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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Columnist: Nana Frema Busia

The Danquah Vs Nkrumah unreconciled feud. A Ghana problem

Nana Frema Busia, dau Nana Frema Busia, dau

Busia's Daughter Refines Political Correction of H. E. Akufo Addo

Mr. President, this is a comprehensive political overview of our lopsided history. I write for posterity your Excellency. Dr. Danquah is part of a group of several actors in a joint and later split convention collaborating with others operating separately to create a ground swell movement of the chiefs, the youth, and peoples in an initiated collective process of freedom from colonial rule. Colonial notes from British archives inset, gives us a distinct perspective on Dr. Danquah’s political career to broaden our scope of his projected public profile,

Mr. President, on 9thJanuary 1960, Dr. J.B. Danquah made a controversial statement as follows: “WHEN INDEPENDENCE WAS ACHIEVED, THE CONVENTION PEOPLE'S PARTY “CPP” HAD NOT BEEN FORMED. THE INAUGURATION OF INDEPENDENCE TOOK PLACE WHEN CPP WAS IN POWER, BUT THE PRIEST WHO BAPTISES A CHILD, IS NOT BY ANY CHANCE THE CHILDS PARENTS”. Mr. President, in this statement, Dr. Danquah was arrogating to himself and the UGCC, the achievement of Ghana’s independence as parents. Mr. President it seems Dr. Danquah's proclamation is the operational script that you are following. The question is, is it justifiable to impose Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah on Ghana and reassert the supremacy of the UGCC by commemorating Aug 4th the day of its inauguration in 1947 to star as a national holiday to celebrate the 'real' and exclusive “Founders” of Ghana?

Mr. President, an insightful analysis of Ghana's political history reveal that Dr. Danquah, envisaged the ambition of wearing a 'Crown of happiness’ in a Unified nation equivalent to a “child” that was to be born from the existing territories of: 1. the Gold Coast Colony\Fante Confederacy 2. the Northern territories, 3. The British Togoland and 4. Ashanti territory with Brong Ahafo incorporated under his leadership as its First President. This was Dr. Danquah’s most endearing dream and focus in life. This is aptly captured in Dr. Danquah’s own words:

“Since my energy is dangerously limited and since my life is dangerously short, and since I would rather achieve a bit, however little, than attempt many things on a broad scale, I HAVE MADE IT MY AIM TO ATTAIN SATISFACTION, IF I WERE TO REALIZE MY DREAM OF A GOLD COAST NATION BEFORE MY DEATH. As we say in the vernacular: “Man is sent into this world to do a bit, not to do all” [onipa beyee bi wammeye ne nyinaa]' Dr. J. B. Danquah 7th March 1952.

Mr. President, when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the CPP “captured or kidnapped' so to speak, Dr. Danquah's “Self-Government NOW” battle cry, this was in part Dr. Danquah's response which sheds further light on his most endearing and dedicated dream .

“Sir Kwame….. The GHANA OF WHICH I DREAMT BEFORE YOU CAME, is not a hell of destruction but an earth of discontent and rational struggle and in the end A CROWN OF HAPPINESS ” Dr J. B. Danquah 25th December 1949.

Mr. President, Understanding the nuances and sensibilities of Ghana's history from a Danquah premise is to grasp the deep wound of the story of a trusted compatriot and benefactor, Dr Nkrumah, 'forcing a premature birth from a 'mid to near full-term pregnancy', 'stealing' the “child Ghana” from the parents -UGCC / Dr Danquah, officiating her baptism as a priest and then “causing the death of her expectant father”, Dr. Danquah.

Mr. President, it seems obvious that it is in anticipation of satisfying Dr. Danquah's AIM of wearing ' a crown of happiness' in a Gold Coast Nation which proved not just 'achieving a bit in an onipa beyee bi sentiment', but a herculean task, that Dr. Danquah as a proud “father to be”, researched what name that 'child' was to be christened at birth -“GHANA” i.e. at the attainment of independence. Intrinsic in the origin of the name “Ghana” though, is a trauma of divisive unhappiness for the country though it seems Dr. Danquah meant well, in his own words he “Slaved” over research to prove a hypothesis of his regarding the adopted name.

Mr. President, when I indicated previously that you considered yourself a successor to Dr. Danquah’s ‘hidden Presidency' and not Dr. K. A. Busia's actual leadership as Prime minister of Ghana, I was making a factual and not an idle unsupported statement. Indeed one could dare surmise that your own life- long ambition to be President, not unlike Dr. Danquah, stems from knife-edged ancestral wounds of his aborted Presidency entitlement. The philosophy of Dr. Danquah, that Ghana’s Independence was achieved before the CPP was formed makes the inaugural date of the UGCC August 4th, the effective date of the achievement of independence and Dr. Danquah as the notional President whose inaugural speech becomes the imputed independence declaration, hence the August 4th Founders day celebration newly introduced.

