Dr. Kofi Dompere On Nkrumah’s Scientific Thinking

Fri, 30 May 2014 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

In 2002, under the auspices of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair Association, the Pan-African Booksellers Association, the African Publishers Network, Book Development Councils, African Writers’ Association, Library Associations, and the Pan-African Book Booksellers Association included Kwame Nkrumah’s “Ghana: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah” in its comprehensive final list of “Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century.” It should be stressed here that the entire selection process was highly competitive. Moreover, members of the international jury tasked to vet this collection of highly influential writings apiece and to approve their inclusion in the final list, arguably, represented some of the world’s finest, most accomplished, and authoritative thinkers in their chosen fields of expertise.

As a matter of fact, the Information Services of Columbia Univeristy Library has this to say in connection with the rigorous selection process: “Nominations were made based on the basis that the book has had a powerful, important or affecting influence on the nominator, as an individual, or on society.” Nevertheless, there are many around the world who had equally wished Nkrumah’s “Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization,” one of his well-known scholarly works as well as of his most widely-read masterpieces, had made the final list as well, given that “Consciencism” represents one of the most sophisticated philosophical works ever penned by a renowned and respected 20th-Century thinker and scholar.

Quite apart from Nkrumah’s “Consciencism,” Attoh Ahum’s “The Gold Coast Nation and National Consciousness” and Joseph E. Casely-Hayford’s “Ethiopia Unbound” are consciously transformative?philosophically, culturally, and ideologically?as far as their cumulative intellectual seminality goes. Likewise, Dr. Theophile Obenga, one of the world’s leading Egyptologists, historians, philosophers, and linguists, has described “Consciencism” as a powerful, sophisticated philosophical treatise on African psycho-physical decolonization! But, generally, what is usually slurred over in the comprehensive valuation?by way of exegesis?of Nkrumah’s corpus of written works by his enemies and supporters alike, in the areas of theory and practice, more importantly, is their intellectual or analytic failure to recognize the scientific infrastructure upon which Nkrumah’s ideas are raised.

There is, therefore, a critical exegetical diastema in an otherwise interpretative continuum supposedly enjoyed by the extensive library of Nkrumah’s revolutionary ideas, a fundamental question eloquently and vigorously raised and pursued by the polymathic Dr Kofi Kissi Dompere, a well-respected mathematician, economist, philosopher, statistician, historian, business analyst, radio programmer/host (WPFW Radio, 89.3 FM), operations researcher, and prolific author in the American Academy. Moreover, this view of scientific singularity presumptively secreted in the interpretive continuum of the far-reaching library of Nkrumah’s provocative ideas enjoys ample support from the material locationality of his massive industrialization projects as well as from his progressive attempts at extenuating human suffering.

That made him, Kwame Nkrumah, an intellectual sophisticate and a redoubtable critical thinker to reckon with. That is, Nkrumah was, as it were, admittedly, a rationalist, empiricist, and pragmatist. What is more, much like the wide-ranging revolutionary ideas of Cheikh Anta Diop’s, Henri Poincare’s, Theophile Obenga’s, Martin Bernal’s, Albert Einstein’s, Molefi Kete Asante’s, Louis Leakey’s, WEB Du Bois’s, the experimental ideas of Kwame Nkrumah’s have begun to gain intellectual currency, to acquire global exegetical character, as well as to incur the scientific approbation of investigators. Thus, Kwame Nkrumah pushed his thinking beyond the gibbous heliopause of theorizing to accommodate the galactic socio-political exigencies of praxis, the latter of which his practical legacy articulately represents today, ideally, both in the corporeality of infrastructure, namely, public capital, as well as in the ethereality of innovative ideas and institutions.

This is not surprising, however, for, Nkrumah, a highly-gifted, brilliant, and innovative African philosopher-president, came from an influential stemma of profound thinkers, of which the polymathic Imhotep easily comes to mind (See Robert Bauval’s and Thomas Brophy’s “Imhotep the African: Architect of the Cosmos”; Molefi Kete Asante’s “The Egyptian Philosophers: Ancient African Voices from Imhotep to Akhenaten”; Theophile Obenga’s “African Philosophy: The Pharaonic Period: 2780-330 BC”). Asante writes in this connection: “Nkrumah is the single most important African politician of the past century. Almost all ideas that are vetted by contemporary leaders have appeared in Nkrumah’s writing. He is the seminal African political philosopher.” In fact, the epistemological strength of Nkrumah’s intellectual sociality and philosophical culturalilty are incontestable hallmarks of a true genius.

Granted, these ideas Asante implicitly refers to are not merely package-insert questions of epistemology, culture, scientific socialism, political spirituality (decolonization of the African mind), but also of science, technology, development economics, modernization, humanism, political economy, and industrialization of Africa. Yet, Asante’s precise synthesis invites another matricial preference from the epistemological coordinate-geometry of Nkrumah’s innovative ideas, which is that of the spatial-locational cognate of Nkrumah’s scientific philosophizing, the science or politics of pragmatism, that is.

