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Opinions of Saturday, 1 April 2017

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Kwesi Pratt is being needlessly disingenuous

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

History is replete with leaders and future leaders who crossed party lines and ideological terrains when it became necessary for them to do so.

Oftentimes, this would be after they had come to the realization that they had emotionally and psychologically outgrown their old political and ideological suasions and proclivities. And so it is not strange that the young Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had been a staunch member and/or supporter of the Nkrumah-led Convention People’s Party (CPP) up until the February 24, 1966 overthrow of that most extortionate of postcolonial Ghanaian civilian regimes (See “Akufo-Addo was on ‘Most Dangerous CPP Members’ List After 1966 Coup – Pratt Reveals” / 3/13/17).

Right here in the United States, for example, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who recently missed becoming the first female President of the world’s most powerful nation – presently that accolade appears to have been passed onto Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – started her political career as a bona fide member of the Republican Party.

This was all-too-natural an ideological position to take; for her father, Mr. Hugh Rodham, had once been the Chairman of the Republican Party in the State of Illinois, the very state that President Barack H. Obama, the first African-American President of the United States, would later adopt as his home-state. And as we all know, contrary to what the now-President Donald John Trump would have the rest of the world believe, President Obama was born to a white mother, with American ancestry going back at least 300 years, in the State of Hawaii.

Then we also have the late President Ronald Reagan, who had also begun life as a Democrat in the American Mid-West before crossing over to the Republican Party. We also have Mr. Strom Thurmond, the oldest person to serve in the United States’ Senate, who also began his political career as a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat and ended up as a Republican Senator from the State of South Carolina. The list goes on and on. Indeed, it has often been said that it is only a lunatic or a congenital fool who does not change his/her mind when conditions around him/her tell them of the necessity of doing so. So it comes as absolutely no cataclysmic or epic revelation for Mr. Kwesi Pratt to claim that on the eve of the overthrow of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, Nana Akufo-Addo was a member of the CPP.

What the diehard Nkrumacrat editor-publisher of the so-called Insight newspaper failed to add is the fact that by February 24, 1966, the future President Akufo-Addo was only 21 years old. At such a tender age, Nana Akufo-Addo was all to be expected to eventually either modify or dramatically change his political views and ideological perspectives.

My own late father, who was some 15 years older than his Cousin Nana Addo-Dankwa, was a lifelong supporter of the ideals of President Nkrumah but had quickly come around to readily accepting the fact of the CPP’s having made “a slew of egregious political blunders.” He would be persuaded by his children and nephew to cast his ballot for the Busia-led Progress Party (PP) in the 1969 general election. But he would also later say that he had regretted his decision because he had felt disappointed by the failure of PP cabinet appointees to promptly declare their assets.

Interestingly, once when I asked him whether the CPP predecessors of Dr. Busia had set the emulative precedent of promptly declaring their assets, the Oldman only wistfully scratched his head. And, oh, we ought not to lose sight of the fact that President Nkrumah was first the General-Secretary of the Danquah- and Grant-led United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), before he became the Life-Chairman and Eternal-Leader of the Convention People’s Party.

I also don’t understand why we keep arguing over the decidedly jaded and nauseatingly trite subject of whether Ghana has a Founding Father or Founding Fathers. Only fools and charlatans can convince themselves that national liberation struggles and nation-building are the handicraft of any one person. It is not for nothing that Americans prefer to celebrate their Founding Fathers, rather than a Founding Father, and Presidents’ Week (and Day), instead of only George Washington’s Birthday, and not Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

It is time for Ghanaians to get beyond such infantile anal-retentive poppycock and heartily and collectively celebrate the memory of all our heroes and Founding Fathers, and Founding Mothers as well. Also, contrary to what Mr. Pratt would have his audience believe, Mr. Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey was convicted of absolutely nothing! He had better read what Nkrumah’s own Anglo-Irish Attorney-General, Sir Geoffrey Bing, had to say about Mr. Obetsebi-Lamptey in his book Reap the Whirlwind. And also Maj-Gen.

Ocran’s account of the type of ordnance or munitions used in the Kulungugu assassination attempt on the life of President Nkrumah, which Mr. Pratt obliquely refers to. And, oh, Mr. Pratt ought to have also heard my father say that in terms of cognitive depth and breadth, Nkrumah was merely the grandson of Dr. J. B. Danquah. Of course, as a diehard Nkrumah follower, the Oldman would insist, against all logic, that Nkrumah was the more visionary of the twain.

By: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

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