Who inherits Nkrumah’s crown?

Tue, 4 Mar 2008 Source: Jeffrey, Peter

Akuffo Addo, Atta Mills or Nduom?

My former development economics lecturer at graduate school (over a decade ago) and friend of many years who heard that I am a member of Convention Peoples Party, whilst still support the policies of ex Senator and former presidential candidate John Edwards (US Democrats) wrote to me in genuine astonishment. “I have known you as an ardent Social Democrat, but not as a Socialist”?

My answer to the question posed by my former economics lecturer is this: “In a country that does not have strategic freedoms of speech, free press, assembly, organisation, rights of criticism and dissent, there can be no economic or ethnic democracy”.

Convention Peoples Party is and has always been a broad church. Dr Kwame Nkrumah created a party and country where Nkrumaism not only became a political concept, but a moral one, thus all the current flag bearers of the 3 major parties( New Patriotic Party, National Democratic Congress and Convention Peoples Party) claims to be the true inherits of Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s mantel. Does that make Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo and Professor Kofi Atta Mills Nkrumaists? No! Rather I will call them “Opportunists' Nkrumaists”.

Ghana at 50 celebrations confirmed Kwame Nkrumah’s role and his place in contemporary Ghanaian and African history, as Africa’s foremost Patriot and father of independent Africa. His legacy forever lives on!

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo was an ardent Nkrumaist in his younger days (as was many young Ghanaians and other Africans at the period in question) and still professes to be an Nkrumaist. Professor Fiifi Atta Mills attended Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute, Winneba, and thus claims to be an Nkrumaist. During his house to house campaign late last year, Kofi Atta Mills firmly cast his mast to Nkrumaism. Although some within the Nkrumaist movement may disagree with this notion. Papa Kwesi Nduom, the flag bearer of Dr Nkrumah's Convention People Party was among the last batch of boys to join the Young Pioneers, a movement formed by Dr Nkrumah to train boys for leadership positions in society. The boys and girls of the Young Pioneers were trained to be the Vanguard of the workers, market women, farmers and the students. They are a unique group of boys and girls who thinks of their country before self and are fully dedicated to the advancement of their homeland. Apart from his arrogance, Nduom’s dedication to service is beyond doubt. Papa Kwesi Nduom and Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo were both cabinet members of the current administration until late last year and thus cannot escape accusations levelled against the Kufuor administration by others.

What is not in doubt is Nduom and Kofi Atta Mills share common social democratic credentials. Nana Akuffo Addo also claims to belong to the liberal wing of his party, and thus a progressive. Thus as social democrats they recognise that those social needs of their fellow citizens that cannot be properly met by private initiative, the community must accept that responsibility for them. In the 1960s Dr Kwame Nkrumah extended that state responsibility to the then Northern Region of Ghana by offering every child free education. In his second term as President of Ghana, John Kufuor introduced school feeding program to ensure every child is fed at least once a day. Some within the ruling NPP are hailing this gesture as on par with Dr Nkrumah’s “free education policy”.

In his acceptance speech as CPP flag bearer, Papa Kwesi Nduom asserted that he will extend this responsibility to employment of those able and willing to work. Nduom said as an Nkruamist and progressive, his is to put the freedom of the individual first. This writer and others find that sometimes those who say they put freedom first really mean they put freedom to make profit first. Nduom, Mills and Akuffo Addo have all asserted that there is room for a fair return on investment and entrepreneurial talent.

Nkrumah created a country whose basic institutions are inspired by an equality of concern for all citizens, regardless of class, sex, religion and ethnic background to be free to live up to their desirable potentials as true Ghanaian patriots. In this regard Nkrumah extended the area of equal opportunity beyond the political sphere to all other areas of social life – whether it is housing, health, guaranteed minimum family income or improved public education.

Nkrumah’s brand of Nkrumaism has too often been unfairly compared with a social system in which there is no vestige of political democracy, yet in Nkrumah’s Ghana boys from poorer backgrounds were given the same opportunities as boys from richer backgrounds through the boarding school system, technical and teacher training colleges, universities, boys company of the Ghana Armed Forces and various cadets corps at selected secondary schools across the country and of course Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute and the Young Pioneers Movement. Many boys and girls became the first in their family to go to school. Dr Edward Mahama, a distinguished Ghanaian physician became the member of his family and village to go to medical school. Many members in the ruling NPP benefited from Dr Nkrumah’s educational policy.

Perhaps, Dr Kwame Nkrumah's greatest legacy to his homeland is his policy of inter-ethnic marriage which he promoted with religious zeal. Recent scholarship has highlighted the role of ethnic inequalities and injustices provoking political disturbances and mass murder in Nigeria, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Congo Kinshasa and Kenya. The socio-economic and political inequalities in these countries leading up to the civil wars are marked.

