Dr. Kofi Dompere On Nkrumah’s Scientific Thinking 8

Sat, 17 Jan 2015 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

On a more serious note, it is Prof. Dompere’s consultancy work with and for international and American institutions that arrests our utmost attention and underscores our critical valuation of his work. Among other things, he had served the World Bank in a capacity as a resource person and as a referee in a major study looking at African economic policy and trade negotiations. He had also been actively involved in the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Training Program. Admittedly UNITAR personnel work in every corner of the world. What is more, Prof. Dompere has extended the reach of his consultancy profile to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as a Senior Technical Research Consultant.

What is the role of the FHWA in America’s political economy? The FHWA provides oversight of America’s physical structures, namely bridges, tunnels, and highways, including such concomitant functions as maintenance, construction, and preservation of these structures across federal, state, and local jurisdictions (See the website of the U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration). Moreover, FHWA also carries out research aimed at improving mobility, traffic, safety, and so on, across the geopolitical expanse of America. We mention these to underscore a pressing need for social and political emphasis to be imposed on maintenance technocracy in Ghana.

That aside, Operations Research, one of his many professional portfolios of expertise, provides the necessary technical tools for federal institutions such as the FHWA and the American military. The American military, corporations (energy, supply chain management, and retail sectors), transportation, oil and gas and mining industries, Wall Street, especially, are the biggest users of Operations Research techniques. The story is the same in emerging economies represented by Brazil, India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Russia. Even across Europe and Japan, too. Finally, Prof. Dompere’s consultancy work with the US-based Basic Technologies International adds to his rich intellectual and professional profile.

Still, it is his active involvement with consultancies carried out on behalf of Africa’s development economics that we think captures his string of crowning professional achievements. This rich portfolio of consultancy experiences includes stints with USAID in connection with the National Accounts and Macroeconomic Policy/Industrial Systems Design of the Government of Botswana. Here he served the Government of Botswana in a capacity as a Technical Consultant. Last but not least, Prof. Dompere served as an Economic Consultant to the World Bank, where he assisted the international institution in assessing the social implications and economic impact of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) on Ghana, as well as a consultant to the International Development Research Center (IDRC), a federal arm of the Canadian government. There, his consultancy expertise focused on the strategic conglomeration of Southern African and Eastern African regional bodies into a common market, recalling Nkrumah’s call for a common market for Africa, etc.

Finally, his consultancy profile has included work he did on economic planning and cost-benefit analysis for the Organization of American States (OAS). That such a great scholar and a great mind would turn down a lucrative job offer from the World Bank in order to concentrate his energies on his research work, teaching and writing responsibilities, doing consultancy work for American and international organizations, and offering training sessions for personnel on behalf of international bodies such as the World Bank and the United Nations, men and women dispatched to the four corners of the world in the service of humanity, is hardly surprising. No doubt he is as hardworking and enterprising as Mazama, Nkrumah, Diop, Asante, Soyinka, and several other influential intellectuals, scientists, and thinkers across the world. It is also not in question that Nkrumah’s profound ideas about practical intellectualism and those on egalitarianism, patriotism, collectivism, selflessness, and humanism constitute the driving forces behind Prof. Dompere’s scientific scholarship and intellectual activism.

As it stands, Prof. Dompere’s activist intellectualism has a fine replica in the person of Prof. Yaw Nyarko and of other impressive minds. And the parallels between them are striking, to say the least. Prof. Yaw Nyarko, acknowledged as “one of the world’s most ranked African academic economists” according to the website of the New York University-based Development Research Institute (DRI), created DRI and the New York University Africa House to deal with questions of the human condition. On the other hand, Prof. Asante also created the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies and the Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement (DISA) with similar motivational focus in mind, which are: To advance the intellectual engagement of the African world with the rest of the world, scientific and technological research, African-centered methodology of historiography and of pedagogy, race relations, social justice, African unity and Africa’s economic empowerment, Africa’s voice in global affairs, and so on.

Also, Prof. Victor Lawrence’s founding of the Stevens Institute of Technology-based Center for Intelligence Networked Systems (iNETs) and Baharicom Development Corporation are driven by the same impetus to improve the human condition and to make the world a better place. Accordingly Prof. Dompere’s scientific work and thinking signature, manifestly, coincide with the aggregate philosophical thrusts of the afore-cited thinkers and scholars. This anthology of innovative thinkers has proven track records of accomplishments to back its armchair speculations and conjectures, as well as the latter’s immediate positive correlation to the praxis of human satisfaction.

