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Opinions of Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Columnist: Pryce, Daniel K.

Samia Yaba Christina Nkrumah Could Seek the Presidency in 2016!


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Great political animals, as we are wont to call them in public administration and policy circles, have a not-so-predictable way of revealing their true intentions, as far as seeking political office is concerned. Usually, these men and women saunter stealthily into the vestibules of political power – via a gradual amplification of their political momentums – before finally revealing their true desires in the form of an announcement. Samia Nkrumah is now stealthily and steadily gaining political capital in Ghana. And based on what I have observed about Samia Nkrumah, this smart and courageous lady is using every opportunity she gets to test her acceptability and electability to the nation’s highest office. And if Samia Nkrumah believes – and the polls indicate – that she is electable, she may run for president in 2016!

To begin with, Samia Nkrumah’s decision to seek a seat in Ghana’s Parliament on the ticket of her late father’s party, the Convention People’s Party (CPP), was not an accident, but a carefully planned decision that took years to accomplish. In fact, her opponents had underrated her capacity to win at such a high level in Jomoro, but Samia would leave them all befuddled! Samia is a woman prepared to do the seemingly impossible, for why else would she renounce her Italian citizenship, but for the fact that she had bigger plans than a parliamentary seat in Ghana? The almost-50-year-old Samia understands the intricacies of politics, having been born into a political family and having studied politics at the university. It is important to note that Samia holds a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from the University of London. She also has regularly given speeches around the world on Pan-Africanism, the largely utopian and impractical ideology that her father – and other black leaders – had hoped to instill in all Africans.

When Samia Nkrumah first announced her candidacy for the Jomoro parliamentary seat in the Western Region, Lee Ocran, the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) representative in Parliament at the time, scoffed at the idea, pontificating, in the process: “I have done more for Jomoro than her father [Kwame Nkrumah] ever did [for Jomoro]. [N]obody knows [Samia]; she does not speak the language. She is Nkrumah’s child so what? 7th December [2008] would come and elections would take place and she would see where she belongs.” Poor Lee Ocran! When the results of the election were released, Samia, a first-time candidate for the seat, had received 50-percent of the total votes cast, with Lee Ocran trailing a distant second, with a paltry 33.5-percent of the votes! That is what we call “good pounding,” folks! Without a doubt, that particular result was a portent of greater things to come for Samia, and we may all live to see it come to fruition soon!

My article is not a treatise on Kwame Nkrumah, so I intend to not belabor Nkrumah’s strengths and weaknesses in detail – but no one can deny the fact that Nkrumah’s legacy had propelled his daughter to Ghana’s Parliament! And Nkrumah’s legacy, if Samia knows how to positively exploit it, could just as well propel her to the presidency someday! At any rate, if Samia wants to become president, she would have to learn to quickly identify and sagaciously surmount the pitfalls that continue to ineradicably deface Ghana’s political terrain: greed; corruption; lack of unity, even among members of the same party; inordinate ambition; self-serving priorities; intolerance; ethnocentrism, et cetera.

Kwame Nkrumah was noted for having amazing organizational skills and great vision, qualities that helped him garner a large following, especially soon after he broke away from the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) and founded the CPP. Unafraid of the colonial powers at the time, he defied the oppressors and called for street demonstrations, which eventually buckled the political knees of Great Britain and forced it to relinquish its political hold on the country. Samia, like her father before her, is a stoic and savvy politician already – and she has the acumen to know exactly what to say and when to say it. With her avowed independence in Parliament now well known, Samia is gradually carving an image for herself as a fiercely loyal legislator – one who is very loyal to her constituents’ needs, rather than some party or parochial interests, traits that will undoubtedly serve her well in any future decision to seek the Ghanaian presidency.

When it was reported recently that Samia Nkrumah had been invited to the Wa Campus of the University for Development Studies to perorate on her father’s legacy, an event that was dubbed the “Centenary Lectures of Dr. Nkrumah,” Samia would find it opportune to both portray her father’s achievements in a positive light and calmly berate her late father’s opponents. By reminding the larger Ghanaian populace about her father’s achievements, Samia is projecting herself as the scion of a great man whose work was cut short because of the foolhardiness of the Ghanaian military. In other words, Samia is stealthily sauntering into the vestibule of political power, by increasing her own exposure to a nationwide audience, not just the people of Jomoro!

If, indeed, my prognostication – or premonition – about Samia’s future candidacy for president turns out to be accurate, then it will certainly send a chill down the spines of other candidates for the nation’s highest public office, for in Samia the opposition would find a tough woman, a dedicated Ghanaian citizen, an adored lawmaker, a fairly experienced politician, and a progeny of Ghana’s greatest president, the last a claim that the majority of Ghanaians accept as a veritable fact!

And when, indeed, Samia Nkrumah is ready to seek the highest office of the land, she must not do so on the platform of the CPP – unless the CPP undergoes a major transformation in the next few years. Ghanaians have been unhappy for some time now with the two major political parties – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the National Patriotic Party (NPP) – and a good alternative to both “stalwarts” will be revitalizing indeed. A perfunctory examination of Ghana’s present political landscape reveals two titans: a genial, but weak, president in John Atta Mills; and a brilliant, but impatient, opposition leader in Nana Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo’s chances of ever ascending to the Ghanaian presidency are getting slimmer every day, due to his age, and Atta Mills may not win re-election if he faced some charismatic challengers in 2012.

It is within the aforementioned context that Samia Nkrumah, if she displayed enough desire for the top job, could surprise everyone by clinching it in the near future! And if Samia needed expert advice on how to reach the larger population with her message, I will offer her some unflinchingly!

The writer, Daniel K. Pryce, holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University, U.S.A. He is a member of the national honor society for public affairs and administration in the U.S.A. He can be reached at dpryce@cox.net.

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