Nkrumah's Divide-and-Conquer Legacy Grips Brong-Ahafo
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
It is rather ironic that just about the same time that President John Evans Atta-Mills was calling on Ghanaians, irrespective of ideological suasion, to harmoniously rally around the non-birth centenary celebration of former President Nkrumah’s birthday, a woefully misguided and, perhaps, fanatical traditional ruler in the Brong-Ahafo Region was fervidly engineering the execrable removal of a bronze statue bearing the image of the region’s most distinguished citizen and former Ghanaian prime minister Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, from Sunyani’s Golden Jubilee Park, in order to replace the latter with one in the image of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, postcolonial Ghana’s first premier. Needless to say, no morbid act of desecration could be more criminal!
And here, it is significant to note that Dr. Busia, an Oxbridge scholar and astute lieutenant of Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye Danquah, also remarkably served his country as a parliamentary opposition leader during the at once heady and chaotic First Republic.
Anyway, we are told that the rationale behind the unnamed Brong chief’s vacuous attempt at removing the statue of Dr. Busia primarily hinges on the fact of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah having deviously caused the statutory creation of the Brong-Ahafo Region (See “NPP Protests Against [sic] Removal of Busia’s Statue” Ghanaian Chronicle 9/15/09). What the unnamed chief either deliberately or out of crass and sheer ignorance fails to tell his supporters and sympathizers is the fact of Brong-Ahafo having been created largely out of the Show Boy’s abject contempt for the great Asante Confederation, in particular the Danquah-backing Asantehene, Otumfuo Sir Agyeman-Prempeh II. Nkrumah would also proceed to summarily dispossess the Asantehene of prime royal stool-lands from which Manhyia drew the bulk of its sustenance, in a damnable attempt at effectively marginalizing the Asante nation.
It may also be recalled that prior to its neocolonialist partitioning by Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, the Brong-Ahafo Region was known as Western Asante. Nkrumah would also create “warrant paramountcies” in order to radically challenge the legitimacy of the Asantehene. And so it would hardly come as any surprise should it turn out that the subject Brong chieftain inherited one of those neocolonialist paramountcies strategically created by Kwame Nkrumah.
At any rate, precisely what makes the unnamed Brong chief believe that he could singularly and summarily cause the removal of the icon of former Prime Minister Busia, in the latter’s own proverbial backyard, in order to replace the same with one bearing the image of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah? Maybe the misguided chief and those fanatical Nkrumaists who may not know this need to be told, in no uncertain terms, that being the very first African and Ghanaian to have been named “Professor” at the University of Ghana, it would all be in keeping with cultural propriety and civilized standards of national mnemonic preservation to have a second statue erected on the main campus of the University of Ghana, preferably on the approaches to the Sociology department, in fitting honor of the former Oxford University professor.
And on the latter score, we hereby, once again, renew our urgent call for the University of Ghana to be renamed after that august institution’s de facto founder, Dr. J. B. Danquah, the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics. And here also, we must point out, with great embarrassment and unforgivable shame, that the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) had the rare privilege, for eight years, of initiating the preceding process but, instead, unwisely chose to “diplomatically” insult the hallowed memory of Dr. Danquah and the good people of Akyem-Abuakwa, and indeed all democracy-loving Ghanaians, by causing the erection and installation of a nondescript Danquah statue at Kyebi, thereby unwittingly concurring with those viciously cynical Nkrumah fanatics who seek to execrably reduce Dr. Danquah to the marginal status of a tribal chieftain.
Indeed, if memory is any good measure to go by, there was a time during the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the debate arose over the need for the Ghana Monuments Board, or some such statutory institution, to erect a national pantheon for all of our founding fathers and mothers, as well as other distinguished Ghanaian leaders and other historical and public figures on the very site that now houses the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum. Alas, it appears that those charlatans and congenital thugs and troglodytes who would rather have our collective achievements as a nation credited, exclusively, to one man had their way.
Needless to say, in times of honest and truthful accountability like these, I prefer to hold tightly onto my American passport and citizenship!
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based pro-democracy think-tank, the Danquah Institute (DI), and the author of 20 books, including “Selected Political Writings” (Atumpan Publications/Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: email@example.com. ###