Mr. President, whether the late former President Prof John Attah Mills' enunciation of a public holiday on 21st September to honor Dr. Nkrumah's birthday as sole founder's day was a political ploy to entrench NDC Western region gains and NDC takeover of CPP votes nationwide or a genuine appreciation of the Osagyefo, it was an unnecessary gesture which opened up a deep gnashing unhealed Danquah / UGCC wound that was as non-representative and divisive of a collective independence effort as your founders' day equalization of August 4th to put a balm and bandage over a “malady without cure”.

Mr. President, in my view, Dr. Nkrumah who has been variously honored and had “a work and happiness for beautiful Ghana” adage does not need an idle holiday to his credit when that vision of a working happy Ghana is in disarray. We should Hashtag drop both 21st Sept and 4th August’ founder/s day as futile bitter holiday pills’.

Mr. President, The founder/s day is an unnecessary distraction of national life. A not so happy and haphazard, rather than a beautiful Ghana, has been duly celebrating an all-inclusive Actual Independence Day of 6th March 1957 for at least 50 years prior to the founder/s day advent without much ado. The opposition United Party “UP” that merged comprised: THE Northern Peoples Party “NPP”, THE Togoland Congress “TC”, the Federation of Youth Organizations “FYO”, Ga -Adangbe Shifimo Kpee “GASK”, and the National Liberation Movement “NLM” The“U.P” was ably represented by the official opposition leader Dr. K. A. Busia who seconded the independence motion with an acclaimed” impressive, brilliant, reasoned and objective' speech albeit without a UGCC component because the UGCC was non- existent..

Mr. President Dr. Danquah's “gospel” is that Dr. Nkrumah was merely a baptismal priest of the already “born child” “Ama Ghana's independence”. But is this the Truth? Is this factual? #1. Was independence achieved or born at the inauguration of the UGCC on August 4th 1947? # 2. Can the accomplishments of Dr Danquah /UGCC be deemed as per se, equal to the attainment of independence? #3. Does Dr. Nkrumah's role as the known campaigning insignia and UGCC General Secretary qualify him as integral to UGCC parenthood or was he equivalent to a “problematic foster child’ peripheral to the UGCC? # 4.What about Dr. Nkrumah's joint arrest and imprisonment with Dr. Danquah and others; the “Big Six” after the 28th February disturbances prior to the CPP “evil” split? Does the joint imprisonment and communist charges make Dr. Nkrumah a “vagabond” infiltrator? #5. Why did Dr. Danquah invite a “misfit' into his “empire” and who takes responsibility for the Nkrumah “anomaly” that Dr. Danquah seeks to denounce?

# 6. Mr. President, are we classifying UGCC membership as sole qualification for the birth of Ghana? I should respectfully think not: whereas laying a foundation for a building is the significant first step in the structural process, it cannot be equated to the completion of the building. In particular when the “would be owner” of the building is rendered incapacitated by extraneous factors, or dies prematurely at foundation level, no matter how tragically. While credit is due to those who lay the foundation, those who make contemporaneous as well as prior and subsequent conceptual as in architectural drawings which predate the foundation as well as material contribution to complete the building, become the Co-Owners and in some circumstances even sole owners!

Mr. President, Unless of course someone to whom the foundation was not bequeathed in a testators will or without purchase documents, an usurper or a 'serpent' so to speak according to Dr. Danquah, becomes a dominant player in the completion of the building to displace the original intended owners. Then when relatives have POLITICAL POWER they can play Founder/s Day chess Games of re-orientation. They can unofficially 'litigate' the notion of Dr. Nkrumah’s ‘illicit’ ownership of the “child called Ghana's independence”.

Mr. President, They can overturn Parliamentary birth records and popular affirmations using a Parliamentary majority, in a 'pseudo due process' to Equalize their counter claims. They can even attempt to exclude qualified claimants in the independence and Ghana “founding” struggle such as Kofi Abrefa Busia, a UGCC/ Danquah support pillar and chief cornerstone of the independence and democracy building who cannot be unhinged....And this political gamesmanship also does not connote freedom or justice.

Mr. President how is using NPP' parliamentary majority to ratify an August 4th Founders' day or bulldoze an infamous Busia University of Energy at fiapre for unconvincing reasons of getting rid of Prof Busia to make the University of Ghana available for a Dr. Danquah uplift and equalization with Dr. Nkrumah's KNUST different in principle from Dr Nkrumah's use of CPP parliamentary majority to rubber stamp and declare a One Party State to get rid of the comparatively minimal opposition from the Legislative Assembly Or even pass a PDA Act.? We should be wary of parliamentary majority misadventures regardless of the party in power Mr. President. Let us revisit Prof Busia for a relational analogy before our focus on Dr. Danquah.


Mr. President, in Prof Busia there was no contradiction. He stood for the pride of Africa, taught Africa to the world and announced Africa's readiness for a negotiated colonial exit that did not leave Africa uprooted from its democratic source as part of the essential processes leading to Ghana's independence on 6th March 1957 as epitomized in his epic speech that fateful day.

