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Opinions of Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka

How the UP/NLM/NLC/PP/NPP Shortchanged Nkrumah’s Ghana

OTAN HUNU: How the UP/NLM/NLC/PP/NPP Shortchanged Nkrumah’s Ghana


If we are to believe Nkrumah’s critics, he was a dictator. He misused Ghana’s resources and stole power from the myopic UP/NLM malcontents. He was a show-boy who took Ghana in the wrong direction. He was too virulent a Pan Africanist. Nkrumah, they contend, should have been a lot more inward-looking, instead of extending Ghana’s largesse and mercies to other struggling African countries. Nkrumah would not allow Baffour Akoto and his gaggle of shameless terrorists to pursue federalism so that Ashanti region could enjoy its cocoa bonanza instead of sharing it with the rest of lazy Ghana. Maybe the oil discovery should also be limited to only western region too. No? Oh these selfish self-centered champions of malignant parochialism!! They feed fat on vile pap!

Solution: To solve the migraine called Dr Kwame Oye-Adieyie Nkrumah, the NLM agitated, bombed, maimed, killed and engaged in all kinds of destabilizing activities to make sure that the British either delayed or did not grant Ghana independence. Indeed, there were several attempts on Nkrumah’s life. Women, children and innocent people were callously killed by the NLM/NPP tradition. They teamed up with both CPP insiders and outsiders to make sure that country Ghana as we know it, did not come into being. It had to be the misguided royals running the country or nothing. After tolerating and nursing the foolishness of the NLM and the lemmings that adore it for a long while, the dewy-eyed British, eventually figured out, that, they, the NLM, had nothing to offer. As a result, they organized elections. Nkrumah won soundly and despite further protestation, independence was declared. Even the dewy-eyed anti Nkrumah British could no longer tolerated a bunch of misguided rebels without a cause. After all, who can tolerate a bunch of cry babies who complain incessantly but will not offer solutions or come to the table when offered the opportunity to?

Today, the descendants of the UP/NLM/NLC/PP attempt to sweep their past under the rug and regurgitate Nkrumah’s ideas under the illusion of being “big minds”. If the UP tradition can claim big-mindedness for resurfacing Nkrumah’s ideas, why is Nkrumah not a big mind in their eyes? This reminds me of the Republicans in American. They have all the answers!! Nothing good can come from Obama! Yet, as soon as Obama embraces their idea, that idea becomes radioactive or toxic. It is this kind of hate and partisan rancor that can strangle or chokehold a country.

Evaluating the Solution: As a result of the solution chosen by a small group of malcontents, Ghana is rid of a”dictator” who is smart enough to do everything constitutionally. In his place, was installed, a far harsher dictatorship called the NLC in 1966. In effect, Ghana loses a dictator only to be replaced with another group of absolute, mindless and uncouth dictators. This time, the dictators are a bunch of men, trained to kill, not engage in diplomacy, for a living. In the course of running the country, these soldiers and their NLM masters, discover the hard way, that, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The alleged corruption that they riled against becomes intensified and institutionalized. All of a sudden, and having absolute power, the NLM is either not able to or abandons its phony federalism chant. Why didn’t Baffour Akoto implement his federalism hoax when the NLC had absolute power? Was it really about federalism or just sheer power grab and greed?

In the course of the wanton destruction that followed Nkrumah’s removal, freedom of the press was gravely sacrificed. For the first time, Ghanaians were ruled by decrees. Soldiers without the mandate of the people lorded ruthlessly and reigned without accountability. Indeed, the UP/NLM/PP tradition was emboldened to the extent that even when the NLC cleverly ushered in the so called Progress Party, having handcuffed the great CPP party, Busia still followed in the lawless tradition by declaring “no court” after a legitimate court verdict. In local parlance: Did we go or come? Haba! Should Ghana go from bad to worse? Have we recovered since?