What is more, their research institutions are more results-oriented, thorough, competitive, relatively “independent,” analytic, and scientific in their philosophical approach to human problems than the vacuous noise-making rickety wheelbarrow or partisan virago some commentators misleadingly label “think tank” in Ghana. Thus Ghanaian institutions can learn a lot from these “scientific” institutions, including, but not limited to, such concepts as practical criticism, social criticism, critical rationalism, scientific criticism, objective knowledge, professional criticism, moral criticism, theoretical criticism, without the adulterations of political, class, ethnic, and intellectual biases.

Thus it is also within reason, then, to assert without stochastic equivocation that, given our intimate knowledge of Prof. Dompere’s scholarly activism, vast body of work, intelligence, scientific and mathematical grasp of the external conditionalities of human consciousness as well as of the autogenic dynamics of human psychology, inclusive of the enabling dynamics of humanism, and last of all, of his profound appreciation of Nkrumah’s deep, labyrinthine, and sophisticated ideas, evaluated from the holistic standpoint of advanced mathematics, logic, and science, one is more than compelled to conclude that Prof. Dompere is driven to do what he does best by the creative encouragement of the factorial accommodation of all of the above interacting variables. We should do well not to gloss over the other salient driving variables we mentioned previously. Most significantly, great minds are also activated, egged on, and motivated by interacting quanta of intuitions and imaginations which “lesser” minds take for granted. Given all the above, it is therefore pointless to belabor the skyline height of originality Prof. Dompere brings to bear on his multifaceted rational scholarship.

This quality of originality is rare among many of our scholars. In other words, Prof. Dompere is known for fashioning his own vigorous scaffoldings of mathematical models to explain phenomena where there seems to be a total lack of ready formulaic examples to underwrite serious attestations of his ideational extrapolations. Mathematical modeling, one of his many areas of expertise, is an interesting but quite a complicated, challenging, and oftentimes unpredictable, subject matter for many.

What is the point? Mathematical modeling and analytics are not analytic tools appreciated for their predictive power or rather are deployed on a smaller scale in less developed political economies like Ghana’s, perhaps, because the narrowness of the industrial and technological base of Ghana’s economy, her largely uncompetitive economy in the scheme of global finance, her weak supply chain networks and the technological tenuity of her local markets, all put together render such relatively modern techniques less useful. Then again, analytics plays more than an important role in driving the engines of emerging economies as those of China’s and India’s and Brazil’s and South Africa’s, even as of the industrialized West. Thus, the theory and underlying assumptions of analytics are somewhat synonymous with Dr. Dompere’s scientific investigation of ideas and knowledge.

Interestingly, though, unlike Albert Einstein who had his major important Special Relativity and General Relativity mathematical equations either framed or solved by others, among whom we could readily mention Henri Poincare, David Hilbert, Karl Schwarzschild, Marcel Grossman (See Chandra Kant Raju’s paper “Einstein: From Icon to Con-Man” and Hans C. Ohanian’s book “Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius”), Prof. Dompere on the other hand formulates his mathematical modeling problems largely by himself and also works out the solutions largely by himself.

This is not to say there is anything wrong with others solving Einstein’s mathematical problems for him. It is merely to stress his intellectual deficits. Again, Einstein’s intuitive penetration and grasp of the physical world and of the natural ordering of things is commendable. Besides, Einstein had not been known to be a good mathematician, not after his consistent failures to provide a concrete, or satisfactory, mathematical proof for his mass-energy relationship. Neither was he the first to even propose the so-called mass-energy relationship. These facts have come to light because scholars, mathematicians, and scientists across the world have thoroughly examined his published papers (and the entire collection of his unpublished papers) to come to this conclusion (See Hans C. Ohanian; the French polymath Henri Poincare proposed the mass-energy relationship before Einstein’s papers on general relativity appeared on the scene). Yet he brought his own uniqueness to theoretical physics.

That aside, mathematical modeling is what bio-mathematicians, operation researchers, social scientists, string theorists, engineers, chaos theorists, computational neuroscientists, management scientists, financial engineers, economists, scientists, actuaries, and analytics professionals primarily do. Unfortunately, the problem we face in Ghana and across Africa today is certainly not one of orthographic, or possibly of intellectual, confusion per se, but rather of a lack of clear policy choices based on the strength of moral and technocratic foresightedness or of clear scientific articulation of strategic choices for priority formulation of practical and technocratic answers deemed sufficiently responsive to the social tsunami of challenges posed by the human condition.

This calls for scientific, intellectual, moral, and technological revolutions across the continent! We should recall that Nkrumah began these transformative revolutions but the enemies of Africa and Africans, native and foreign, curtailed them for reasons of greed, intellectual myopia, spiritual vanity, political misdirection, inferiority complex, and self-aggrandizement. Yet, neither Ghana nor Africa lacks resources in the area of human capital across the spheres of science, mathematics, technocracy, professional and academic economics, medicine, biomathematics and bioengineering, actuarial science, management science and operations research, engineering, and so on, capable, intelligent, and prescient men and women who could transform the continent as Nkrumah envisaged it.

The presence of this cadre of men and women in and their impact on the world is public knowledge. Nkrumah and Nkrumahism laid the foundation for this, and the latter’s impact continues to reverberate today even in the lives of those who passionately hate Nkrumah. As a matter of fact, Nkrumah’s pursuit and subsequent actualization of independence for the Gold Coast echoed its own manifold benefits, some subtle and nuanced, others brazenly patent. Talking about the referential typology of “independence,” Prof. Dompere’s intellectual independence has come to represent a hallmark of his ingenuity, feeding his theoretical breakthroughs, an existential quality that has served him so well over the years. Thus, it is not surprising when he advised some students and university professors at the University of Ghana, Legon, sometime last year while in Ghana on vacation, to originate their own theories and ideas on the basis that those systems of ideas and theories are imbued with an actuality, not a potentiality, of transformative power, a necessary power to improve the human condition.

Prof. Dompere felt those systems of theories and ideas he implored the students and professors to undertake could potentially replace those imported into Ghana and Africa, purportedly lifeless, impractical, and fruitless theories and ideas, the latter about which the said students and professors bitterly complained, saying they were inimical to the forward tendencies of Ghana and Africa. Nkrumahism theoretically invalidates these negative tendencies. Nevertheless, Prof. Dompere could not have been more forward and forthright with his audience. Similarly, Mazama, Asante, Diop, and Nkrumah championed parallel ideas.

It is public knowledge that the absence of methodological independence as it pertains to the caliber of research required to transform Africa and to intellectual originality probably constitutes the bane of Africa’s development economics. There is enough evidence on the ground to substantiate this!

Merely copying foreign ideas without realistic considerations given to their adaptive applicability in local conditions or by failing to test their viability against the contextual praxis of localistic conditionalities, is, inevitably, not the best of strategic options for development economics. Context, philosophical location, history, perspective, intimate knowledge of one’s enemy (game theory), and worldview are all important in the formulation of the equational politics of strategic and tactical planning (See James M. Blaut’s “The Colonizer’s Model of the World: Geographical Diffusionism and Eurocentric History”). It is not to say constructive collaboration with researchers from without is a necessary anathema to the creative enterprise of origination. That is far from our position. The political economy of constructive collaboration, as we want to describe it, can be likened to the nature of chameleonic tendencies whereby it takes on the form and substance of critical socialization between a people’s collective psychology and their cultural history, social ethos, cultural pathos, among others.

Prof. Dompere’s “Polyrhythmicity: Foundations of African Philosophy” and “African Union: Pan-African Analytic Foundations” examine the logos of the preceding statement on the merit and technical strength of mathematical, philosophical, and scientific actuation. Then again, constructive collaboration, we should point out, negates a not-so-widely acknowledged piece of information told to Prof. Botwe-Asamoah by Prof. Awoonor, with the former writing: “the first thing the makers and the foreign co-conspirators [CIA] did after the coup of 1966 was to destroy the Atomic Energy Program.” Is this kind of collaboration innovative? Could it be that the technophobic Ghanaian coup makers did not understand the political economy of the energy needs of the country, the Program’s larger implications for underwriting an industrial economy, or giving Ghana and Africa a competitive negotiation edge, a bargaining chip if you like, in the praxis of global politics?

Alas, we destroy our technocratic, research and scientific institutions, much like the Luddites did during the Industrial Revolution, and then go to China and India, two emerging economies whose leaderships began exactly as the visionary Nkrumah did, to beg for technical assistance to rebuild them. We destroy ourselves and then blame our lack of technocratic prescience on self-serving phantom reasons! We forget to make assessment of the comparative impact of self-destruction on society, on ourselves, on our future.

Ironically, America executed the Rosenbergs, husband and wife Ethel Greenglass and Julius, on suspicions they had turned over atomic secrets to the Soviets, what, in other words, gave jolts of assistance to the Soviets, helping them to perfect the technical aspects of the processes of building atomic bombs, speeding up the processes, and eventually putting them in a strategic position to build their own atomic and nuclear arsenal before stipulated forecasts. Further, America and the rest of the West also ensured any nuclear or atomic arsenals (or stockpiles) Apartheid South Africa had in her possession were quickly destroyed once power changed hands between Black South Africa and White South Africa?

Are these facts not sufficient proof that Americans in particular and Westerners in general love themselves and their countries better than we probably do of ourselves, of our nations, of our continent, of our future? This naturally leads to the subject of patriotism and selflessness, two indispensable questions Prof. Dompere’s takes up in his scientific and mathematical treatment of Nkrumahism. Nkrumahism, we may add, has, according to Dr. Poe’s exhaustive survey of Nkrumah’s extensive body of works, critical dimensions of “ontological, epistemological, and ethical theories” to it. To wit, Nkrumahism is not an idle philosophy in other words, but a profound system of thought based on a verifiability of sound scientific, logical, and mathematical imprimatur.

Relatedly, Prof. Dompere confirms the former’s cautious conclusions but then goes further than his qualitative and exegetical valuation of Nkrumahism to, as a matter of fact, discursively establish Nkrumahism as a serious scientific thought worthy of mathematical exploitation. It is also clear from the insights gleaned from the corpus of research denouements reached by Prof. Dompere cement the ties between theory and praxis. Of course, oftentimes it takes great leaps of intellectual exertion and emotional drain to blend the frontiers between theory and praxis beyond a point of qualitative or concrete disparateness, although this feat can also be achieved sporadically via serendipity, other times too via conscious scientific or empirical methodology. It entails more than the mere fabrication of conditions and enabling environments to make the transition from theory and praxis through the mediating potentiality of reification a concrete reality.

Notwithstanding that, it is important we do not misconstrue theory as an end in itself. It is not. Neither is praxis. Both theory and praxis have imposed untold hardships on humanity and civilizations. Nazism, Apartheid, scientific racism, and eugenics constitute a few examples. Alfred Nobel’s invention of dynamite and his Nobel Prizes are another set of good examples. Did he intend dynamite, one of his inventions, to be used in wars? And did he create the Nobel Peace Prize? This glaring contradiction between Nobel’s legacy explains why proponents of neuro-linguistic programming believe good intentions are not always or necessarily compatible with their outcomes. The question then is, should we judge Nobel’s legacy by the millions who had and continue to lose their lives as a result of his dynamite invention or by the millions whose lives have been saved or qualitatively improved as a result of the Nobel Prizes, innovative discoveries made in the sciences and economics and the signal contributions made to the quality of human lives by peace activists? This question and its answer(s) are at the heart of the contestation between theory and praxis.

Nkrumah, it should be stressed, acknowledged the mutual superiority of theory and praxis to armchair guesstimation as a standalone inquiry into the vicissitudes of man’s existential conditionalities. The verifiable parameters, qualitative and tangible, of his amaranthine legacy lend credence to this contention. Nkrumah’s view that philosophy should constitute itself into systemic chaperonage or oversight of development economics, and his actually doing so through his profound theoretical constructs such as “categorical conversion” and “consciencism” and through his provision of capable leadership for the institutionalization of international, regional, national, and continental bodies tasked to improve human lives, eloquently speaks to his unquestionable grasp of the marriage between theory and praxis.

It appears those after him, unfortunately, have not taken this noble idea to new heights of circumstantial pragmatism, of technocratic consummation. Dotting the geopolitical countenance of Ghana with fancy, meretricious physical infrastructures, for instance, without injecting maintenance considerations into their structural DNA makes no engineering or policy strategy sense, a point clearly not tantamount to the philosophic durability of Nkrumahism and the political economy of maintenance technocracy. Prof. Dompere’s constant reversion to Nkrumah’s ideas in the wake of new mathematical models and scientific discoveries parallels our argument for public institutionalization of maintenance technocracy as part of the broader scope of policy strategies of reversing the declining health of Ghana’s aging infrastructure, of her collective psychology.