Mr. President, I am saying, without equivocation that Kofi Busia is also a legitimate 'key' founder of Ghana as the victorious universal symbol of Democracy and African intellect and Political thought in concrete form. An idyllic Africa's African who played the role of the forecaster and conceptual architect of not just Ghana but African independence and beyond. Furthermore before the formation of UGCC in 1947, Prof Busia had already served Ghana as a game changing competent District Commissioner from 1942 – 1946.

Mr. President, in advocating and sensitizing Europe to the psychological approval that Africa was not just capable of managing its affairs as asserted by Dr. Nkrumah in 1957 but that Africa's management of its own affairs in a democratic governance module predated her colonization, Prof Busia had this to say: “the wisdom of our ancestors lay in their ability to devise political institutions which reconciled sectional interests. Multi interest representation was a fundamental principle of our traditional political institutions. ----The case for monolithic one party rule cannot be based in our tradition. It should be noted that the traditional systems provided alternatives from which to choose, and heads, whether of families or tribes or chiefdoms, could be changed by those whom they represented. If we care to learn from our past, we shall find pointers to the solution of our contemporary problems of government, central as well as local. We had foundations for a democratic system of government”

Mr. President, During his speech to inaugurate the United Party: Prof Busia stated: “It is our firm resolve to resist these dictatorial tendencies and to unite for the achievement of sound democracy and social harmony in Ghana not only for the happiness and freedom of the citizens of Ghana, but also in order to aid the fulfillment of the aspirations of those colonial peoples in Africa and elsewhere who look to the success of Parliamentary government in Ghana for the early achievement of their own democracy” Thus, the visionary Prof Busia on whose horizon democratic rule was a ripened matter, undertook the challenge of preparatory independence for the continent as an intellectual antidote to the incredulity of western thoughtlessness of ingrained African inferiority of the “ Black” man who should be ruled.

Mr. President, Prof Busia's principal FOCUS was not when will independence be achieved? Achieving independence was a foregone conclusion in a Gold Coast African majority parliament under the Burns constitution. Prof Busia's cardinal issue and matter of principled intervention was democratic rule. The African democratic welfare ideology he had presented to Europe was affronted by the Dr. Nkrumah dogma of one party socialism. The concern was WHAT SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE IS SUITABLE, CULTURALLY COMPATIBIE, and SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL? Prof Busia's focus was thus building on the foundation of his cherished conviction of an ENDURING DEMOCRATIC AFRICA TO BE EXEMPLIFIED IN HIS NATIVE GHANA.

Mr. President, the colonial struggle for independence found convergence in a Prof Busia who after serving as D.C, with first hand firsthand experience and knowledge of colonial strategies fought a lateral independence battle in imperial Europe in the 1947/48 timeframe, by demonstrating the incongruity of colonial racist rule with his thesis and subsequent seminal Book “The Position of the chief in the modern political system of Ashanti”. This singular work was a succinct reminder of Africa's traditional democratic governance structure, its checks and balances and its adaptability to post-colonial modernism. He also effectively portrayed to Europe the hypocrisy of unjustifiable self-proclaimed European democracies acting as despots lording it over African pre-existing indigenous democratic societies. Prof Busia lectured and tutored Europe on the tenets of genuine democracy which was contrary to colonial policy including at the London School of Economics to amazed acceptance and respectability while Dr. Danquah's criticisms of Europe did not earn him any favors.

Mr. President, Kofi Busia was thus both a conceptual architect, contributory builder and Chief Cornerstone of the material components of Ghana's democratic independence with an objective lens consistent with UGCC anti -colonial rule goals. After years of Dr. Nkrumah's one party rule that he opposed, Prof Busia after being exiled as official opposition leader, ultimately succeeded in forming a government and projected “Ghananisation of the economy” albeit regrettably short lived with visible repercussions to Ghana’s progressive well-being. Thus, Mr. President, Prof Busia was not merely an academic who became an accidental or incidental politician, Prof Busia was a rare Political Academic who believed, lived and espoused the philosophy and ethics of African democracy from the outset of his academic career by purposeful designation and divine orientation as an exemplary dignified humble Public Servant.

Mr. President, Please let us now review colonial ‘Notes” below on a summary of Dr. Danquah's political career from colonial government political files at the United Kingdom Records office, Kew Gardens as introductory to our focus on Dr. Danquah.

Mr President, it is an interesting irony as evidenced in point # 5 above, that whereas Dr. Danquah was postulating “the dilemma of a minority speedy 'self - governance NOW 'approach, the UGCC has been considered as gradualist who missed the hungry mood in the country and their moment in history which was snatched from them by Dr. Nkrumah who was rather piloting a more measured as soon as necessary approach! So what became of the UGCC? Dr. Danquah/UGCC demand to the Watson Commission was that the GOLD Coast be granted immediate self-government because the colonial constitution was outmoded and the government under it was window dressing.

Consequently, Mr. President, Dr Danquah’s political quest consisted of presenting various constitutional drafts against colonial rule, including the UGCC Constitution under which Dr. Nkrumah founded the CPP, but Dr. Danquah’s ultimate Dominion constitution motion was defeated by Dr Nkrumah's “positive action” parliamentary majority. As a matter of fact Dr. Danquah’s proposed self-governing constitution was replaced by a Republican constitution and totalitarian one party suppression which has also been rejected by the global governance order.

