Among the Akan, of whom the Nzema are an integral part, there is a saying that, “One does not point towards the direction of one’s father’s village (or hometown) with one’s left hand.” That was pretty much what the musician and sometime sailor sought to do, when Mr. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley recently accused President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of operating a “state capture” form of government by filling virtually every significant executive portfolio with a Ghanaian citizen of Akyem descent (See “ ‘Akyems Have Captured Ghana Under Akufo-Addo, Everything Is Akyem’ – Ambolley” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 12/1/19). Well, it goes without saying that this is unarguably the most preposterous ethno-critical statement to be made against Ghanaians of Akyem by, of all people, a Ghanaian of Nzema ethnicity.
To be certain, if any Ghanaian leaders deserved to be accused of indulging in the odious political practice of “state capture,” it clearly cannot be gainsaid that the two most notorious Ghanaian leaders guilty of such practice were President Kwame Nkrumah and Chairman, later President, Jerry John Rawlings. So, it is rather curious that Mr. Ambolley would so cavalierly presume to fault President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for a practice that was invented by his own fellow Nzema clansman and political hero and idol and inimitably perfected by Ghana’s longest-ruling military dictator of half-Anlo-Ewe and Scottish-Highlands descent. Is this because Nana Akufo-Addo makes for a non-vindictive and easy target for such scandalous and hypocritical abuse? I mean, who were Messrs. Ambrose Yankey and Yaw Djin, the Nzema point men whom Nkrumah actually used to run his government?
You see, Dear Reader, the very first problem that Mr. Ambolley has here is that the critic does not provide any specific or concrete comparative analysis for his argument. In other words, Mr. Ambolley ought to have first conducted a general survey of postcolonial Ghanaian governments, beginning with Mr. Nkrumah, his own clansman and apparent model of perfection, before so pontifically presuming to draw up his damning conclusions and judgments against his target of abuse. In the gaping absence of any such objective analysis, the critic sounds more like an inveterate Akyem-hater than a genuine and sincere patriotic Ghanaian citizen. He may also want to read the landmark Jibowu Commission Report, published as far back as the transitional era of the 1950s, that investigated and documented a plethora of rampant and widespread incidents of corruption among the key operatives of the Nkrumah-led and tautologically named Convention People’s Party (CPP), a political party whose very name was shamelessly plagiarized from the William “Paa Willie” Ofori-Atta-coined and/or invented United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), before virulently castigating Nana Akufo-Addo.
I have already amply documented instances of lurid and rank corruption in the Nkrumah-led CPP and so shall not waste any time rehashing the same here. There are also a countless number of books, dissertations and articles – both academic and popular – that more objectively, dispassionately and poignantly deal with the invention and the shameless practice of official corruption and tribalism under the extortionate personality-cult leadership of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah. And for his own instruction, intellectual enlightenment and moral edification, suffice it to say, even as the immortalized President Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria said in a glowing and moving tribute to Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye Danquah, upon the latter’s brutal prison assassination at the hands of his former political understudy and protégé, Dr. Danquah was a pioneer almost peerless in the fierce fight for the establishment and preservation of constitutional democracy in Ghana, whereas Nkrumah was just a clever and an unscrupulous political opportunist.
Indeed, any adult Ghanaian citizen of approximately 60 years old – and this writer definitely fits that profile – witnessed at least one or two aspects of the brutal political order under Mr. Nkrumah’s one-party dictatorship and the morally execrable knighting of this brutal and immitigably vindictive political thug by his lackeys and hangers-on as Ghana’s President-for-Life. If, indeed, Nkrumah’s cabinet remarkably reflected the ethnic and cultural diversity of Ghana’s population, as Mr. Ambolley so smugly claims, then, of course, it goes without saying that the present New Patriotic Party-sponsored Akufo-Addo Administration is even more diverse and reflective of Ghana’s ethnic and cultural diversity than prevailed under the Convention People’s Party regime.
Mr. Ambolley may have also conveniently forgotten to observe the fact that like the Rawlings-led regimes of the erstwhile Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the inescapable domination of the public sector by Anlo-Ewes (actually, Ewes in general), nearly every major publicly owned corporate enterprise in Ghana under Mr. Kwame Nkrumah was headed by either an Nzema-descended Ghanaian, a Fante native, occasionally an Ewe and often a northerner, with members of such major Akan subethnic polities as Asantes, Akyems and the Akwamus glaringly ignored or woefully underrepresented. Isn’t it politically and morally refreshing that, today, the Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party is an Nzema-descended former key operative of the rump-Convention People’s Party, while the party’s General-Secretary is of Assin, rather than of Akyem descent?
Nkrumah’s rank and shameless pursuit of tribal politics, even while paradoxically pushing the largely megalomaniacal ideology of Pan-Africanism, may very well have accounted for the rampant persecution and prosecution of Nzema-descended Ghanaians in the wake of the February 24, 1966 coup d’état. What is equally significant, of course, is the fact that there was absolutely no evidence indicating that Ghanaians of Nzema descent were better educated than their Akan compatriots. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley may want to check and verify his facts before going on the warpath against Ghanaians of Akyem descent.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
December 1, 2019