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Feature Article of Friday, 10 August 2012

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter

Finally Ghana's First Daughter is coming out

of her famous father's shadow.

She was only 6years old when her father's inspirational CPP government was overthrown by a bunch of armed criminals led by Afrifa (Afrifa was later executed for crimes against Ghanaian people by AFRC), and in the process plunge Ghana into financial meltdown. Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah, the only daughter of Ghana's legendary President, Kwame Nkrumah, and leader of Convention Peoples Party, was highly spoken of by the late President Mills (at Founder's Day celebrations) as someone who someday might “have an opportunity to serve at a higher level, to serve the people of Ghana”.

The moment Mills made the comment was striking because, despite widespread discussion in political circles that Samia Nkrumah could be a strong candidate for his party's nomination in 2016, Samia has downplayed that notion and rather focus on uniting the Nkrumaist parties. She promises “a country where no child is left behind”, a theme that President Nkrumah would be proud of.

Since emerging in 2008, Samia has made it clear that her own thinking about a possible presidential bid would be shaped by her assessment of her father's presidency. For many Ghanaians, especially the poorest 80%, the prospect of Samia's candidacy seems obvious. A former presidential staffer and a senior politician who served in the Rawlings PNDC military administration said of Samia, “I think if the opportunity presented itself, Samia would be honoured to run, and she will run on her record as the champion of the majority of Ghanaians”.

Ms Nkrumah's father carries a mixed legacy. Although not known to many sub-Saharan Africans, his name resonates across continental Africa. He is admired by many continental Africans for leading the continent's independence crusade and advocating for continental unity. He is seen by a small minority as a dictator with a long record of human rights abuses. That notwithstanding, at the turn of the century Nkrumah was voted best African statesman ever.

Like her father, Samia Nkrumah is carrying forward a liberal social ideology and the hope of over 80 percent of Ghanaians. They share the same passion for the uplifting of Ghanaians from poverty and equal access to education for the poor, better housing and better access to health care for all.

But their differences are also distinct. Samia Nkrumah's fiscal and economic policy takes more of a centrist cue from Dr Kwesi Botchwey, a distinguish and longest Finance Secretary under Rawlings PNDC military government. Another distinguish academic and aide to Samia said, “The difference between Samia and Kwame Nkrumah is that, Kwame made some mistakes, mistakes that Samia has learned from, however she still believes in her father's 7 Year Development Plan”. Pledging to work for a fair and transparent market economy, Samia has vowed to expand education, encourage small scale industrialisation, amid a widening wealth gap and high youth unemployment in the country. She said the increased income gap and imbalances is worrying. Her supporters, just like her late father's, chanted her name and waved national flags and banners reading, “Ghana loves you, Samia and Nkrumah Never Dies”.

After her election as the leader of CPP, Samia toured the regions to thank supporters for her overwhelming endorsement. People have been telling Samia that despite the growth of the economy, their lives didn't get better and their happiness did not grow under NPP and NDC as is being envisage by some commentators. Samia enjoys popularity among many Ghanaians who believes it is only an Nkrumah can bring prosperity to majority of Ghanaians.

In a speech she made to a group of NGOs in the north, Samia said, “We will make Ghana a country in which everybody can achieve their dreams, regardless of tribe or region” She said an incoming CPP administration would increase investment in agriculture, service sectors and science and technology to help create jobs.

Although she is not running for 2012, poll show Samia will beat rivals by a wide margin in December 2012.

The largest opposition party, NPP, derided Samia as someone who know little about the real life of ordinary people.

Samia, for now, with her technocratic leadership led by Nii Akomfrah, CPP General Secretary(former leader of CPP UK and Ireland), the party is on the threshold of a major makeover, the first of its kind in the country, with management of the party set to be decentralised. Rank and file of the party welcomes the move by calling for grass root recruitment drive among the 80% poor who are more sympathetic to the tenets of the party than the other parties and see Nkrumah's daughter as one of their own.

With the demise of the President of Ghana, the broad Nkrumaist coalition may have to rely on Samia to play a greater role in national politics, including laying the ground for her coronation as the standard flag bearer for the broader Nkrumaist coalition for 2016.

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