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Opinions of Thursday, 21 June 2007

Columnist: Amoo-Appau, Kwaku

Fathia-Nkrumah Was A Victim Of Nkrumaism - A Rejoinder

This article is a rejoinder to one written by Dr Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., titled “Helena-Ritz Fathia-Nkrumah was a Victim of Nkrumaism.” I understand that Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe is a lecturer in English Language and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. I also understand that he is the author of a book titled: “Dr J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana.”

I found some comments or allegations made by Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe against our first President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah (may he rest in peace) very distasteful and unfortunate. In his article, Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe accused the late President of rape and or incest. He wrote and I quote:

“In America,…under the right circumstances, Nkrumah could either have been promptly charged with statutory rape or even incest.”

Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe made such a serious allegation against the first President of Ghana in his article; but no where in the article was he able to substantiate the allegation. As a scholar who likes to exhibit his credentials, I suggest he could have done better than that. He could have, at least, come up with a couple of examples to substantiate his accusation of rape and or incest against the President. To make such a loose and unsubstantiated allegation against the memory and reputation of the first President is, to say the least, very unfortunate and fails all tests of scholarship.

In the article, it was not made quite clear, where the alleged act of rape or incest could have been committed. Was it committed in America? If the alleged rape was committed in America why was he not charged? Or was it Dr Nkrumah’s marriage to Fathia (may she rest in peace) that Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe classifies as rape or incest? I am at a loss. I stand to be corrected. I also could not understand what Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe meant by “under the right circumstances.”

If it is Dr Nkrumah’s marriage to Fathia that Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe classifies as rape or incest, what is the justification for making such an allegation at all? If it is Fathia, how could Dr Nkrumah be accused of incest because Fathia was never a blood relative of Nkrumah or, is he alleging, in his rape claim, that Fathia was under age when she met Nkrumah?. Where is the evidence for this claim?

In the article, Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe expressed doubts that Dr Nkrumah ever married Fathia. Let Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe be advised that, we have it on the authority of Gamel Nkrumah that, his father (and I quote):

“…married Fathia on the evening of her arrival in Ghana: New Year’s Eve, 1957-1958.”

According to Gamel, Dr Kwame Nkrumah married Fathia in a civil ceremony devoid of pomp and fanfare.

So Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe , where is the allegation of rape or incest coming from? Or is it lack of integrity on your part, in spite of your education? People of integrity do not make such loose and unsubstantiated allegations to tarnish the image of others be they alive or dead.

I challenge Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe to come out with the facts, if any. Failing that he should render a public apology to the memory of our beloved first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, his recently deceased spouse, Madam Fathia Nkrumah, and their children, friends and well-wishers alike for making such loose, unfounded, malicious and irresponsible allegations to tarnish the image and memory of the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and also make an undertaking to refrain from making such loose and unsubstantiated allegations against any other personality in the future.

In his article, Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe sought to make a case that Madam Fathia Nkrumah, Ghana’s first First Lady was a victim of Nkrumaism. Unfortunately, he failed woefully to establish his central theme. The article, in the end turned out to be a general commentary on the career of Dr Kwame Nkrumah and other pan-Africanists. No where in the article was Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe able to demonstrate that Fathia was a “Victim of Nkrumaism”.

If Madam Fathia Nkrumah was a victim, she was the victim of the coup-makers, who shattered her matrimonial life, deprived her children of their beloved father and ruined the career of her beloved husband, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. The coup-makers called their now infamous exercise as “the glorious 24 February 1966 Revolution”. How glorious the so-called “24 February 1966 Revolution” was is a matter of great debate.

Nkrumah, as the first President of Ghana had a really hard time from his internal and external political enemies. Nkrumah made huge achievements on the Ghanaian (or the Gold Coast) political landscape, which sadly, his internal political opponents chose not to acknowledge. Here is somebody whose Party, the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP), in the 1952 general elections, won 34 out of the 38 seats in the then Gold Coast Legislative Assembly, while Dr Nkrumah, the founder of the Party, was still a political prisoner of the British Colonial Government. This election was conducted by the Colonial Government and could never have been rigged by the CPP. Could it? Nevertheless, the Opposition chose not to accept the people’s mandate in good faith and continued to oppose and sabotage the efforts of Dr Nkrumah..