Clearly, the logical carrefour of theory and praxis is inhumed in the formulaic instruments of rigorous scientific philosophization and experimentation, two ideas Dr. Dompere explores in his dynamic critique of “Consciencism,” though, much unlike Asante’s vigorous critique of Du Boisian “double consciousness” via the epistemological institutionalization of the Theory of Afrocentricity or via the dethronement of Newtonian mechanics or Aristotelian physics (classical physics) by way of the proven experimental majesty of quantum and relativistic physics. The book “Consciencism” is so influential as to cause Lang T.K.A. Nubour, an author, to re-issue an abridged version of it, titled “The Mind of Kwame Nkrumah: Manual for the Study of Consciencism,” as the Center for Consciencist Studies and Analysis (CENCSA) notes:

“Certainly a new wind is blowing all over Africa. The spirit of Kwame Nkrumah is awakened. This renewed presence is acknowledged across the continents. Not only are academicians and intellectuals reviving their interest in Kwame Nkrumah. They have also questioned and are questioning the decades of neglect in the study of the man. Agitations are on foot at centers of learning to incorporate such studies into the curriculum of university studies in Africa. The agitations do not resist the continued studies of Western philosophers like Thales, Plato, and others. They make a just and positive demand that Kwame Nkrumah be added to them.”

It must be further recalled that Nkrumah’s revolutionary ideas, of which his philosophical “consciencism” cannot be glossed over for either political expediency or historical amnesia, played their part in dismantling Apartheid and decolonizing the continent, as testified to by Mr. Enoch Ampofo, who stood in for the National Heritage Council of South Africa and Ingwe Mabalabala Holdings, organizations on whose behalf South Africa posthumously honored Nkrumah. Mr. Ampofo made the following remarks on behalf of Kwame Nkrumah and the people of Ghana: “Gaining perspectives into how Dr. Kwame Nkrumah has affected the lives of the people of South Africa, I found out that back in the days of Apartheid, the oppressed people went to school and were taught the principles of Kwame Nkrumah and Nkrumahism.”

In another related context, the 1978 United Nations’ Special Session “Gold Medal” award posthumously given to Nkrumah offers another piece of collateral evidence in support of his signal role in taking Apartheid apart. Consequently, no well-informed student of African history and African politics can deny the psycho-cultural, intellectual, political, and philosophical power of “Consciencism” in making the decolonization of Africa possible. Among other reasons, this assembly of hard facts may possibly explain why the brilliant mathematician Dr. Dompere chose “Consciencism” for his case study, an epistemological ambo over which to puzzle Nkrumah’s scientific- and mathematical-related conjectural sightings.

Yet again, Dr. Dompere’s methodological approach to Nkrumah is unlike the epochal scientific clash between Copernican heliocentrism and Ptolemaic geocentrism. His methodological approach is one of nuance, of subtlety. Pointedly, a case could categorically be made that the philosophical underpinnings of this book, “Consciencism,” represents a paradigm shift, an epistemological methodology for rescuing the African mindset, dead scalage drowning in the oceanic peonage of inferiority complex, from the suffocative epistemological clench of Eurocentrism. This recalls Cheikh Anta Diop’s invigorating Afrocentric critique of classical history and historiography, a position already assumed elsewhere!

On the other hand, Homer Greene also writes in “Philosophy and the Black Experience,” a piece published in The American Philosophical Associations (Fall 2009, Vol. 09, Number 1), co-edited by John McClendon and George Yancy: “Dr. Kwame Nkrumah holds the distinction of being the first black president of the first black African country…He is considered the leading historical person who conceptually directed Africa in its struggle for decolonization in all of its forms and is also recognized as the seminal thinker of a united Africa and of Pan-Africanism…He is also, in my opinion, the seminal philosophical theorist arguing for the unification of African, Pan-Africanism, humanism, egalitarianism, socialism, ethics and its related selection of choices based upon one’s conscience.”

Further, the Historical Record of Wyoming Valley: A Compilation of Matters (Vol. 7) says of Homer Greene: “Homer Greene, Esq., of Honesdale, is one of Pennsylvania’s gifted sons. Besides being a successful lawyer, Mr. Greene is a writer of standard literature and is one of Wayne Country’s most prominent men…” Let us also point out that Greene’s general affirmative assessment is not far from Prof. Kwame Arhin’s equinoctial-line of critical inquiry into Nkrumah’s legacy. He maintains: “His name shall endure as the leading emancipator of Ghana, the leading protagonist of African independence and unity, and a statesman of world stature of the twentieth century.” More specifically, the Sisyphean weight of Nkrumah’s intellectual and political magnetism has come to represent a stamp of centripetal punctilio with which thinkers, historians, scholars, critical social theorists, and political scientists re-direct Nkrumah toward their research and philosophical centers.

Equally emphatically, the characterological non-distantiality of such high-profile assessments by two well-informed intellectuals, Arhin and Greene, on opposite sides of the Atlantic, for one thing, speaks to the technical urgency with which giants like WEB DU Bois, Ama Mazama, Molefi Kete Asante, June Milne, Malcolm X, George Padmore, Thomas L. Hodgkin, Eric Williams, Arthur Lewis, Zizwe Poe, CLR James, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Martin Luther King, Jr., Paul Robeson, and Kofi Kissi Dompere among others approach Nkrumah and his intellect. These imputed facts also go to cement the universal appeal of Nkrumah to intellectuals of diverse intellectual stripes across national borders, leading publishers to re-issue his scholarly works in 13 languages and drawing the auctorial attention of biographers from around the world, white and black.

Evidently, though, Nkrumah’s ability to link two crucial composite systems of human intellection, theory and praxis, in potentially actualizing the material comfort of the people, of the masses, and in their passage out of the epithelial-duct of mental and physical villeinage, characterized his humanism and even made him a towering figure over his contemporaries, including JB Danquah, Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, KA Busia, among others. Nkrumah’s global political prominence and intellectual pre-eminence eclipsed those of the likes of JB Danquah, KA Busia, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, etc., even as Jomo Kenyatta’s “Facing Mount Kenya” eclipses JB Danquah’s “Akan Doctrine of God” in the competitive field of speculative metaphysics.

We shall return…

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis