people who do not even want Nkrumah's name even to mentioned, let alone his good works continued!

If the bust of Busia at the Nkrumah Park had not been a simultaneous and deliberate attempt to obliterate Nkrumah's name and elevate Busia's in such a flagrant manner and in complete disrespect to history and protocol of the people and chiefs of the Bono Region, I would neither have been this concerned, nor this much incensed. If this were new, and were to be the first time the Busia-Danquah tradition, particularly the Busia component of that tradition, was displaying utter contempt to the wishes of the people and chiefs of the Bono people, I would probably not have given it the time I am dedicating to it now. The Busia-Danquah version of the freedom of expression has once included the mere mentioning of Kwame Nkrumah's name as a veritable criminal offence. And one must quickly add that this was not during the military NLC days, but the Constitution-guided Second Republic, when the champion of democracy, Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia himself was Prime Minister! So, in many ways, this is not new. What is new is the issue of threats by the NPP and promising hell and brimstone if the thieving-bust of that bastard is busted. I find this very much out of character! This is the reason why this article must be seen as a humble appeal to the NPP thieves to save themselves from further embarrassments, and to kindly remove the offending material from the park in time, before it faces the inevitable revolutionary consequences.

*A history that screams! Nkrumah Is Coming Back!*

For the avoidance of any doubts, We want peace, but in this case, peace is not the absence of war, but the absence of Kofi Busia's bust at the Sunyani Kwame Nkrumah Park! Peace is restoring what was stolen. Peace is dismantling the top-down imposition of monuments on the people through the back door. As Abena Pokuaa Atuahene Ackah, in *POLITICAL INFAMY: What is Busia doing at Nkrumah Park?*, puts it: “ monuments and street-naming are normally initiated by the people through their Regional House of Chiefs in conjunction with the Assembly of the relevant district. In this particular case the NPP government ignored administrative protocol, with implication of contempt for the interest and aspiration of the chiefs and their people - a conduct quite revealing of the self-styled champions of the rule of law in Ghana.” Why would a thief have the nerve to complain when caught? What kind of impudence is that? Any one remembers a hardcore fool asking President Mills to concede defeat to a certain short man even after winning the run-off with a clear 50+1 majority? Read “Atta-Mills Must Concede Defeat!” by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D. Feature Article | Wed, 31 Dec 2008!

One would have thought that the NPP members behind such negative acts would have come to their senses, realise the sorry image this casts of them, and apologize for the obviously indefensible and very wrongful attempt to re-write the history of this country and occupy a space that so evidently and clearly does not belong to them. This amounts to political burglary. It is no longer stealing because there is nothing stealthy about what is now a public debate. Nor are the threats being issued against the deportation of Busia's bust from the Nkrumah Park weaken the creeping impression that we have to call the bluff. The bust must be removed. If anyone wants to find out if they can be disciplined or not, they can contact the nearest police station!

Considering the transparent day-light robbery of the history of the Bono people by the NPP in one single stroke, I consider it a revolutionary duty to ensure that this is reversed. The dignity and special prestige Kwame Nkrumah enjoys among the Bono people over and above Kofi Abrefa Busia, a Bono himself, has a special place in the history of the Bono people going over centuries. It is a history of the Bono's liberation struggle against the Ashanti hegemonism and belligerence. Busia was nothing but a traitor to his own people when he sided with the Ashantis against the struggle of the Bonos to break free from the Ashantis and their king. On the contrary, Nkrumah was instrumental in not only facilitating the process, but also in keeping the Ashantis under tight control as the Bonos began their new life in freedom. Thus in life as it is in death, Kofi Abrefa Busia is a persona non grata at the Sunyani Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park! In case of any misbehaviour ensuing from the much awaited eviction of Kofi Busia from the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, I call upon the police not to hesitate to express in police terms, our total condemnation of their stupidities, jointly and severally!

* *

*Show them where power lies!*

This removal must be made very quickly because of the threats they issued against it. There must be no room for negotiations because there is nothing to negotiate with threats This is very important because it may define and modify their behaviour if they are properly shown where power lies. More than the mere removal of the bust itself, it is very crucial to peace in general, to explain very clearly to the NPP cliques who are fooling around issuing these threats that it is “game over.” It is indispensable to the peaceful evolution of our current democratic experiment not to cede to threats and politically motivated violence, especially when they are so awfully wrong. It has to be dealt with drastically. They need to be taught a few lessons before they realise that it was time to be humble and civil, and not to steal around! We have no intention of letting them have their way because these antics have implications on the fundamental choices facing us as a people, such as the need for change, what needs to be changed, and the direction of such a change. This striving at massaging our monuments and parks to systematically obliterate our most important national memories, is a willfully mean attempt to cause injury to the good people of Ghana. And the police must not forget this if they dare to carry out their threats! We shall be there to teach them the grammar of Pan-Africanism, and the growing manners of its articulation in our streets, so that they don't stand in the way of the people and their history.

*In the name of God, Kick Busia off the park for me please, my friend!*

Tear away the bust of Kofi Busia from the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and if you have nowhere else to put it in the whole of Wenchi, just dump it on his grave and let's get on with our lives in peace!

Thanks for your kind attention.

Sincerely,

Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

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