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Opinions of Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Nduom?s Politics of Lies and Criminally Jaded Symbolism

The announcement regarding Ms. Samia Nkrumah?s intention to run for Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom?s parliamentary seat would have come as quite refreshing, were it also not rather politically tawdry, cheap and downright cynical (Daily Guide 1/30/08).

For starters, the attempt to get Ms. Nkrumah involved in Ghanaian politics is nothing new; neither is it any more outrageous than the very first time when such attempt was widely publicized by the media. It must have been during the at once heady and turbulent era of the National Redemption Council-cum-Supreme Military Council (NRC-SMC); and it involved a dubious wannabe Nkrumah character called Mr. Kankam Da Costa, a man who was almost old enough to have fathered Ms. Samia Nkrumah. And, alas, just as I started writing this article, a colleague of mine who attended Koforidua?s Seventh-Day Adventist Teacher-Training College, at Asokore, with him, informed me that Mr. Da Costa has since died. May his soul find peace in eternity.

What is interesting about the Kankam Da Costa story is that our subject had been implicated in an abortive coup attempt. It was during the course of the trial, if I recall accurately, that it came to light that this co-conspirator had intended to shoot his way into the Osu Castle and, in effect, the Ghanaian presidency.

Where Ms. Samia Nkrumah comes in regards the intention of Mr. Kankam Da Costa, as was revealed in the latter?s trial, to marry Ms. Nkrumah and then crown her First Lady of Ghana, even as the latter?s mother, Madam Fathia Nkrumah, had been made First Lady by the proverbial African Show Boy.

What also intrigued yours truly about the Daily Guide article, was the shameless attempt by the writer, or reporter, to sanitize the coital ? or conjugal ? prolificay (or prolificity) of ex-President Kwame Nkrumah by claiming, rather insolently, that Ms. Samia Nkrumah is ?the only daughter of Ghana?s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.? It would, needless to say, have been far more accurate for the Daily Guide reporter to have stated that Ms. Samia Nkrumah is, indeed, the only daughter of ex-President Nkrumah by the latter?s Egyptian wife, Madam Fathia, as the latter was popularly known by Ghanaians.

The preceding, it is significant to observe, is no isolated or inadvertent blunder on the part of the reporter; for until very recently, quite a number of Ghanaian journalists adamantly insisted on describing Mr. Gamal Nasser Nkrumah as the dauphin, or eldest son, of Ghana?s deposed President-for-Life. The truth of the matter is that long before the African Show Boy met and began making babies by his Egyptian trophy of a wife, the Show Boy?s much-touted conjugal attempt to organically link the so-called Arab North Africa with the latter?s so-called Sub-Saharan neighbor, Mr. Kwame Nkrumah had a son who was about the same age as his Egyptian wife. President Nkrumah?s son by his Ghanaian ?woman? is today called Dr. Francis Nkrumah, named after his famous father whose spitting image quite a slew of Ghanaians have insisted the younger Dr. Nkrumah is.

In the Daily Guide article, sensationally titled ?2008 Elections, Samia Nkrumah Joins Race,? Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom is quoted to be claiming that President Nkrumah ?met and married his first wife [whose name is not provided at Elmina] and gave birth to [Dr.] Francis [Nkrumah], a half-brother to Samia.? If, indeed, the future President Nkrumah actually ?married? a Ghanaian woman from Elmina once, the Show Boy?s extensive corpus of autobiographical writings are gapingly silent on this particular conjugal kinship.

In sum, we now know Dr. Nduom to be a pathological ? and perhaps even a congenital ? liar; and so we shall not seriously take the rump-CPP presidential candidate up on his claim to the Daily Guide reporter that, somehow, President Nkrumah had ?met and married his first wife and [given] birth to Francis, a half-brother to Samia? at Elmina. Of course, yours truly is fully aware of the fact of President Nkrumah having once briefly taught in the Elmina vicinity, or district, as a young schoolteacher. We also know that the future first Prime Minister and President of Ghana had cohabited with a petty trader by whom he had begotten a quite distinguished son by the name of Dr. Francis Nkrumah, who for several decades served as a pediatrician at Ghana?s flagship health facility, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra. Yours truly personally had the opportunity to espy Dr. Nkrumah?s nameplate ? or shingle ? on his office door during his many visits to the Children?s Ward at Korle-Bu while growing up.

We also know that the first President of Ghana had not played any major role in the upbringing of Dr. Francis Nkrumah, and had only become involved in the life of his eldest child when the latter was practically an adult and virtually economically independent, having been raised by his single mother. And to be certain, legend even has it that the younger Dr. Nkrumah?s mother had strongly discouraged her son from forging any intimate filial relationship with his absentee and perennially disengaged father.

As for Dr. Nduom?s myth about Ms. Samia Nkrumah having planted deep roots in Elmina township, we leave the latter claim for the good people and voters of Elmina to decide at the polls. We must also hasten to add the fact that among the Akan of Ghana, one does not claim familial roots in any village or town by mere reason of having a half-sibling whose mother was born there; unless, of course, Dr. Nduom could also vouchsafe that the very generational gap separating Dr. Francis Nkrumah from the latter?s half-sister, Samia, in of itself veritably constitutes a kind of filial relationship which is the practical equivalent of one?s cultural indigeneity.

Whether Paa Kwesi Nduom?s cynical politics of pathological mendacity carries him as far as the Osu Castle, or even the Flagstaff House, come December 2008, remains to be seen. Truthfully speaking, I am not holding my breath.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. E-mail:

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