Editorial News Wed, 28 Feb 2007

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Why is Kufuor ignoring Nkrumah's role -Ugandan Asks



LAST weekend I was in Accra to participate in a symposium at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon. It was organised by a coalition of Nkrumahists and other Progressive forces under the aegis of the African People’s Platform.

The choice of the dates (23 and February 24, 2007) for the two-day symposium were not accidental. On February 24, 1966 the government of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the founder –leader of the Independent State of Ghana was overthrown in a military coup. Nkrumah was a trail blazer of the anti colonialist movement and foremost Pan Africanist leader of the mid 20th century and probably most popular of all times.

The coup was orchestrated by domestic reactionary forces and their imperialist backers notably the ex-Colonial masters, Britain and their American cousins, the USA.

Amidst the official celebratory mood, the Legon Symposium sought to situate the independence struggles and Ghana’s emancipation within the context of the ideals of: Osagyefo on Ghanaian, African and world politics; the fight for freedom, justice and the continuation of the anti imperialist struggles today and the struggles of ordinary people for a just new economic and social order.

It is part of the many alternative celebrations at various levels by Ghanaians who feel marginalised by the official anniversary or are dissatisfied with the politics of the celebrations.

President John Kufuor is generally seen as a very decent man especially outside Ghana but even many domestic opponents will give him the benefit of the doubt.

However, ordinary decency is not enough when it comes to state craft. Nigerians will attest to former head of state General Gowon’s honesty as a person and personal integrity even in this third decade of his overthrow. But in the same breath they will condemn the profligacy and crass incompetence of his administration in managing post civil war Nigeria.

There are too many uncomfortable parallels with Ghana’s Mr Nice guy President who overwhelms people with his gentlemanliness!. Politically, it is too apologetic to continue to perpetrate the sophistry of ‘The good leader……. bad advisers’ about our leaders.

If they are so good, how come they surround themselves with ‘bad people’. They choose these advisers so they should have responsibility for accepting or not accepting their advice. The flip side of this of course is the disclaimer by many of these advisers soon after they are booted out of office or the president is shown the back door. They mostly come with claims of ‘we told him but he did not listen’.

They never tell the public why they remained with a client who never follows their advice. They are all guilty of political opportunity and that is why they can only give excuses for their conducts but no convincing explanations.

Kufuor and the ruling party, NPP, have a wider problem. They come from the anti –Nkrumahist tradition of Danquah-Busia political families. Their forebears even opposed Nkrumah and the CPP when he moved ‘THE MOTION OF DESTINY” that heralded the final exit of the British colonialists. They collaborated with imperialism to overthrow Nkrumah, thereby orphaning the African revolution.

Ironically, Kufuor's victory is the first time that the reactionary political group has ever won a democratic election (Busia’s victory was orchestrated by the military junta).

The poachers of independence struggle have now become the game keepers, hence their ambiguity and cheap politics about the jubilee celebrations. They are trying to celebrate, make political, diplomatic, commercial, cultural, tourism and all kinds of gains from the landmark but are pained to acknowledge the main architect of not only Ghana’s independence but a man who represents the best in the aspirations of Africans for liberty, freedom and dignity.

It is not a dishonour to Nkrumah but a reflection of the small mindedness of Kufuor's party because for many people inside and outside Ghana, the independence of Ghana was not conceivable without the courageous leadership of the Osagyefo. As Basil Davidson said of Liberation struggles in Portuguese Africa, no hand is big enough to cover the sky. Nkrumah does not need governments and presidents to remember him as he continues to be an inspiration for millions of Africans and freedom loving people across the world.

It does not mean that Nkrumah did not have his own faults as a person or a leader but he has endured because no one since after him has come near his socio-economic and political achievements for Ghana.

And at a Pan African level, we have not seen any leader that is so inspiring in his example of complete dedication to the ideals of Pan Africanism and a better humanity. Many pretenders have come forward and been forgotten as they scramble to be friends of imperialism (now euphemistically referred to as donors, development partners, etc) betraying their people, Africa and the possibilities of a better humanity at the alter personal power.

It is too petty to deny our nationalist heroes/heroines their place of honour in our history simply because our masters of today were either not born then or played no role in them or were on the opposite side of freedom or even on account of what those nationalist leaders may have become later. History is a lived experience that cannot be erased.

It would be very interesting to see how President Yoweri Museveni and the increasingly exclusionist and revisionist NRM government (if they are still in power) will celebrate Uganda’s 50th anniversary in a few years time. Would they try to write out Milton Obote/Uganda People’s Congress or downplay his role as the NPP is doing and not succeeding with Nkrumah?

“Forward ever , backward never”.....Kwame Nkrumah (1909 - 1972).

Source: newvision

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