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Opinions of Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

A morally reborn and significantly improved Kwame Nkrumah, maybe

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

By: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

When I wrote and published my first collection of short political essays and articles, titled Sounds of Sirens: Essays in African Politics and Culture (iUniverse, 2004), which I partly but primarily dedicated to the late President Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972), I had done enough research to establish the incontrovertible fact that the human rights record of Ghana’s first postcolonial leader left much to be desired. Most especially, his immitigably barbaric decision to orchestrate the systematic torture and assassination of Dr. J. B. Danquah, my paternal great-granduncle and the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian Politics, on the Condemned Cell-Block of the infamous Nsawam Medium-Security Prison on February 4, 1965, continued to stick to my craw, as it were.

Nevertheless, I decided to publish this collection, heavily inspired by my late father’s image of the man, if also because I was fully convinced that perfection lay well beyond the realm of human existence and behavior. For, let’s face reality, Dr. Danquah was himself as genius and generously talented as he was significantly flawed, positively and negatively. I make the foregoing observation from the standpoint of one descended from the immortalized but far less well-known Barima Ohemeng (aka Nana Akyea-Mensah, 1895-1944), in particular the legal rampart established by Team Ofori-Atta, II, if you will, to facilitate the suave finessing of the inevitable tentacles of justice by seeking to seriously impugn the credibility of the relatives and kinsfolk of the ritually slain Nana Akyea-Mensah, purely on grounds of the illiteracy of Amankrado Agyeman’s family members.
Amankrado Agyeman, of course, was Nana Akyea-Mensah’s maternal uncle and this writer’s maternal great-grandfather (See Richard Rathbone’s Murder and Politics in Colonial Ghana, Yale University, 1993). Of course, I have also written and published what has been characterized by some critics and scholars of Ghanaian history and politics as my landmark political biography of the man who practically renamed the erstwhile Gold Coast as Ghana. The final decision would, of course, be tabled through a referendum and be resoundingly approved by the country’s electorate.

What inspired this brief write-up, as Ghanaians are wont to say, was the news report of a statement that the 93-year-old Zimbabwean “democratic” dictator, President Robert Mugabe, was alleged to have made to the effect that President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was “The New Kwame Nkrumah of Our Time” (See “Akufo-Addo Is Ghana’s New Kwame Nkrumah – Mugabe” Starrfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 3/7/17). It is quite obvious that President Mugabe, who was himself significantly inspired by Ghana’s first president and once lived and taught in Ghana, meant well. But, of course, such good intention, in of itself, does not mean a blind acceptance of a significantly flawed premise.

My own personal observation here and, as always, I stand to be promptly corrected, is that rather than being a contemporary Xerox copy of the old and politically extortionate President Nkrumah, Nana Akufo-Addo would rather be healthily and positively envisaged as a composite reflection of the pantheon of Ghanaian leaders, both politicians and statesmen and women.

Ultimately, however, President Akufo-Addo is uniquely privileged to carve an enviable niche for himself, as well as establish himself in the hallowed pantheon of Ghanaian, African and major world leaders.

By: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
March 7, 2017
E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net


*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

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