Mr. President, as Prof Busia once said, if you are going into politics, “you must be prepared to stomach nonsense and be wounded by that strange master called opinion”. As evidenced in colonial notes point #8. This is the fate that faded Dr. Danquah / UGCC at a critical point of the independence struggle so that they were not even part of the NPP’s United Party “UP” tradition credentials which has Dr. Danquah's name as the principal personality.


Mr. President, In 1934, Dr. Danquah was Secretary to a successful delegation of the Gold Coast and Ashanti to the colonial office in London to demand enlargement of membership of the legislative council for non – chiefs to be made eligible as provincial members of the legislature. It is after this mission that he stayed further for 2yrs and independently conducted research on the name “GHANA”.

Mr. President, In 1946 Dr. Dr. Danquah wrote a letter to Nananom and the Joint 'Provincial' Council to solicit support for his election which ended thus:

“ …Today, I can truly say the political philosophy that has guided my work has received the universal assent of our people. I have and enjoy the confidence of our people. I have and enjoy the confidence of our national daily press, I have and enjoy the sympathy of our peasants and producers. I have and enjoy the comradeship and understanding of the intelligentsia, both in the municipalities and throughout the country. I am still counted upon by our leading chiefs, either individually or in their assemblies. The case is, I am proud to say, the same in Ashanti as in the colony, and the dreadful animosity entertained against me in certain lively quarters is, please God, a measure of my personal force. … I am one who is born and bred of the soil out of which our inarticulate people spring..... . Such is what I am. And as such as I am, I throw myself upon your election for further and higher and wider service in the new Legislative council”.

Mr. President, Dr. Danquahs' preface was that he was seeking election “not on presumption of worthiness but as a lifelong servant of our natural and anointed leaders”. However, his pride in self-assessment of supposed wide approval as though his upward climb to the happy crown of Presidency were guaranteed, was soon proved completely wrong. One could venture to say he was either totally out of touch with the 'terra firma’ solid ground, in navigating a rather treacherous political terrain or that if this were a realistic state of his status then Dr. Danquah's approval rating suddenly plummeted beyond recovery. BUT why?

The fact though is that even before the Nkrumah split from UGCC and formation of the CPP, such was the lively animosity against Dr. Danquah which he smugly admits and attributes to his personal force, that, as Dr. Danquah's souvenir pamphlet confirms, but for the strong influence exerted by Nana Ofori attah 11, Omanhene of Akim Abuakwa, some of the Paramount chiefs would not have given way for Dr. Danquah's clearance unto the Joint Provincial Council which had 19 candidates including chiefs and non-chiefs competing for an election of 5 seats for the Eastern Province


Mr. President, it has been eloquently stated that the principal contribution of Dr. Danquah to the independence of Ghana is that when almost all he chiefs and people were lulled to sleep by the 1946 Burns Constitution, “he rose up and towering like a giant over the shoulders of all of us, he saw what many of us either could not see, or seeing had not the courage to translate into words and deeds. He saw the Burns constitution was as dead as the dodo. He saw that it would be profitless for the people of the Gold Coast to live by and with a dead constitution and so in January 1947 this man Danquah, in conference with three friends, George Alfred Grant, a timber magnate, Robert Benjamin Blay and Francis Awoonor Williams both of them Barristers resident in Sekondi, conceived the noble idea of a new movement for the “LIBERATION OF THE GOLD COAST FROM IMPERIAL RULE”.

Mr. President, Consequently, The United Gold Coast Convention “UGCC” was inaugurated at Saltpond on August 4 1947 with an inaugural speech by Dr. Danquah which ended thus: “…. So our duty is clear, we must fight against the new domination, and we must fight with the weapons of today, Constitutional, determined, persistent, unflinching, unceasing, until the goal of freedom is attained' …. “We are not at war with our chiefs, we are at war with our present system of government … we must bring an end to a system of government in which the chiefs who govern us are made an instrument of misgovernment, even oppression by the colonial power. How truly can our chiefs say they are free to represent us, when they are themselves part of the colonial power? Our duty is clear. It is our duty to alter the constitution in such a way that both the chiefs and their people will have the reality of power in their hands. That is the object of this Convention, and I invite you, without any reservation to accept the Constitution as drafted, AND ONCE AND FOR ALL TO SAVE THIS COUNTRY”

Mr. President, Dr. Danquah refers to his own constitutional contribution as follows: “I helped in drafting the “Memorandum of things to change” in the Gold Coast for the Joint Provincial Council, I helped in drafting the memorandum upon which the present constitution, except in one vital aspect is largely based. I drafted it for the Provincial council and Ashanti Confederacy”

Mr. President let us take due Notice that Dr. Danquah acknowledges himself as a contributor with others. For example Mr. Justice K. A. Korsah was the chairman for the committee of the 400 page memorandum for changes to the colonial constitution drafted by Dr. Danquah. Furthermore Dr. Danquah acknowledges working with E. J .P Brown, “ gathering his clothes at the feet of Casely Hayford” and also being a willing assistant to Dr. F.V. Nanka -Bruce, Justice Korsah, Mr. G. E. Moore, Mr. R. S Blay, Mr. Tachie Menson and Mr. Akilagpa Sawyer when called upon in the Legislative Council for support. The essential conclusion though is that all the constitutionality weaponry was a means to an end, which in the end amounted to nothing at all, as reviewed below.

