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Opinions of Monday, 25 September 2017

Columnist: Kwaku Badu

How our departed patriots created a cleavage among the living

It is no exaggeration to state that the unresolved public discourse on whether if we have a founder or founders, in our tortuous and heartrending journey to independence, is becoming extremely dreary and irritating.

To be fair, though, the chivalrous enthusiast Dr Nkrumah’s foresightedness and patriotism towards the attainment of independence cannot be overlooked anyhow.

To digress momentarily, historically, the patriots were the loyalists, colonists who remained loyal to England and King George. For the patriots, there was no alternative but to gain independence from England, the Mother Country.

In that regard, they worked strenuously to bring those men who were on the fence or neutral into their brood, knowing that they needed to build a massive support base. Patriots were masters of propaganda, as they composed literature to spread the cause of American nationalism.

Take, for example, Thomas Paine, a patriot and writer, shared the sentiment of his fellow man in a famous pamphlet called 'Common Sense.' His words echoed, 'These are the times that try men's souls,' and helped to incite the people's spirit against England.

Similarly, there were many great patriot leaders following the French and Indian War and leading up to the Revolutionary War because of the constant tensions between the colonists and British soldiers.

One such patriot was General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief. He led the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, which consisted of a patriotic crew of soldiers from all the colonies.

Apparently, Washington's bravery and ingenuity on the battlefield roused support from them, and they elected him the first President of the United States (Source: study.com).

Ironically, whilst the ‘Nkrumaists’ would only choose to project their Doyen’s praiseworthy deeds, his obdurate antagonists would rather prefer to dwell largely on the infelicitous and somewhat catastrophic undertakings.

As a matter of fact, it would only take a remorseless polemicist to put up an argument against the well-acknowledged fact that Dr Nkrumah really did so much for Ghana; arguably, both good and bad.

But all said and done, the unresolved issue, however, is whether if Dr Nkrumah is the sole founder of Ghana or founded Ghana with other patriots.

It is, however, worthy of note that whilst some discussants hold a contestable view that such a public discourse is somewhat irrelevant and does not worth discussing, some reformists would rather like to see finality on the seemingly controversial issue.

Let me however state emphatically that this periodical does not seek to delve largely into the historical dimensions of the topic under discussion, but rather, it discusses who a founder really is, per the extant signification of the Queen’s English morphemes.

Interestingly, the synonyms of the Queen’s English word founder, according to the Oxford English dictionary, include, inter alia, originator, institutor, initiator, creator, organiser, instigator etc.

For the purposes of this periodical and based upon morphological interpretation, of all the above acceptations of who really is a founder, I will rather settle on ‘originator’ to advance my argument.

“An originator or a founder is an individual who, on his/her own thought, initiates an idea and takes measures to bring that idea into reality or fruition.”

The all-important question we should pose frankly then is: did Dr Nkrumah actually initiate the independence process?

In my humble opinion, if Dr Nkrumah did initiate the process, then, there should be no question whatsoever, as to whether if he is the founder of Ghana.

On the other hand, if Dr Nkrumah did not initiate the independence process in isolation, how could we then argue forcefully and somewhat inanely that he is the founder of Ghana?

Metaphorically, Dr Nkrumah took the final baton, then uncharacteristically dismissed the views of his compatriots and boldly skipped through the finishing line.

If that was the case, wouldn’t be boundlessly unfair and incommodious to conclude that since Dr Nkrumah ran the final lap independent of the rest of the team, he did the job in isolation?

Of course, the notion that Dr Nkrumah met stiff opposition from his compatriots leading to the attainment of independence cannot be dismissed facilely.

But that said, it is worthy of note that working teams are synonymous with conflicts, and, the fact that there were unresolved conflicts among the team does not mean that Dr Nkrumah is the originator or founder of the entire process.

Apparently, it is well-documented that some true patriots initiated the idea of independence from the British long before the timeous arrival of Dr Nkrumah from the United Kingdom.

It is, however, worthy of mention that the umpteenth group back then, was the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), which was formed on 4th August 1947.

According to the available historical facts, the organisers magnanimously extended an invitation to the equally intrepid and patriotic Dr Nkrumah in London to take an important position as the paid General Secretary of the organisation.

To his credit, though, Dr Nkrumah graciously obliged and took the position. But as it is with any other working team, unexpected dissonance ensued and the members unfortunately parted ways.

Consequently, Dr Nkrumah, together with a few unhappy UGCC apologists broke away and formed the Convention Peoples Party (CPP).

While the other remaining members of the UGCC later formed a new party called the United Party (UP).

It is, however, worth stressing that the collective purpose was to attain the elusive independence from the colonial masters by any means possible.

The point of departure, though, was how to achieve the ultimate from the colonial masters.

And without sounding garrulous, Dr Nkrumah’s approach appeared pragmatic and thus fast-tracked the process which contributed largely to the attainment of the elusive independence from the British on 6th March 1957.

Let us make no mistake, Dr Nkrumah took the final baton and estimably guided it to the finishing line in spite of the enormous exigencies along the way.

But all said and done, I do not want to buy the somewhat isolated thinker’s view point that Dr Nkrumah single handedly founded Ghana (whatever that actually means), if we were to go by the existing significations of the Queen’s English vocabulary called founder.

Based on the available evidence, it is crystal-clear that Dr Nkrumah could not have instigated the process from the United Kingdom, so what is all the farce about him being tagged as the sole founder of Ghana?

Let us therefore be honest, despite the profound divergence of opinions among the patriots back then, it is monstrously unfair and unconscionable to confer founding status to only Dr Nkrumah.

Without doubt, the deliberate and unpardonable refusal to celebrate the other patriots gives credence to the cliché: ‘a nation that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for’.

It is, therefore, boundlessly irrational for a few people to convene and decide who actually founded Ghana and then go ahead to celebrate only one contributor and shamefully and conveniently ignored the rest.

In sum, for the sake of fairness, we should rather celebrate the founding fathers’ day and not a founding father’s day.