Again, the idea that Prof. Dompere took nearly a decade of close reading to capture the mathematical, philosophical, and scientific essence of Nkrumah’s “Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization” speaks to a determined mind hoping to make a difference in human thinking and knowledge. It is always essential and prudent that we interrogate history, ideas, and theories in every sphere of human life, whether that given inquiry is a standing challenge of natural science or of social science, as physicists have not given up on trying to understand the physical world of particle behavior. As a point of illustration, the illusive property of the particle tachyon that it travels faster than the speed of light, an idea developed in the 1960s by Gerald Feinberg and others, has pushed theoretical and experimental physicists of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to continue to search for and to ascertain the properties of this illusive particle in the 21st century.

The story is not necessarily so in our part of the world. We on the other hand take history to be static. But it is not. History has dimensions of causality and effect. History is also dynamic, and can be corrective and therapeutic, even a haunting prospect. History provides opportunities for man to sanitize his checkered past, among other things getting rid of the cobwebs of doubts, debilitating inconsistencies, and the like, while carrying over history’s positives and achievements into the future. Prof. Dompere’s untiring efforts are highly commendable in this regard. His body of works provides practical answers to many of the troubling questions of political economy that have evaded our leaders. It is not in doubt that the divisiveness of Ghanaian politics, the so-called winner-takes-all capitalism, kleptomania, vacuous pedantry, sneaking suspicion, leadership incompetence, political Balkanization, and kakistocracy are partly to blame for Ghana’s developmental inertia, for refusing to listen to a great mind like Prof. Dompere’s. In Ghana today and other parts of Africa, however, concern for social justice and human dignity seems to have lost its place to the greedy calculus of partisan politics, of fruitless pedantry, and of the politics of equalization.

It is not in question that mainstream Ghanaian politics has eventually morphed into the bunga-bunga dilemma of Berlusconian political travesty. Simply put, post-Nkrumah Ghanaian politics is nothing more a comical replica of the so-called Dreadnought hoax, with useful idiots usurping the sickly soul of Ghana’s logocracy for the prize of political capital. Unfortunately in Ghana today, unlike the creative, thoughtful era of the Nkrumah dispensation, too much premium is placed on the comical strength of social, intellectual, and emotional trivialities, as represented by political sentimentalism, schadenfreude politics, malarkey, vindictiveness, newspeak, and so on, rather than to the variables of technocracy, science, technology, science literacy, and their correlative possibilities to development economics. Arguably, a videocracy and logocracy like Ghana’s political system evidently lack the Nkrumahist seriousness of political innovation and scientific pragmatism. These negative tendencies contribute to the crippling of constructive collaboration in many a momentous circumstance.

On the other hand, it bears emphasizing that constructive collaboration in the realm of scientific research duly take local conditions into consideration, a concession already alluded to. The so-called Nordic Model, the Washington Consensus, and the Beijing Consensus are derived from this simple truism. The political economies of these three disparate cultures partly derive from their unique sense and conditionalities of historical and geopolitical independence, of social particularities. Nkrumah realized some of the major hindrances to originality, calling the lack of intellectual independence and Eurocentric cultural conditioning of the psychology of Africans, both inherited from the colonial and imperialist enterprise, in fact any learning in Africa outside its African-centered underpinnings, “dead learning.”

Thus, Africa cannot cut to the quick of development and growth so long as she is habituated to the ghost of “dead learning.” We on our part see ethnic prejudice or ethnic chauvinism as a debilitating symptomatology of “dead learning,” and national unity, constructive collaboration, self-empowerment, and peaceful co-existence as moral negation of “dead learning,” with Nkrumah writing to that effect: “in the highest reaches of national life, there should be no reference to Fantes, Asantes, Ewes, Gas, Dagombas, ‘Strangers’ and so forth…We should call ourselves Ghanaians?the brothers and sisters, members of the same community?the state of Ghana.” This powerful statement marks one of the high points or epochal moments of Nkrumah’s political career. To put it simply and more bluntly, ethnic nationalism (or ethnic supremacy), ethnocracy, ethnic nationalism, jingoism, ethnic democracy, and irredentist politics have no place in the philosophy of Nkrumahism, salient connotations of Prof. Dompere’s methodological empiricism.

These hard facts constitute some of the priceless or enduring gifts Nkrumah gave to the world of political tribalism, of cultural grandiosity. In that regard, constructive collaboration as a philosophy of intellectual socialization also rejects ethnic balkanization as a component of national unity or of national identity. Nkrumah demonstrated this when, for instance, he dispatched civil servants, doctors, and engineers to Congo upon the latter’s attainment of political independence. On a more serious note, our idea of constructive collaboration need not be necessarily or entirely physical. What do we exactly mean? We mean to say that constructive collaborative can equally be spatial, as in reading, self-communication, or introspection. Imagination, intuition, curiosity, and rational thinking are integral to these natural processes.