Mr. President, Do we therefore discount Dr. Danquah's significant legal contribution and propaganda towards constitutional change as a nationalist? Of COURSE NOT, WE give Dr. Danquah due credit in a Resounding YES. But, not at the expense of or in detriment to others.

Mr. President, I sincerely do not think the independence effort could be likened to a relay race where the beginning athlete hands over a sequential baton to the finish line. As I discussed earlier, it is more like a building where blocks can be added to the foundation by different persons at different times. Indeed someone could even destroy the foundation, tear it down in bits and pieces and rebuild an entirely new structure from the ground up, even if it is ugly or has a structural defect with hindsight or from the point of view of the intended original. 'Tongue in cheek', is this not what Dr. Nkrumah did? Thus, it cannot be said that 'BUT FOR' the UGCC, Ghana would never have achieved independence. “And what can the righteous do if the foundation be destroyed” Watch Prof Busia who opined that the desire for freedom is integral to every human soul come to the rescue.

Mr. President, in any case at the inaugural of the UGCC Mrs J. B. Eyeson is said to have immediately mounted the rostrum after Dr. Danquah's speech and stated: “Dr. Danquah, we had in the past given enthusiastic support to the cause of the Church. Today it is the cause of the nation. Women of the country are behind you” Mr. President, in spite of the declared women's support and claim of countrywide support, there was a pertinent outstanding issue.


Mr. President the issue with Dr. Danquah /UGCC was that they were invariably at war with the chiefs in so far as the chiefs were considered an integral part of the oppression of the colonial government with whom the UGCC /Dr. Danquah were at war although he also claimed an affinity with the chiefs. The fact is, there was a self- serving sub-text and delicate balancing required. Although the intelligentsia required an alignment with the chiefs for sponsorship sometimes as their representatives to the Joint provincial council/ Legislative Assembly for example, the intelligentsia were seeking to wrestle power from the colonial government as well as replace the chiefs as the ruling elite post-independence. Indeed Dr. Danquah also claim that at some point: “..I earned an unenviable reputation of favoring the cause of the chiefs against the people, that in consequence, in certain quarters, my policy was misunderstood, and a section of the people considered me a “Government man”.

Thus Mr. President Dr. Danquah who was instigating propaganda against the colonial government unfortunately also had to fight for a change of conflicting perception and mistrust in public opinion relating to his loyalties. Although Dr. Danquah states that he rehabilitated the 'government man' notion after criticism of the colonial government policies which he described ‘as inept and incapable government indifferent to the sufferings of the governed', the perception of innate contradictions persisted. I.e. Was Dr. Danquah a government man or against government? Was Dr. Danquah for the chiefs and against the people or was Dr. Danquah against the chiefs? Was Dr Danquah for all sides of the mutually conflicting divide, for none but himself, or was he a man of the people? The people were indeed discomfited by the chiefs who were also perceived as the long- arm instruments of colonial policy enforcement.


Mr. President, Let us review the mechanics of how Dr. Danquah and the UGCC failed to achieve the ambition to “Save” Ghana from colonial rule and to found an independence government.

Dr. Danquah made two classic errors in judgment. The First was his invite to Dr. Nkrumah, a man unknown to him, who he invited to be Secretary to the UGCC through his colleague Ako Adjei's recommendation without due diligence of Dr, Nkrumah's Socialist political ideology or communist background and compatibility for joining the UGCC in a key function. In a case of 'show me your friend and I will tell you your character' the now famous Big Six including Dr. Danquah in association with Dr. Nkrumah were arrested and detained On 13th March1948, following the 28th February disturbances and accused as: “a set of ambitious men plotting with a European Communist party to seize the Government of the Gold Coast by force and to establish communism in the Gold Coast’ Dr. Danquah in a letter he wrote form prison stated that he found this allegation “unkind and atrocious, as he stood at all times for a legitimate and constitutional change”

Mr. President, Dr Danquah and the UGCC were blind sighted by an obsession with constitutional adjustments and ignored a tactical yawning gap or defeatist chasm. POWER is or ought to be about service to PEOPLE NOT ‘PAPER CENTRIC’.

Mr. President, a Constitution can be SET ASIDE either in violent overthrow or in contemptuous legislative override. In fact Dr. Danquah calls this phenomena that was practiced by the colonial government “A mockery of form without reality”. Hence, his criticism of the Burns constitution which led to an African legislative majority as 'dead as a dodo' because as he opined the colonial government could have its way anyway.

Thus Mr. President ‘Constitutional coup d’états’ have been happening in our parliament from inception to date. Dr Danquah and UGCC elite sought to engage the colonialist with CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES for a power hand over to themselves in a scenario in which Nananom also felt threatened and the uneasy masses felt 'disenfranchised' as “untutored' spectators who Dr. Danquah referred to as 'Inarticulate' though he was sensitizing the youth, in youth conference politics for 'deliverance' from imperial rule. Mr. President, there is an interesting dimension in Gold Coast history where the people were seeking independence not just from the colonial government but from traditional rulers who were seen as agents of colonial oppression. This is where Dr Nkrumah found his niche in the gap as a Man of the People, by tagging the UGCC /Dr. Danquah as corrupt wishy washy selfish elites, aligned with oppressive colonial governance rather than the grassroots.

Mr. President, in Dr. Nkrumah's inclusive, populist appeal of “ One Ghana, One People One destiny” the masses thought they had found a 'show boy' of a 'home boy' with whom they could bond, one of their own who touched their hearts and read their minds desire for participatory grass roots governance at an opportune time after he gained acclaim following the big six imprisonment and split from the UGCC to found the CPP in a confusing and allegedly deceptive scenario where Dr. Nkrumah claimed to have formed the CPP “Within the Convention i.e. “The UGCC” in the name of George Grant of Ghana and of God”.

Mr. President, once power was in the hands of Dr Nkrumah and his CPP 'veranda boys' they SET ASIDE and negated what they considered Dr. Danquah’s 'booklong' constitutionalism and rejected even his “EARLY CALL FOR INDEPENDENCE” Wow! and we thought independence was about doing away with the colonialists as quickly as possible? No, that was mere rhetoric, the race to the finish line was propaganda. “Independent Ghana, the land that now has freedom” has needed the colonial powers to even supplement our 4th Republican national budgets and in spite of our recent boasts of weaning ourselves “BEYOND AID” we definitely supplement our economy declared capable of self -sustenance with newly minted Chinese Imperial loans.

SELF-GOVERNMENT NOW -A peak into the 1951 Legislative Assembly.

Mr. President, the CPP's Dr. K. A Gbedemah made a retort to Dr Danquah's demand for SELF- GOVERNMENT NOW' motion as follows: “If we must have self-government, let it not be on the Honorable Dr. Danquah's initiative, but let it be on the initiative of one who can lead a victorious end. Dr. Danquah is a peculiar political animal, changing colour more often than the chameleon. Our leader {DR Nkrumah] is like a good general who if he loses one battle changes his tactics and leads his army to victory” Dr Gbedemah is also reported to have said at a meeting held at the arena in Accra that he would rather live under British imperialism than 'self-government now' under Dr. Danquah.

Mr. President, Please note the chameleon analogy to depict a red flag ‘disloyalty tag’ as a Dr Danquah character trait deserving disdain and distrust as opined in the colonial notes. ’ thus Dr. Danquah's call for ‘constitutionality repentance' when the UGCC was launched was unheeded. As also indicated in the colonial notes above, Dr. Danquah as well as the unsung financier and lead personality of the UGCC, George Grant, had set an earlier date of 6th March 1954 for independence to coincide with 110 years after the bond of 1844. However After taken up The 'self-government Now' refrain which was coined by Dr Danquah as its battle cry, the CPP majority in the legislative Assembly rejected Dr Danquah's call for ‘Self Government Now'. Dr. Nkrumah then missed the UGCC target by 3yrs! Independence was of course achieved on 6th March 1957. This is why Dr. Danquah said “Human nature was the most stupid of all natures”.

Mr. President the noteworthy substantive revelation is that in essence Independence was about rallying around a perceived credible personality. As a matter of fact, Dr. Nkrumah became a 'cult of deliverance' no matter how long it took as articulated by Dr. Gbedemah. It did not matter if you were betrayed later with totalitarian oppression. This is why Dr. Nkrumah could delay the 6th March 1954 UGCC independence timetable by 3 years and still be hailed as a HERO of all time who championed the cause of freedom as a “messiah who never dies”. The glaring fact that in the independence aftermath 'freedom became chained' and overwhelmed Dr. Danquah and others in a nation “ afraid of her own shadows” has also become a sore subject of dispute as to whether governmental oppression was justifiable.

In short, Mr President, Dr. Nkrumah and his CPP majority in the Legislative Assembly did not want to have anything to do with Dr. Danquah’s initiatives of 'constitutional salvation.' One may call this a “hijacking” of Ghana's independence if one wants to. Although Dr. Danquah’s antagonistic criticisms of the colonial regime did not earn him any favors, in a seemingly improbable twist of fortune's wheel, the CPP was able to convey a whispering bribery allegation against Dr. Danquah which seriously discredited him as untrustworthy and disloyal to the cause of Ghana's freedom in a colonial alliance! [See below] This caused a wholesale national rejection of Dr. Danquah who lost his legislative seat/ and abysmally lost the 1960 election to Dr. Nkrumah after the UGCC became wiped out of the legislative Assembly.

Mr. President, This is the overall gingerly UGCC/CPP melee in which K. A. Busia stepped into the legislative assembly in 1951 and gained ascendancy as an acclaimed intellectual genius and Professor of international renown whose integrity and competence was respected even by Dr. Nkrumah as a worthy opponent who posited an alternative democratic governance solution to Ghana until 1959 when he went into exile. As we already know Dr. Nkrumah attempted to absorb Prof Busia in the “colossal belly of his CPP whale – camp” but was unsuccessful.

Mr. President, Truth be told Dr. Nkrumah and Dr. Busia were the two known national political figures who 'locked horns' with opposing viewpoints in the Legislative Assembly in the critical periods of pre /post-independence from 1954 to 1959 until Prof Busia's exile. Thus, the fact of Prof Busia's successor government to Dr. Nkrumah in 1969 and his acceptance by Ghanaians is not a matter of brain surgery.

But, Mr. President, the Prime Minister position was not handed to Prof Busia on a silver platter by the NLC who apparently declined his inclination and desired appointment of Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana he loved and had made successful. That denial, a disguised blessing, inspired an enduring Prof K. A. Busia who worked incredibly hard in civic education, to found the Progress party with national appeal and to criss -cross the country with a campaign he led on principles and values. Mr. President Prof Busia presented a coherent and comprehensive achievable development agenda to win the 1969 election with 105 out of 148 electoral seats. That election was ably contested by Dr. KA. Gbedemah the CPP ministerial stalwart referenced above who eventually fell out of favour with Dr. Nkrumah among others.


Mr. President, The biblical mimicry of our country continues On 24th April 1951 when Dr Danquah recommended a 4 year process and initiated a motion to review all available constitutions and report on the terms of a suitable fully self -serving Dominion Constitution for the Gold Coast for 'early implementation'. Dr. Danquah indicated that “if it took the Israelites forty days and forty nights on Mount Sinai to obtain a divine constitution of two tablets and India four or five years, we in Ghana cannot get away with it in a short period”. Dr. Danquah’s motion was rejected outright and he lost the motion, to the CPP. Majority. The late Mr. Casely Hayford, son of an eminent jurist of that time said, that when the time came,“ a constitution that is fit for this country' would be turned out 'overnight' … without sleeping from day to day for three days. The late Hutton Mills shortened the time to three hours stating “I can guarantee that I am able, apart from my learned senior Minister of Justice Patrick Branigan, I can sit down and within three hours I can produce a Constitution”

This is the debate Dr. Nkrumah also took part in with the suggestion that: 'the mind that actually conceived this motion is a criminal mind” opining that a constitution for Ghana could be found at the back of a textbook on constitutional law. Thus, the cumulative effort of Dr, Danquah’s legal and constitutional contribution which should have culminated ultimately in the independence Dominion constitution was thrown overboard in an offhandish manner.

Mr. President, Whereas this does not negate Dr. Danquahs procedural and legal contributions we cannot crown him and the UGCC as having solely given birth to independence. Indeed on March 12 1958 soon after our first independence anniversary, Dr. Danquah had this to say “What I feel just now is that Ghana is on the brink of a great catastrophe, but I would not see the outlines of the vision quite clearly. WITH OUR CONSTITUTION DENOUNCED BY THE PARTY IN POWER, the very party who claim to have founded Ghana on it, and with all the constitutional safeguards against oppression, confiscation of property and violation of laws and civil rights due to be removed in a lighthearted manner in the national Assembly this month, my feeling of an unhappy fate for Ghana in the ensuing years under a totalitarian regime unnerves me completely or almost completely”. The unclear outline of a vision that unnerved Dr. Danquah, in hindsight was an accurate premonition. Dr. Danquah became a target of the PDA which led to his tragic death in prison.


The second misjudgment of Dr. Danquah, was an invitation to a former Gold Coast Attorney General Sir Sydney Abrahams who was the founder and Chairman the Gold Coast Athletics association which had become defunct after his departure on completing his tour of duty for the colonial administration. During a conference of African legislative councilors at Lancaster house in London at the colonial office in 1948, Sir Sydney accepted Dr. Danquah's invitation to come and re-organize the athletics association 'for us” and arrived in April 1949. Whereas According to Dr. Danquah Sir Sydney Abrahams' visit led to the first Gold coast Sports ordinance and eventually to construction of the Accra Sports stadium, the Danquah souvenir pamphlet states however that: “Dr. Nkrumah and his men buzzed around the country and spread the idea” that :

Dr Danquah and the UGCC had given up the struggle for self-government and substituted sports in its place; Sir Sydney Abrahams' real mission was as an imperialist agent, not to help with sports. Some CPP propagandist engaged in a whispering vilifying campaign that Dr. Danquah and his noble men had been bribed by the Imperial government with 25,000 pounds sterling each. Dr. Nkrumah was the only patriot of the big six leaders who refused to take his share of the bribe because of his alleged love for his country. Mr. President, In my view, Although we have been importing sports coaches all this while since independence without seeing any intricate conflict and Dr. Danquah's stated valid objective was that “our nationalism should be built from the bottom, upon all fronts, including the field of sports and culture”, it was certainly ironic and not the most discretionary option, for a nationalistic impetus for sports, to be re-energized with Sir Abrahams visit and input after Dr. Danquah had been advocating against the colonial government sending various Governors to the Gold Coast in the context of the “Self-government Now” tussle.

Mr. President the invitation which appear harmless in light of Sir Abrahams’ prior functional interest in sports, was a tactical misread for a nationalist Dr. Danquah who had taken to anti colonial rule criticisms in a declared forefront of seeking independence from the colonial regime. Indeed Dr. Danquah had occasion to say “on 12th Dec 1951 “.....Today the man in the street thinks he desires Self- government, more than I do. And that is why I am proud of him. He ought to govern himself” Well then, why invite Sir Sydney Abrahams. The invite was at variance with the “NOW” mood in the country and opened an unguarded door for the very damaging bribery allegation which is how Dr. Danquah became the 'enemy' of the people.

Mr. President, On 9th Sept 1960 Dr. Danquah who had previously denounced the allegation as nonsensical and politically motivated to malign him had this to say of Dr. Nkrumah “Down down with the hypocritical Pharisee who has built up a false aura of wanting no money for himself, and yet would draw the highest salary of any African in the land without compunction. Where you make the pay of Ministers too attractive, you tempt all sorts of vain pretenders and charlatans to turn politics from a public service into a profession of money making”.

Perhaps the dilemma of a true blue nationalist, as Dr. Danquah saw himself, and in fact the dilemma of the African race and unfortunately our political leaders in our preference for westerners and western goods is revealed in a poignant line in his biographical poem “Half a century” to celebrate his 50th birthday in which Dr .Danquah writes “I hit politics, and noised it”.....“I stood up to the English, and preferred them”. This is a throwback on the ‘is he or is he not a government man syndrome'. But do we say Dr. Danquah is at fault for the seeming contradiction in standing up to the English and yet having a preference for them while asking the youth to shed their colonial mentality?

Mr. President, It is my view that Dr. Danquah had an operational recognition of the continued need for relationship with the colonial authority during and post-independence. However couched as a preference for the English it reflected a simmering conflict. The context was a legitimate demand for self-rule mixed with national hypocrisy and an unrealistic demand for total riddance of imperial power. Thus, any seeming vestige of tolerance in the heat of battle was an unacceptable taint on ‘native’ pride.

Mr. President, While Dr. Danquah and UGCC and subsequently K. A. Busia were vilified for seeming cooperation with the British, The near tragic dependence on the west to date some 60 years post-independence, portray an inaccurate capacity evaluation for wholly independent survival. A fight against the colonial power for their COMPLETE RAPID EVACUATION was a fight against self-interest. This is why we see Dr. Danquah for expediency advocating immediacy to be in tune with the ill logic on the ground though he perceived the futility of it and Dr. Nkrumah after radical deployment of the 'self-Government Now' coined by Dr. Danquah, necessarily slow down the process. The 'NOW' thesis of Dr. Danquah became posturing by both Dr. Nkrumah and Dr. Danquah. Mr. President, Subsequently, Dr. Danquah who had asked the working committee of the UGCC “To declare prepared and ready to take over interim government” in 1948, became associated with the antithesis, self-government within the 'shortest possible time' in a seeming position reversal. Hey Presto! All the principal actors were actually in agreement with regard to a systematic hand over. Absurd politics and a desperate twist introduced by the UGCC/ CPP split turned independence agitation into a murky race against time for a winner takes all victory which is still with us today

So then Mr. President, when Dr. Nkrumah and the CPP “captured” the Self Government NOW chant and run away with it to victory, this was Dr. Danquah's full response in accusing Dr. Nkrumah of impatience and desperation: “Sir Kwame, it is said that hasty climbers have sudden falls and believe me there is wisdom in it. Go therefore and get that wisdom and desist from that evil-mastered plan of “To hell with Patience.” The Ghana of which I dreamt before you came, is not a hell of destruction but an earth of discontent and rational struggle and in the end a crown of happiness”.

Mr. President, The major actors including Prof Busia and Dr, Nkrumah faced the same problem in modern nation building which is still a challenge perhaps more pronounced in today’s world.

Mr. President, Technology advancements, research and innovation meant a need for an educated workforce with technical and managerial skills among other factors. Dr. Nkrumah's alignment with the East was as much an admission for continued imperial support as the opposition’s alignment with the West. Africa was not as prepared for takeoff as we were screaming and the continent as a whole has been handicapped and lagged behind regarding the need for economic development commensurate with political independence.

The dynamic of Chinese imperial loans currently on the upswing as we sing a “Beyond Aid” melodic theme for a brave new African frontier with a Renaissance agenda poses a continued underdog challenge which also reflects in part a pre- independence vacuum of insufficient human development, an education system not suited to our needs and lack of appropriate skills in Technology etc. Are we really ready for economic governance NOW and for takeoff with corrupt leaders who sell us off in new slavery deals? Mr. President?

Thank you for your attention Mr. President, Please stay tuned.

By Nana Frema Busia :