As if possessed and in a bid to eradicate Nkrumah’s memory forever, all state enterprises were put on skids headed towards purgatory. African pride and a need to develop from within was badly dented!! State enterprises were sold to greedy NLM/PP party cronies. It got so good that the PP choose to use the Aliens Compliance Order to eliminate foreign investors so that their greedy lot could take over their investments. This ACO effort by the Progress Party, irreparably gutted Ghana’s anemic private sector. Even aliens born in Ghana were snared in this ill-tempered disgrace and blight on Ghana’s otherwise great pan-African record. Later Nigeria retaliated in the Black Maria episode that senselessly spilled Ghanaian blood. If as a Ghanaian, you experience hostility in another African country, don’t forget the ACO legacy of Busia and the Progress Party.

As Nkrumah goes, so does free education and healthcare for all Ghanaians. These efforts were discontinued with the goal of introducing a market based system. What the simple small-minded NLM/UP/NLC/PP/NPP goons did not understand at that time was that these programs were, and are needed now, to bring a new democracy along. It was vitally necessary to develop and shore up our human capital if we are to develop. Even mature democracies have enough sense to know that education and healthcare is a public treasure that cannot be left to the cruel forces of the market. Definitely not in a newly independent country, marked by poverty, political immaturity and an embryonic private sector. The market does not have all the answers. This is why even in advance democracies, healthcare and education continue to be free if not rights. But what can you expect of small minds hell bent on destroying the whole to save the narrow, few and misguided?

Let’s look closely at free education in particular since it is now part of Nana Addo platform. Currently Ghana’s education system is in a mess. The quality and quantity of our human capital is nowhere near where it could be. We continue to waste talented have-nots because we refuse to invest and expand capacity. In the intervening years between Nkrumah’s removal and now, Ghana continues to nourish a colonial educational system not geared to her real, immediate and relevant needs. Our government pays lip service to education and pours its resources instead in corruption. Currently, some university graduates in Ghana cannot speak and write proper English.

The real symbol of our educational malaise is exemplified by the Asantehene gallivanting around the world begging for funds to educate people in his region. And by using region, I am being generous here. The Asantehene, more often than not, acts for his tribe, even though others end up benefitting marginally. His mandate comes directly from his tribe. Imagine where Ghana would be, if free education as engendered by Nkrumah was not interrupted? Will Asantehene have to beg for education funds for his region if Nkrumah-like free education was in effect? Clearly, one can see how the NLM goons destroyed something great and sent Ghana in a downward spiral. Now, we are all painfully living the consequences of the extremism and mindlessness that pillared the UP/NLM. It is time to prioritize and give education the large stage that it deserves! Will our leaders step up?

To summarize, I believe the solution adopted to solve a perceived problem, was totally misaligned. Problem solving must not always start with wanton destruction. Even if you disagree with the other side, it shows maturity and level-headedness (Big Mind) to find some redeeming qualities and continuity in your perceived enemy’s deeds. Whatever happened to objective assessment? Allowing one’s self to be blinded by hate and devoid of critical thinking is something that small minds, not big minds, do. In addition, refusal to acknowledge blatant mistakes is a poison pill for collaboration and learning from avoidable mistakes. An effective leader is one who practices the art of compromise, diversity, teambuilding, self-assessment and inclusiveness.

If Nana Addo should win, he must bring all Ghanaians together, not just Akans. He must have the temerity to admit past mistakes that his party’s tradition made. Digging his heels in and justifying foolishness based on spurious and uninformed contortions will only calcify our already trembling fault lines. Like the Republicans in America, repeating lies after lies consistently and hoping that it will morph into the truth devalues one’s credibility. We will not tolerate revisionist history! Ghana needs a new age politician who is able to operate above past parochial shenanigans. We need a Ghanaian president for all and not a divider! Big mindedness can be observed in searing constructive action not vile partisan rhetoric based on fat fibs. Viva Ghana!

Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman (Widely hailed as the double edge sword—

I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell---Harry Truman