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Opinions of Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Columnist: Adufutse, William Yaw

Ghana without Nkrumah: Stop extoling what you consider his virtues

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

By: William Yaw Adufutse, Ph. D.

Usually, I am not involved in any political debate about which party is right or wrong, but I have to respond to few issues that dominate the Ghanaian political life especially some that my fellow PhDs write and condemn everyone who speak against Kwame Nkrumah. One may consider it controversial, and out of place for me since I always write about business issues but the fact is every Ghanaian has to face the truth. Glorifying what was not there should not continue without educating the younger generation about what went on in the 1960s Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah. Actually, Kwame Nkrumah did not earn his doctorate degree. It was awarded to him without the years of training in getting a Doctor of Philosophy, or a doctor of humanities.

I was a boy as a young pioneer: 13 years old, and attending the Hohoe EP/LA middle school when growing up in Ghana. At that time, I was recruited to become a young pioneer. Not long after, it became compulsory that everyone in school has to be a Young Pioneer, and or know the Nkrumah creed. We were taught the creed which was:

Nkrumah is our messiah Nkrumah does no wrong Nkrumah never dies Nkrumah is our savior

These were just headlines and each one of them go into details.

Every morning at the assembly gathering before going to class, that was the slogan. It started from the young pioneer movement as a single entity, but with Nkrumah’s ideas, moved to the schools. We had to report anyone who refuted those ideologies. Violators of those creeds as I stated above had to be reported to our young pioneer officers. Many of my colleagues’ parents were detained briefly.

In the interim the big six excluding Kwame Nkrumah, who were: Ako Ajei Akufo Ado J. B Danquah Obetshbi Lamptey Ofori Atta

Were all detained in the Nswam prison. Most of them if not all of them, died there in poor health conditions. How pitiful and wicked to round up friends and send them to prison: especially those who helped Nkrumah come into power! That in itself should let Ghanaians know that Nkrumah was good at the beginning but turned on his own friends for power, and avarice. But that was Nkrumah’s vision for Ghana: silence all opposition and push agenda through. No wonder others like Mugabe are still in power with their dictatorial voices. He was trained by Nkrumah. Is that what Ghana really wants? I am so baffled about those who embrace Nkrumah and resented his overthrow. Of course, Samia and the other Nkrumah’s children will glorify their father, but did they know what their father did to Ghana at that time? Samia was a little girl at that time and did not know what hardships her father imposed on the Ghanaians, so then she cannot extol the virtues of her father: Nkrumah was a monster. He made himself a life president with no opportunity for anyone to come into power and to project fresh ideas into Ghana.

I am not a big fan of coup d’états if there is a rigorous legislative system that checks all branches of government and satisfy the needs of the people: but then when people are oppressed with an ideology and only one, the oppressed finds a way to cut off the chain of oppression. Napoleon Bonaparte recognized that so when he made himself the monarch of the French Empire, he embarked on several projects, the freedom of press, and the freedom of speech. He had his opponents killed but later regretted in life for doing that. Because of his despotic tendencies, he was eventually banished to a remote island of St. Helena. Did Nkrumah regret jailing his friends who helped him to become the president?

Have the people who are extolling the virtues of Nkrumah stood in line in the sixties, and seventies for sugar, soap, rice, and the various canned goods? People then needed a change, and a courageous man Kotoka took on the task and did it. Those who are defending the actions of Kwame Nkrumah, and people like Samia condemning the coup, were either not born at that time, very young, still in diapers, or should go back and live those years as I did then if possible.

From my perspective, to move ahead, Ghana needs to move ahead without nostalgic feelings of Nkrumah; have a blend of young people in politics as well as seasoned older ones. The table should neither be in favor of all young adults, nor older adults in their sixties. There should be a blend so that the younger ones can teach the older ones the changing environment especially when it comes to technology, and knowledge acquisition, and the older ones pass on their wisdom to the younger ones who are in politics. That is how Ghana can progress and go strong.

Dr. William Yaw Adufutse is from Anfoega in the Volta Region, and a Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change in the US. His book Leadership theories: The relevance of transformational leadership can be obtained on Amazon. He can be reached at

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