Significantly, great and influential leaders are known avatars of the pedigree of constructive collaboration we are talking about, men and women whom we can usefully identify as avid readers. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Clinton, and Kwame Nkrumah come to mind.

It has been acknowledged in one particular instance that Clinton, for instance, read Robert D. Kaplan’s book “Balkan Ghosts” and, thereafter, was so impressed with and moved by Kaplan’s powerful arguments that he had no choice but to allow his administration to intervene in the Balkan conflict. One’s inquiring eyes pan Africa and one wonders the inferior caliber, or lack thereof, of books the new crop of African leadership reads! Nkrumah’s reading habits on the other hand pushed him to greater heights and helped him scale the heights of statecraft, guiding his meanderings through the coppice of East-West antipodean proclivities with relative ease while simultaneously disallowing the latter to translate into mutual antagonism and rivalry between and among Africa’s emerging nation-states. Nkrumah called this foreign policy strategy positive neutrality. “He came more and more to believe that action must be guided by a philosophy; but he was no slave to ideology,” K.B. Asante writes of Nkrumah. “He was a man of ideas. He had the talent for grasping new ideas and the weakness of giving them form and calling them his own. He was conversant with the mainstream of the development theories and models in vogue and found natural sympathy with the prevalent highly interventionist school.”

Intellectual honesty is the hallmark of great minds, and Nkrumah was courageous enough to let the world in on that aspect of his enviable intellectual profile, as his textually and philosophically rich autobiography, speeches, and corpus of scholarly eloquently demonstrate. Acknowledging one’s intellectual or ideological mentors for appropriating their ideas to advance the cause of humanism simply represents the height of moral refinement, yet not like Nkrumah’s unabashed ideological enemies who still go about passing their usual revisionist distortions that Nkrumah wanted to be the president of Africa, though the latter’s public and private intentions contradicted any such embellished public lie. “Some of them feared Nkrumah’s intentions and suspected that his ulterior motive was to usurp their positions of power,” Dr. Poe writes of the suspicion a select group of African leaders who had met with Nkrumah to iron out their differences in respect of their political philosophies while putting the framework for African unification, African Union that is, in place. According to Dr. Poe, Nkrumah assured his peers at that august conference that: “Ghana did not seek to be the headquarters or Secretary-Generalship of the OAU.”

Prof. Poe then adds almost as an afterthought: “Nkrumah was a shrewd politician and knew the fears of his peers.” It turned Nkrumah had brought these leaders of independent African polities together into a political coalition, the Conference of Independent African States (CIAS), whose members went on to elect him to the chairmanship of CIAS. It also turned out that Nkrumah’s artful leadership of CIAS would lead to the establishment of the African Group at the United Nations. Regrettably also, his contributions to the Algerian Revolution are less widely known. All these facts are meant to cement Nkrumah’s influence in the turbulent world of yesteryear and to point to his relevance today, as the new cadre of African leaders goes wayward. Indeed Nkrumah’s ideas are more relevant today than yesteryear, for, among other things, the revolution he started to transform Africa into an economic, scientific, and technological powerhouse is not finished yet.

Let us take a brief trip to history. In 1997, for instance, Nkrumah’s ideological opponent Julius Nyerere at the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) apologized to the world for his generation’s failure to implement Nkrumah’s ideas. Nyerere’s dolorific public statement to that effect came during Ghana’s 40th Independence Anniversary Celebration. “The OAU did not resolve the fundamental question of the primacy of an indivisible ‘African People’ versus ‘African Peoples,’” writes Dr. Poe. “J. Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania once debated Nkrumah over regional versus continental unity of Pan-Africanism. In his book, ‘Uhuru Na Ujoma,’ Freedom and Socialism, (1968), Nyerere regretted to the error of ossifying state identities at the expense of Pan-African identity in his article titles, ‘The Dilemma of the Pan-Africanist.’” Nyerere was a true student and follower of Nkrumah indeed. Dr. Poe concludes: “As a result, as Nkrumah predicted, the OAU remained as weak as the states that comprised.”