Most commentators, including this writer have argue that the reason why prevailing socio-economic inequalities between the north and south have not resulted in a violent conflict at the national level are the results of Dr Kwame Nkrumah's educational and inter-tribal marriage policies, which has benefited the country immensely. Most opinion leaders, including former deputy chairman of Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, Osahene Kojo Boakye Djan asserted that political tensions have largely occurred between the elites of ethnic groups whose socio-economic situations are not different from one another. According Osahene Kojo Boakye Djan the inter marriages between the 4 main ethno-cultural groups (Akan, Mole-Dagbani, Ewe and Ga-Dangme) is such that the type of inter tribal troubles we are witnessing in Kenya can never be replicated in Ghana. Boakye Djan further explained that institution of Chieftaincy is another unifying force that bonds the country together. Kojo Boakye Djan (a former Young Pioneer) said the unity of the country was cemented by Dr Nkrumah's educational policy through the secondary school boarding system which brought boys and girls from different parts of the country together during their formative years ( for up to 5 and 7 years).

The problems that face our country today are, persistent poverty and lack of amenities such health, sanitation, electricity, water, housing, decent education and others necessitates that we liberate ourselves from the traditional clichés and slogans of capitalism and socialism, and rather develop new philosophical foundations based on Nkrumaism for a decent society. The theoretical confusions have clouded our notion of thinking in terms of socio-economic development.

Papa Kwesi Nduom and Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo want to promote the growth of existing small-scale and micro enterprises (indigenous small businesses). Nana Akuffo Addo in his acceptance speech as his party’s flag bearer exhibited his “social democratic” credentials when he asserted that the traditional indigenous businesses would be supported with government funds and promoted to the fore. Papa Kwesi Nduom and his development policy advisers have openly come out in support of medium sized businesses and small scale entrepreneurs.

CPP has criticised the industrialisation policy which was pursued by subsequent governments’ right up to the 1990s which the party claims to prove to be costly and developmentally ineffective. The party cited many industries set up by CPP which were left to rot in favour of cheap imported foreign goods. CPP states that the impacts in terms of unrealised development are fateful. The party asserted that as results of structural adjustment programs of the 1990s and early 2000s and other conditions of donor countries/Bretton Woods institutions most of the industries from Nkrumah era have been closed or privatised.

All the 3 candidates’ promise of promotion of small business sector comes from CPP’s 7 year Development Policy strategy documents. Small businesses in Ghana and rest of Africa have been exposed to tougher competition of globalisation. Nduom and Akuffo Addo have vowed to protect these small businesses through a combination of Import Substitution and Export Led strategies.

Papa Kwesi Nduom explains that the developmental divide between the northern half of the country and the southern regions arises from a combination of circumstances and policies, including out migration to the southern regions. In the case of the Volta Region, Papa Kwesi Nduom said like the northern region became an area of out migration. Nduom said the relative poverty in the 3 Northern regions and Volta Region is totally unacceptable.

Papa Kwesi Nduom accepted that Ghana's post-colonial economy had an endogenous tendency to favour the south over the north in terms of the location of economic activities, and pledge that under his presidency, he will turn the north into Ghana's bread basket. Papa Kwesi Nduom said he will replicate Dr Nkrumah's developmental approaches which had a positive vision for the development of the North and Volta Region and their integration into Ghana's economy.

Speaking to this writer from Nduom's campaign headquarters in Accra, a party strategist said CPP critics often accused it of abandoning socialist principles. He stated that "Ghana faced different constraints from those facing Dr Nkrumah's CPP in the 1960s. The policy instruments that Nkrumah used were different too. Today people need skills in order to get onto the employment ladder. That is the challenges facing us, he asserted".

Huge oil discovery in Western Region and the security of the country has become very important issue that needs a good chief executive to steer the country to ensure peace, prosperity and economic growth. If the oil wealth is handled improperly it could exacerbate the large economic inequalities, corruption and radicalism already prevalent in certain parts of the Ghana and Nigeria.

Papa Kwesi Nduom states explicitly that as a Young Pioneer, his role is to be the vanguard of Ghanaians, thus he would ensure the country’s oil and agricultural wealth are harnessed properly, not for exploitation by the elite, but used to create economic opportunities for every Ghanaian and ensure the legacy of Nkrumah endure long after he has left the scene. Papa Kwesi Nduom said the Gulf of Guinea is projected to play greater role in the world energy market, with Ghana becoming the biggest player in the energy sector. This demands hands on CEO to ensure Ghana achieves her true potential.

Like Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Papa Kwesi Nduom wants to invest in the youth of the country as an insurance policy to safeguard the unity of the motherland.

The question to ask is, “Which of these 3 candidates is best suited to take forward Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s developmental strategy?” All 3 candidates are claiming to be Nkrumaists and are openly exhibiting their Nkrumaist credentials.

Who the cap fit, let him wear it! Kwame Nkrumah never dies! Kwame Nkrumah show boy lives on! Almost 26 years after his death, politicians across the political divide are still fighting over his legacy!

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Jeffrey, Peter

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