Feature Article of Saturday, 9 June 2012
Columnist: Antobam, Kobina
By: Kobina Antobam
I must first caution that the tone of my analysis is directly in line with the years of unprovoked disdain and belittling articles and opinions that appear non-stop on this and other websites from New York about Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Since we have steadily been fed unending denigration of Kwame Nkrumah, such as deliberately demonizing the man and often comparing him to Hitler, I feel the need to take a similar look at Joseph Danquah. I have tried but have not been able to understand the willful and calculated assault on Kwame Nkrumah when the political dynamics of the country have shifted dramatically from the conditions of the 1950s and 1960s. I also chose to write this because the constant diminution of Kwame Nkrumah’s legacy has not yet solidified in the minds of the current generation but seem to have gone a good long way to steer young Ghanaians’ admiration for the singular and exemplary performance of Kwame Nkrumah away and towards devious Danquah and others who did not accomplish much anything for our colonial freedom. The crafty social engineering which has its modern roots with the coming of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) needs to cease. At the same time, for those who think that constantly resurrecting Nkrumah and Danquah in the 21st century is unnecessary, I advise that you should address your complaints to New York and not to me.
Let’s begin with a very short historical analysis. Kwame Nkrumah went to the U.S. in the mid 1930s to study. In the 1940s, Joseph Danquah and a few of the Gold Coast educated gentlemen got together and formed the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) to advance the quest for ending colonialism in the Gold Coast. Before Nkrumah completed his education and the formation of the UGCC, the momentum for worldwide decolonization had intensified during and after the Second World War. Nkrumah gets a broad American education and experience. Danquah, with his 1920s British education, on the other hand, couldn’t wiggle himself from under the weight of British condescension. He and his UGCC colleagues were English-educated gentlemen, who were “proper” in their dealings with their colonial masters and couldn’t make any headway with the British. The British were toying with them, or what is called, “go, come, go, come” delay tactics. It is important to note that Danquah’s education in the 1920s was at a time when the indigenous literacy rate in the Gold Coast was extremely low. You could count on your fingers the number of Gold Coast citizens who had Standard 7 middle school level of education at that time. That is why those UGCC members became notable elite personalities.
Nkrumah, on the other hand, had a well rounded expansive education in the U.S. Outside of his classroom experience, Nkrumah was exposed to American and Caribbean blacks, who were not only well educated but were civil rights leaders who were fighting for an end to Jim Crow segregation and discrimination. He interacted with many prominent Blacks in the U.S. Nkrumah learned firsthand about the Ku Klux Klan, lynching of young black men, and the lingering effect of slavery of his fellow ancestral Africans on American soil. Nkrumah liked what he saw in the American blacks who were determined not to be Uncle Toms and learned a considerable lot from them. He left the U.S. after his education a confident, fearless African who did not consider himself subservient to the white skinned man. He had acquired the necessary internal fortitude to confront the white colonial overlords; that is exactly the disdain every black person needs in order to dismiss racist whites. The guy was smart and he had what it took to be a leader. Unlike his British educated colleagues like squirming Danquah, I bet he was never shackled with any psychological burden of the white man’s imperialist superiority even before he left the shores of the Gold Coast for higher education.
Nkrumah came back to the Gold Coast in 1947 and found that his colleagues in the UGCC couldn’t shake off the complexes that put them in disarray in their dealings with the white colonists. Think again about those times when Danquah went to study law in England. If I remember correctly, he was the very first black African to receive a law degree from the University of London where black skinned people were a rarity in England in the 1920s. It wasn’t his fault, but imagine how Danquah had to be and act the typical colonial “Yes Sir, Master” subject not only at home but in England too in order to get along. He felt he wasn’t the white man’s equal and he carried that mental limitation back to the Gold Coast.
When he joined the UGCC, it did not take long for Nkrumah to realize that his UGCC colleagues could not shake off what we used to call “colo- mentality.” It does not take a rocket scientist to understand the delay tactics of the British if UGCC continued to consider the “massas” as superior beings and if they pursued the same tired slow-go strategy. It also did not take Nkrumah long to sever ties with his colleagues. Nkrumah did not give two hoots about those white colonists. The Convention People’s Party was born before long and that led to our prompt independence, with dynamic Nkrumah in the lead. The rest is history. Danquah and the rest of the UGCC members had been pushed by Nkrumah to the back room and they did not matter much anymore. The weak whimper of the UGCC members was easily drowned out by Nkrumah’s loud and strong “Self-Government Now” message. Of course, freedom is not for the weak, so that’s exactly why feeble Danquah could not get us our independence but stouthearted Nkrumah did. So much has been written about the events and personalities between the onset of the CPP and the metamorphosis and the actual birth of the current NPP, therefore, I will not bore you with those details.
Now, here we are at the turn of the 21st century; NPP finally gets a chance to run the affairs of the country nearly 50 years after independence. They honestly tried to do what’s right, but they could not suppress the same attitudes that held them back years prior to the independence of the Gold Coast and for 50 years thereafter. They couldn’t help themselves and busted on the scene with a deviant vengeance and reckless extravagance. If we have to discuss the deficiencies of the NPP, no topic is appropriate as Danquah to start the show.
NPP is the party that morphed from the “mate-me-ho” belligerence of old (“If you won’t let me win ‘at all costs’, then I am taking my football home and I will not play with you anymore”). It’s the party that grew from the blood-stained fingers that introduced into the Ghanaian psyche Kulungugu bombings in Nkrumah’s Ghana. This is the party whose original ancestral founders suffered long-lasting, demoralizing, resounding defeat at the hands of Nkrumah. The party is also permanently infected with an incurable hate-filled jealousy of Kwame Nkrumah, alive or dead.
I remind you of the past because I want to discuss the twisted historical manipulations and reeducation policies they tried so slyly to put in place to re-write Ghana’s past for the eight long years they were in power. For fifty years after independence, NPP fore-parties had rightfully been sidelined and caged inside an invisible fence by wise Kwame Nkrumah and even all successive governments after him. We all thought that 50 years of being contained would have rehabilitated and reformed the attitudes and behaviors of the scions of the UGCC ancestors. We were very wrong because it didn’t take long and we soon found out that shifty Danquah’s inherited parochial attitudes really run deep. The Ghanaian population witnessed, in eight long years, how dead “Wofa” Danquah was propped up by the NPP and forced on passive Ghanaians. Ghanaians have always been cognizant of NPP’s typical “Wofa” cronyism.
As soon as NPP was formed, they searched for past accomplishments of the ancestral parties that gave birth to the NPP. They could not find any accomplishments. So Danquah became the easy convenient fallback that they would source to bolster claims of NPP’s missing past contributions to the birth and development of Ghana prior to, during, and after independence. After they selected Danquah, the next puzzle was how to make him substantive. They could not. Instead, they came up with the lame meaningless “doyen,” “architect,” and the silly property owning tradition. For me, property owning tradition means to beg, borrow, or STEAL as long as you buy a hotel or build a mansion with the loot. With all that, they realized they still couldn’t come anywhere close to shining Nkrumah’s shoes.
Then the NPP began to put Danquah’s name and face everywhere. The vendetta-infected Danquah was still the hero they have long been searching the country for; therefore, the rest of us who know otherwise had to be force-fed a newly redressed empty ideology. How did they do it? Claiming to be champions of democracy, they rather chose socialist tactics in order to sneak Danquah onto unsuspecting Ghanaians. They put a statue of the CIA-sponsored traitor in Accra and began to name other structures after him. As has been written about by the advocates, I would not be surprised if the University of Ghana, Legon is very soon renamed Danquah University.
In order to erase Nkrumah from the consciousness of young Ghanaians, they competed with his legacy by craftily establishing institutions, teaching Danquah as a curriculum, erecting images, and disseminating all forms of printed materials to lay the foundation for their ideological change process. Lenin and Stalin were squirming in their graves. If the very first deserving President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, has a street circle in Accra, useless Danquah had to have one too, with his statue to boot. If there is Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, there had to be Danquah IDEOLOGICAL Institute. If Nkrumah, the prolific coherent writer, wrote many books and the “doyen” Danquah never published even a leaflet, the slobbering cry babies, with snot dripping down their noses, will desperately create lame publications in Danquah’s name, filled with lazy logic and facile Uncle Tom arguments, manufactured claims of Danquah accomplishments, and unsupportable non-existent traditions. Instead of extolling world-renowned Nkumah’s well documented unifying concept of nationalism and his enriching philosophic self-determination and decolonization of the entire African continent, modern day “mate me hos” would rather pursue Danquah’s well known record of separatism, divisiveness, and “take-your-time-to-give-us-independence” faulty clumsy missteps, and dress him up as some peaceful innocent victim of circumstance who always had the good intentions of Ghana. Danquah, to me, will always be the stupid Ghanaian’s idea of a nation builder and intellectual. With extreme invidious pugnacity, they have been belligerently opposed to anything Nkrumah. They can’t help but exhume anti-tribalist Nkrumah every time they talk about Danquah. Danquah cannot be discussed alone because there is nothing substantive about him. There is ample evidence of write-ups on this website and elsewhere to support my contention that Danquah cannot be talked about in isolation. Nkrumah has to be invoked every time they talk about Danquah.
If it was left to them alone, they would have redesigned all denominations of Ghana’s paper currency with only Danquah’s image on it. They wanted to, but they secretly trembled with the terror of divine retribution and damnation from Nkrumah’s apparition. In order not to incur the wrath of the greatest Nkrumah and the good people of Ghana, they slyly placed pictures of Danquah and other nonperformers with the towering Kwame Nkrumah on the Ghana currency. I always want to vomit whenever I see that group picture on the cedi. Instead of projecting and emphasizing the truth that Nkrumah’s outstanding leadership brought us timely independence, they almost succeeded in putting the finishing touches on their quest to position the violently destructive CIA protege, Danquah, as the meaningless “architect” of the colonial freedom of Ghana.
In the eight long years that NPP was in office, they almost made naïve young Ghanaians believe the ridiculous. It is not really funny to think that they honestly believe in Danquah’s involvement or blood-stained touch in many life-changing events, not only in Ghana, but in Africa and worldwide. This is how Danquah followers will answer the following questions. Did Kwame Nkumah lead Ghana to independence? Of course, the expected answer from NPP will be: “No, it was our ‘proverbial’ ‘Doyen’ ‘Architect’ Dr. Nana Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah who led us to independence.” Can you then guess what the answers will be for the following and other questions on many life changing events? Who invented the internet? Who was the first man to set foot on the moon? Who built the Akosombo Dam? Who built two additional universities in Ghana immediately after independence? Who constructed the Accra-Tema highway? Who created modern Tema Township and the Tema Harbor? Who invented the automobile, the train, the airplane, and the space shuttle? You are damn right, it was N.J.K.K.B. Danquah. You can think about anything that has happened to humans since Adam and Eve and they will tell you that if it weren’t for Danquah, none of those things and events would ever have taken place.
They have been able to raise Danquah from the dead and have used him to diminish the lofty stature of Kwame Nkrumah. You haven’t seen anything yet. If conditions in the country are appropriate, you will soon see more Danquah statues everywhere. They will erect more monuments; and many of the public structures in Accra, Cape Coast, Kumasi, Tamale, Takoradi, Sunyani, Koforidua, Ho, and other principal towns will be named after Danquah. There will be billboards everywhere to indoctrinate young unsuspecting Ghanaians. Ideological literature will be supplied free to every primary, middle, and high school student extolling the nonexistent achievements and the useless “property owning” tradition of Danquah, plus other NPP reeducation ideologies. Since he has fervently promoted the idea, NPP’s darling, Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, with his excellent super credentials of teaching creative writing to urban community college students, will be appointed the chancellor of both the newly renamed Danquah University of Legon and the Danquah Ideological Institute, and we can easily guess who will become the education minister. They claim to believe in democracy, but when it comes to Danquah, they are the worst socialists on earth.