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Opinions of Sunday, 30 December 2007

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Coomson Did Not Eat Humble Pie!

As I continue to recover from a trauma, contracted from Sleepy-Eyes’ shocking, but not altogether surprising, treatment of the ruling New Patriotic Party’s Presidential Candidate for Election 2008, I also continue to surf the ’Net, as it were, in search of either some exciting or meaningful, therapeutic material to ponder and digest before the real battle for The Castle begins, which is right on the heels of the New Year’s festivities.

For me, my paternal uncle, Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s hard-earned electoral victory brings to mind what ought to have happened for the immortalized Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics some sixty years ago.

Interestingly, it was Dr. Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye-Danquah who first officially introduced the all-too-rational concept of Indigenous Capitalism (IC) which, quite unfortunately, was bizarrely and cynically subjected to misplaced ridicule by one of the now-erstwhile aspirants for the presidential candidacy of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for Election 2008.

Perhaps not in so many words, but unmistakably, Dr. Danquah’s young and impetuous critic, who could well have been the Doyen’s own grandson, even as this writer is also his great-grandnephew, sough to cavalierly depict Indigenous Capitalism in the same disdainful manner that American presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush (or Papa Bush) sought to portray the middle- and lower-class-sensitive economic agenda of the U.S. Democratic Party as “Voodoo Economics,” or “Voodoonomics.”

What was risibly striking, however, was the blistering ignorance of the critic; he had grossly mistaken the very pragmatic concept of Indigenous Capitalism to be one that was expediently minted by Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the 2007 NPP Delegates’ Convention. Thus the critic, an American-trained and American-based physician persistently sought to engage in a gratuitous rhetorical fisticuff with the NPP’s newly-elected Presidential Candidate. Fortunately, the desperate and presumptuous heckler and would-be president’s vacuous wish was not granted. Likewise, NPP delegates to the 2007 National Convention were neither fooled; and so, it appears, Dr. Know-It-All ended up voting for himself. Which was, indeed, quite democratic, when one ponders the matter meticulously.

In the wake of Aspirant Know-It-All’s electoral debacle (he had once even asserted that this writer seemed to dislike him for no apparent reason), I phoned his putative U.S. propaganda point man, whom I have come to know fairly well and even admire, and congratulated them both for having put up a spirited, albeit, ultimately a losing battle. And as I intimated at the beginning of this article, I politely pleaded with my good friend to zip up any congratulatory gesture, or message, that he had for me, until the main battle for The Castle had been triumphantly negotiated, as it ought to have been the case, had the Ghanaian electorate studiously paid heed to the prophetic message of the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics a tad over a half-century back; needless to say, had the Ghanaian electorate sided with constructive leadership, our collective destiny would have been far more propitious today.

Alas, rather than opt for political pragmatism and statesmanship in 1950 and 1956, the majority – albeit scarcely an overwhelming majority – of Ghanaians had decided to facilely truck with garish political showmanship.

Interestingly, the epic collapse of Socialism, globally, is an event that has yet to reach the Ghanaian counterparts – actually servile fellow journeymen and women – of the international socialist community. Recently, as they had done several times before, the rump-Convention People’s Party (CPP) organized a congress during which the rump-CPP elected a nominal socialist who has made more money living and working in the United States, the capitalist heartland, than the African Show Boy could dream about in a lifetime, as its presidential candidate for Election 2008. It would be quite interesting to observe how the afore-referenced candidate treks the length and breadth of the country selling his brand of pseudo-socialism to a phenomenally sophisticated Ghanaian electorate.

Already, there is tangible evidence that the drum-major of the rump-CPP would be hedging his campaign agenda, and platform, around the brazen mendacities of yesteryear’s Nkrumaism. Indeed, not quite long ago, the rump-CPP presidential candidate, then as aspiring presidential candidate, stood in the Northern Regional Capital of Tamale and flatly lied to potential Election 2008 voters to the damnable effect that the Fourth-Republican Constitution stipulates the summary proscription of any registered political party whose leader has served two terms at the helm of Ghana’s ship of state. Very likely, the concerned candidate made this patently mendacious assertion after having guzzled too many calabashfulls of Pito, the local drink of choice.

In all likelihood, being a bona fide member of the bourgeoisie community (aristocratic community, by Ghanaian standards), Comrade Rump-CPP had actually drank at least two cartons of either Scotch Whiskey or California’s brand of Gordon’s Dry Gin.

Indeed, Election 2008 promises to be quite exciting, particularly since both the perennial presidential candidate of the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the rump-CPP claim to be veritable avatars, or reincarnated representatives, of the African Show Boy. The Akans have a maxim which perspicuously notes that: “It is the very scourge (or whip) that is used to discipline Baah that is also used to discipline Takyi.” And so just exactly what makes the NDC and rump-CPP presidential candidates facilely presume Ghanaians to be wistfully expectant of a reprise of Nkrumaist dictatorship remains to be seen.

Some have even sought to cynically depict “Nkrumaist Republicanism” as one that pursued an executive brand of leadership. The reality, however, is far less flattering: and it is simply that “Nkrumaist Republicanism” is just another shamelessly dolled up brand of a one-man dictatorship. And the latter pretty much explains the fact that President Nkrumah neither had a Vice-President nor a Prime Minister, in the wake of the Show Boy’s virtually unilateral declaration of Ghana as a Republic in 1960. And here must also be unreservedly emphasized the fact that by a unilateral presidential decree, the African Show Boy prohibited the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics from using mobile vans owned by the opposition United Party (UP) during the 1960 presidential and republican campaign. In effect, the 1960 presidential election by which ardent and fanatical Nkrumaists readily swear, in the dubious name of democracy was, at best, a veritable charade (see “When Dancers Play Historians and Thinkers”). That Nkrumah, in lieu of naming a Vice-President, rather imperiously maintained an amorphous trio of a Presidential Council, which largely operated in the absence of the substantive president, should unmistakably drive home to patriotic and well-meaning Ghanaian voters exactly what brand of political culture lies in store for them should they, Providence forbid, make the unpardonable electoral blunders of 1950, 1954, 1956, 1960 and 1965. In an article cynically and vindictively titled “Kofi Coomson Eats Humble Pie” ( 12/24/07), following Nana Akufo-Addo’s election as the Presidential Candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party for Election 2008, the Ghanaian Observer, an Nkrumah-leaning paper, sought to cavalierly rib the imperious publisher and widely-known Akufo-Addo hater as a political loser. This is rather curious and ironic, being that the publisher of the Ghanaian Observer is not exactly an Akufo-Addo fan or well-wisher.

On the other hand, while, indeed, he has been known to detest Nana Akufo-Addo, both politically and personally, still, Mr. Kofi Coomson is a paid-up member of the ruling New Patriotic Party, and one whose post-electoral and well-meaning input is likely to redound to the benefit of the NPP come Election 2008. And so, yes, Mr. Coomson has not exactly been an ally of the NPP presidential candidate – and on the latter score must also be observed the fact that Mr. Coomson is, by no means, a lone ranger in his animus. Still, it amounts to the gratuitous roiling of the proverbial storm in a teacup for anybody to claim that in aptly and wisely going over to congratulate the victorious NPP presidential candidate, Mr. Coomson had been forced to eat humble pie, as it were. Actually, his remarkably manly gesture has almost guaranteed that Mr. Coomson would be recognized as a formidable ally in the uphill task of preserving our hard-won Ghanaian democracy, come Election 2008. The same cannot be said for the cynical publisher of the Ghanaian Observer. So butt out, Mr. Faux French-African!

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of twelve books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (, 2005).

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.