Dr Nkrumah during the period of his Presidency of Ghana was hunted aggressively and repeatedly like a wild animal in his own country – a country that he has freed from colonialism. On the Ghanaian (or the Gold Coast) political arena Nkrumah was something like a mini Jesus Christ – a redeemer of his people from slavery and serfdom (unlike Jesus, Nkrumah was Ghana’s political messiah) but like Jesus he was bitterly opposed and hated by his enemies to the point of death. Love him or hate him, Nkrumah was a great politician, statesman, great political organiser and a great orator. In short Dr Nkrumah was a political genius, par excellence.

During his Presidency, various attempts were made on his life. The notable and more serious life threatening ones were the following:

1. The August 1962 grenade attack on Dr Nkrumah at Kulungugu in the then Northern Region of Ghana, during a state visit to that part of the country. As a result of this cowardly attack, an innocent school girl lost her life – may she rest in peace.

2. The January 1964 attack on him at the Flagstaff House by a crazy man by the name of Constable Seth Ametewe. As a result of this attack on the President, one security officer by the name of Salifu Dagarti lost his life – may he also rest in peace.

The above events and other similar events were really traumatic that could seriously affect the psychological make up of any person be it a man or a woman or a child. If Fathia was a “victim” as claimed by Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe, I suggest she was also a victim of such wicked and vicious persons who were bent on taking the life of her husband by way of political assassination rather than a victim of Nkrumaism. Fathia indeed showed much resilience and commitment to her husband and Ghana. In the face of these difficulties she could have left the husband and the country but she did not.

Dr Nkrumah had his faults. What manner of man does not? He was, for example, quite reckless in the dissipation of State funds. At the time of Independence, Ghana had a healthy foreign exchange balance, but this was unfortunately, squandered rather recklessly. In fact Nkrumah was not a good economic manager at all. One other weakness of Dr Nkrumah was his inability to effectively check the excesses of some of his Ministers of State (a case in mind is the late Krobo Edusei – may he rest in peace) and some of his Party functionaries. Another problem that Dr Nkrumah had was his inability to tolerate dissenting opinion, which was quite unfortunate.

Nevertheless, Dr Nkrumah did a lot of good for Ghana and succeeded in raising the image of the black man on the world scene. His educational policies were good. I personally benefited a lot from his good educational policies otherwise life could have been quite different and miserable for me.

The profile of Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe that comes from his article is that of a frustrated person who is staunchly anti-CPP and anti-Nkrumah. It is okay to be anti-CPP or anti-Nkrumah. What is not okay is to make loose and unsubstantiated allegations to tarnish the image and memory of Dr Nkrumah – the founder of the CPP and the State of Ghana and “the most illustrious African” (to quote Gamel Nkrumah).

Lastly, I want to make a brief comment on Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe’s style and diction. Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe seems to have a good mastery of the English Language. He seems to prefer using flowery language to exhibit his prowess in the English Language. He is an exhibitionist and a show man in that respect. If he seeks to be a good and effective communicator, he needs to appreciate that it is not everybody who has a stomach for verbose and high falutin language. Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe’s articles are always full of high sounding academic and redundant language. He seems to be stuck in the past, in this era of use of plain English in everyday life. For a person who allegedly teaches English language and journalism, effective communication does not seem to be Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe’s strongest attribute. May I suggest to Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe that he leaves his “big words” for his professorial thesis and his English Language and Journalism students and endeavour to come down to earth in his future articles on the Ghanaweb site.

Dr. K. A.Busia (may he rest in peace) was reputed to be one of the best scholars Ghana has ever produced. Nevertheless, in his public speeches and writings, he used very simple and straight forward English, that even Middle School leavers could understand. His sentences were generally short and precise. Dr Busia’s style of writing was something that never ceased to amaze me. Not that Dr Busia did not have a mastery of “big words” like Dr Okoampa-Ahoofe, but he chose not to use them. As an effective communicator, Dr Busia brought himself down to earth to the level of his target audience. That is a mark of great scholarship.

May the soul of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of the State of Ghana, forever rest in peace. May the soul of Madam Fathia Nkrumah, the beloved wife of our first President and our mother, also forever rest in peace. May the souls of Dr Ako-Adjei, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey, Dr J. B. Danquah, Mr Edward Akuffo-Addo, Mr William Ofori-Atta, Dr Busia and all our founding fathers forever rest in peace. Long live Ghana – our beloved country.

Kwaku Amoo-Appau
Canberra, Australia.
16 June 2007

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