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Opinions of Thursday, 7 February 2008

Columnist: Oppong, Seth

Why we should focus on the future

..and leave the past behind

Many people have remarked that certain political parties are historically violent; they have also said that our political re-independence was premature and that Dr Kwame Nkrumah was a dictator. In this article, I intend to employ a new of style of writing that many may find distasteful at first but may grow to appreciate. This is because I do not attempt to persuade readers to take my side on the issue at hand as I and many others have always done in our articles previously. This is also due to the fact that I believe in each individual’s intelligence regardless of his or her educational level to make meaning out of any given information. I have chosen not to displace my academic credentials upon advice of readers in my previous articles. I intend to present some data for Ghanaians to make sense of. But to facilitate this process of sense-making I ask the following questions:

• Which political party leads the others in terms of being historically violent?

• Was Dr Nkrumah driven by any elements of the opposition to enact the Preventive Detention Act? • Wasn’t the Young Pioneers necessary amidst various violent attacks on his life as an intelligence agency as he couldn’t trust the adults? • Was our political re-independence premature? To answer these questions I have chosen three of the political parties in Ghana, namely: CPP, NPP, and NDC. Let’s trace their origin. • Contemporary NDC is the remnant of AFRC and PNDC • Contemporary NPP is the remnant of UGCC, NLM, NLC, UP, PP and PFP

• Contemporary CPP comes from Nkrumah’s CPP

Let’s delve into their violent pasts:

• AFRC/(P)NDC

1. 15th May abortive coup by former Prez Rawlings

2. Coup led by Captain Boakye Gyan, Kwesi Pratt, and Kwaku Baako that brought AFRC led by chairman Rawlings to power

3. 1981 revolution by former Prez Rawlings

• NPP/UGCC/NLM/NLC/UP/PP/PFP 1. NLM’s violent attacks on CPP supporters and its intention to prevent a unitary state 2. 1966 coup by NLC

3. Labadi T-junction attack on Nkrumah’s life orchestrated by R. R. Amponsah and colleagues

4. Kumbungu attack on Nkrumah’s life

5. Flag Staff House attack on Nkrumah’s life • CPP 1. 1948 riots

2. Maybe Preventive Detention Act

At this juncture, I allow readers to make their own decisions. Let’s continue our sense-making with more questions. Weren’t Dr. Nkrumah’s Preventive Detention Act and its amendments that kept Dr. J.B Danquah behind bars a direct reaction to various attempts on his life? Don’t you think that the violent opposition turned him into what he later became? Is keeping the driver who drove into H.E Prez Kuffour’s convoy not comparable to Dr. Nkrumah’s detention of Dr. J.B. Danquah since Dr. Nkrumah knew he was behind them? Is former Prez Rawlings’ keeping of the driver who also drove into his convoy behind bars who later died any different? To me they share one thing in common and that is detaining a dangerous person who is after their lives. Don’t you think Dr. Nkrumah, H.E Prez Kuffour, and former Prez Rawlings all did what any sane person like you and I will do to protect our life? They all chose a nonviolent and legal means over violence.

And about the prematurity of our re-independence. I intentionally chose to use ‘re-independence’ because to say we gained our ‘independence’ from the British is to uncritically assume that Ghanaians/Gold Coasters never in their history lived as independent people. The question is before the Bond of 6th March 1844 that formally made the coastal states a colony or protégés of the British, weren’t the Akyems, Fantes, Asantes and the others living as independent states? To also argue that our re-independence was premature is to make the argument that colonialization is not morally wrong in the first place. Such an argument also assumes that we are inferior to the ‘masters’ and that it was perfectly right to be ruled by the British for as long as we are not ready to rule ourselves. I don’t believe that any Ghanaian or any person on our continent (I chose not to use the name ‘Africa’ as we the people on it didn’t decide to call it by such a name; somebody else who didn’t understand us did) will argue that the re-independence of any country was premature because it was actually an inappropriate time as it should have happened in the 1800s. They didn’t have any right to have ruled us let alone decide whether it was too early or premature. I guess only those who didn’t love the working and suffering Ghanaians would argue that way. After all, they were enjoying the same quality of life as the colonialist with some being “knighted” by their Queen; Sir Nana … Would you expect people enjoying the best of life under the political status quo want a change? A self-government now so that they would lose what they were enjoying?

For many years I couldn’t understand the source of Nkrumah’s radical nationalism. But now I have an answer: radical nationalism is the result of the appreciation and understanding of the mechanisms through which the West have marginalized us coupled with unconditional love for your country plus an extremely high self-esteem. We must unite and rise above all political divides because all the political parties live in glass houses and that prevents any of them from throwing stones at other! It is because most Ghanaians have either forgotten or don’t know what the saints of today also did in the past.