The preceding statement points to a concession we made in one of our earlier essays claiming that the African Union we have today is not what Nkrumah intended and that it is a mere shadow of Nkrumah’s actual intentions. Prof. Dompere’s text “African Union: Pan African Analytic Foundation” shows why the African Union is institutionally weak and thus how it could be institutionally strengthened, thanks to his interacting smorgasbord of advanced mathematics and science and logic, Nkrumahism, Diopian African-centered methodology, and the like. It also points to our entrenched position that Nkrumahism and the revolution Nkrumah initiated are as relevant today as of yesterday. “Time has shown that Nkrumah’s dream of African unity was not an ideally romantic idea. Since then Europe via the EU has adopted his [Nkrumah] entire proposal apart from the one on a union government. The current AU structure was modeled on his proposal,” said Nyerere. “Kwame Nkrumah was Ghana’s leader but he was our leader, for he was an African leader.”

Nyerere respectfully addressed Nkrumah his public presentation as “our leader” even as Nkrumah’s ideological enemies unabashedly continue to perpetrate the noble lie that Nyerere wanted nothing to do with Nkrumah. Regrettably, Nkrumah’s ideological enemies who are wont to praise Nyerere are also quick to criticize Nkrumah harshly for the Preventive Detention Act (PDA), although Nkrumah’s ideological enemies conveniently, or out of ignorance, gloss over Nyerere’s use of the PDA. It is always about selective amnesia and loss of both sanity and rationality when it comes Nkrumah. It is the same ideological blinkers that prevent his enemies from impartially assessing his legacy. Nyerere actually admired Nkrumah and had great respect for his intellect, views, and vision for Africa (See Ebou Faye’s essay “Dr. Kwame Nkrumah: Remembering Africa’s Most Influential and Greatest in the 21st Century”).

It should be noted that Nyerere was not contesting the foresight of Nkrumah when he made his public apology, an apology that was tactically framed as an appeal to Africa to resurrect Nkrumahism to serve as a riposte to Africa’s contemporary challenges. The manifold recurring problems Africa faces today and their concomitant solutions are the centerpiece of Nkrumahism. Prof. Dompere painstakingly teases them out of the mountains and forests of Nkrumah’s ideas. Fortunately for us, Nyerere and Mazrui lived long enough to confirm the rightness of Nkrumah’s vision for Africa!

Even Dr. Issa G. Shivji, a professor of law and arguably one of the top Nyerere scholars, has written: “Nyerere is no doubt vindicating Nkrumah’s position…Is Nyerere also critiquing his own position of step by step, any unity?” (See his July 27, 2005 Second Billy Dudley Memorial Lecture presentation “Pan-Africanism or Imperialism? Unity and Struggle Towards a New Democratic Africa,” University of Nigeria; see also Chambi Chachage’s “African Unity: Feeling with Nkrumah, Thinking with Nyerere,” Pambazuka News). At this moment, it is only appropriate that we put it on the record that Dr. Shivji, an internationally acclaimed scholar, author, activist, development and legal authority, holds the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Research Chair at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

These declarative recollections aside, the generalized subtext of the views expressed herein, once again, points to the contemporary relevance of Nkrumah’s ideas. Peradventure the subtitle of Prof. Botwe-Asamoah’s book “An African-Centered Paradigm for the Second Phase of the African Revolution” is a direct reference to the preceding sentential denotation. Now, turning our attention to K.B. Asante’s reminiscences on Nkrumah’s reading habits, we argue that it appears the latter’s extensive knowledgeability, indeed, stems from his voracious reading and tactical association with intelligent, wise cadre of well-informed, well-accomplished men and women, of different races and ethnicities and nationalities, and of different religions and class and ideological persuasions. Asante could not have put it better! The power of discernment, which can partly be acquired through extensive high-quality reading and strategically focused observing, came easily to Nkrumah in the thick of decisional doldrums and political cyclones.

In fact, it is discernment that separates visionary, tactical, and prescient leaders like Nkrumah and Gandhi and Lumumba from others, from say George W. Bush or Chief Mangosutho Buthelezi or Mobuto. Now back to the question of leadership, reading habits, constructive collaboration, and development economics. The list is, indeed, endless if we should do an exhaustive study of the question. Yet another good example of a hardworking leader known for his sustained, habitual, and voracious reading habit is Rwanda’s anorexic-framed Paul Kagame, Rwandan’s strong man and authoritarian leader. “He started devouring books about Singapore, South Africa, China and the other ‘Asian Tigers,’ which had managed to leap out of poverty in less than a generation by means of disciplined, authoritarian leadership and entrepreneurial capitalism,” writes Richard Grant (See Paul Kagame: Rwandan’s Redeemer or Ruthless Dictator,” The Telegraph, July 22, 2010).

Quoting Kagame however, Grant also makes it clear that the former, who has “very little formal schooling,” spends three to four hours every night devouring books about economics, business management, development issues, politics, and international affairs after “having put in a 12-hour day dealing with affairs of state, taken his exercise (gym or tennis), spent time with his wife and children and said goodbye to them.” In fact, Kagame admitted to receiving “newspapers from Britain and other countries twice a week, and read them almost page to page. Sometimes I find I’m reading things I don’t even need to read, because my mind is hungry. I don’t need much sleep. Four hours is enough.” Once again, the quality of reading habits ostensibly delineates the qualitative difference between the leadership styles of Kagame and Idi Amin, say, clearly marking out the decisional shorelines of their disparate psychological political cartographies and strategies of development economics and general attitudes toward inclusive democracy.

Prof. Dompere is an avid peruser himself. And there is always a qualitative difference between a reader and a peruser. Nkrumah was a peruser, not a reader! On the other hand, Kagame’s sometimes progressive policies have made Rwanda’s parliament women-friendly, a place where more women representatives serve the nation than any legislature in the world. Likewise, Nkrumah’s progressive government made women the backbone of CPP’s populist democracy even while he also expanded the social circumference of girl enrolment in schools, a throwback to Kwegyir Aggrey’s vision and progressive philosophy on gender equality. Nkrumah’s views on humanism, self-actualization, and egalitarianism were integral to his philosophical equation of gender equality. Indeed, societies grow and develop and move in the direction of positive development economics when gender equality is made a staple of priority national considerations.

One of the central pillars of Nkrumahism, to wit, what Nkrumah referred to as “egalitarianism” and which he dialectically tackled in his philosophical work “Consciencism,” is also explored fully in Prof. Dompere’s scientific works on Nkrumahism! Lest we are not misunderstood, we are not referring to “egalitarianism” in a sense with utopian or storybook implications, far from it. Thus, we deploy the concept in a sense where conditions and enabling environments make it possible for individuals to take full advantage of equal opportunities these conditions and enabling environments create for self-actualization, for developing, realizing, or fulfilling their full potentialities in society, without the intrusive encumbrances of partisan politics, political ethnocentrism, culture and religions sentiments, kleptomania, weak institutions, poor leadership and political deceptions, neocolonialism, superstition, declining educational standard, social decay and anomie, and universal corruption. This is how Nkrumah meant it, the concept “egalitarianism.” Accordingly that is not a dreamer’s pretensions to utopianism or definitional abstractionism.

We offer this corrective definitional appraisal because Nkrumah never for once had his head secreted away in reified clouds, but rather in the practical concreteness of human existence, of human experience. “African Genius,” one of his classic speeches, makes him a pragmatic, objective character and influential player in world affairs and human history, not a doctrinaire or a fawning android, in retrospect. He also was a man of the planet, not of the moon. Among other things, therefore, Nkrumah’s useful pragmatism detached him from the Elysian Fields of Orwellian unrealism, thus alternatively forcing him into a perspective that held meliorism as the philosophical centerpiece of his political identity and intellectual refinement. Yet, it also does not mean his pragmatism was a negation of the place theory had in human socialization, intellectual evolution, and development economics. We have belabored this point elsewhere.

Everything aside, egalitarianism constitutes one of the central atavistic infrastructures of Prof. Dompere’s scientific works on Nkrumahism, namely “The Theory of Categorical Conversion: Analytic Foundations of Nkrumahism” and “Theory of Categorical Consciencism.” Take note! In the end we should only say it is high time readers, particularly Nkrumah’s ideological enemies, got to understand that Nkrumah was never the Cesar Augusto Viana of Allen Kurzweil’s poignant essay “Whipping Boy: A Writer Spends Years Looking for his Bully. Why? (The New Yorker, Nov. 17, 2014).” Who was Nkrumah then, one may ask? An avatar of ingenuity, selflessness, intellectual profundity, prescience, moral force, foresight, and sheer human goodness, also a master and creative embodiment of Africa’s destiny and hope!

Need we say more? Perhaps. African should get herself entangled in the baptismal fire of Nkrumahism!

We shall return…

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis