Will Ordinary Ghanaians Find Salvation In Nkrumah's Vision?

Wed, 29 Oct 2014 Source: Thompson, Kofi

By Kofi Thompson

What ordinary Ghanaians need is a government of national unity made up of incorruptible, competent, sincere and principled individuals. One hopes they will get such leaders after the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Ideally, such individuals must be guided by Nkrumah's governance philosophy: a commitment to protecting the national interest at all material times - which essentially is whatever redounds to the benefit of the vast majority of the ordinary people of Ghana: at any given point in time, in our nation's history.

Additionally, such individuals must also share Nkrumah's sense of patriotism, his genuine desire to promote the welfare of ordinary people, and his vision of a modern and egalitarian African polity, which is an industrialised nation with a productive agricultural sector able to feed the Ghanaian populace, provide raw materials for industry, and export its surpluses.

Above all, Ghana needs honest and dedicated leaders who put country above self, and who will only enter into win-win agreements that benefit both the nation and investors (both local and foreign) equally.

Botswana has just such an agreement in place with De Beers to exploit its diamond deposits - whiles the crooks-in-high-places amongst those who have ruled our country since oil was discovered in commercial quantities in 2007 have lumbered Ghana with the worst oil agreements in the world. Pity.

The farsighted and innovative Nkrumah, who adopted his own version of the mixed-economy model decades before the Chinese even thought of it, struck a deal similar to the Botswana-De Beers model, with Agip Mineraria in 1963, over the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) - to cover the period after Agip Mineraria had recouped its original investment in TOR.

Incidentally, Nkrumah would weep today, if he saw how TOR has been deliberately brought to its knees, by the greedy ambitions of a powerful few, who are determined to profit mightily from its divestiture - which they are busy scheming to engineer.

The followers of Nkrumah in Ghana - Nkrumaists - may not realise it but Ghana is now actually ready for the adoption of an Nkrumaist agenda. If they get their strategy right, and target the younger generation, they could romp home to victory, in the 2016 presidential election.

Ordinary Ghanaians are thoroughly fed up with the two major political parties that promise the earth whiles in opposition, but always end up turning Ghana into an ineptocracy, run by ruthless kleptocrats, who feather their own nests at Mother Ghana's expense, after winning power.

It is the wish of most ordinary people in the Ghana of today, particularly the younger generation, that in addition to modernising and expanding Ghana's infrastructure, they will have an honest and efficient government, which will build new green cities in which Ghanaians can have access to well-designed and well-built affordable housing, and for the financially challenged, free education from kindergarten to tertiary level, and nationwide access to free healthcare in modern and well-equipped world-class hospitals and clinics.

Above all, to protect jobs in Ghana, ordinary people want a government that will not allow cheap and inferior quality imported goods to be dumped here, to destroy local industries - but will act in robust fashion and use creative means (such as those used by many Western nations against China by way of tariffs) to ensure that Ghanaian factories will always have a level playing field to enable them to compete effectively with imported goods.

Achieving such ends, incidentally, is the hallmark of well-educated and highly intelligent African politicians in the Nkrumaist mould, who have an abundance of self-belief - and like U.S. President Obama and the UK's Lord Paul Boateng, could have easily ended up at the top in the politics of the developed world, had they been born there and resident there.

There is an abundance of such individuals in the Nkrumaist fold - including, to name a few, accomplished gentlemen like Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, Alhaji Asumah Banda and Dr. Abu Sankara, as well as dynamic, selfless, competent and patriotic women like Ms. Samia Nkrumah, Ms. Eva Lokko and Mrs. Yvonne Nduom: each one of them a truly world-class individual.

Nkrumaist parties must form an alliance in which each party maintains its identity - and perhaps call it the Unite Ghana Alliance - and collaborate to form a coalition government that co-opts good and honest NDC and NPP politicians who truly love Mother Ghana to join it. They will find that the common presidential candidate that they select, will win the 2016 presidential election.

Their task is simple: tweaking Nkrumah's seven-year development plan to fit today's circumstances, costing it, and showing Ghanaians where the funding for it will come from.

A tip for them: It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Japanese, South Korean and the best-resourced of the state-owned Chinese companies, in partnership with local joint-venture partners, would be keen to build: railway lines to all the 10 regional capitals; build a canal from Akosombo to the north; build wood pellet-fired and gas-fired power plants; tidal power plants; massive wind power farms; and mini hydroelectric power plants - all on a build-operate-and-transfer basis that is fair to all parties.

Ditto build 10 new regional airports and sundry tolled concrete motorways to all the regional capitals. If they doubt it, let the leaders of the Nkrumaist parties travel to the three nations, to meet with their captains of industry, to sound them out on their willingness to make such investments here.

They must think the unthinkable if they want to win power in 2016. They would be wise to put aside all their personal animosities - and select Nduom as their presidential candidate for 2016. They must then get him to help fund all the Nkrumaist parties. Selecting Samia Nkrumah as his running mate will balance the ticket perfectly.

Nduom is a highly successful businessperson, who has created tens of thousands of jobs, and, against great odds, grown his various businesses into a flourishing conglomerate with subsidiaries operating both locally and in the U.S.

That is just what a nation with millions of young people without work desperately needs - a leader with a proven track record of creating wealth and providing substantial numbers of jobs in Ghana. In that regard, Nduom dwarfs both President Mahama and the NPP's presidential candidate, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo - and the rest of Ghana's current crop of politicians.

By getting Nduom to help fund them, they can show Ghanaians the difference between the transparently-funded Nkrumaist parties, and the two major political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which are opaque entities reluctant to reveal their sources of funding - because they are mainly funded by, and beholden to, the very vested interests holding back Ghana's development because they profit mightily from a dysfunctional system and never-ending corruption.

Alas, the plain truth, is that both the NDC and NPP are no longer fit-for-purpose political organisations. They have both failed Mother Ghana. Terribly.

They have polarised Ghanaian society with their nation-destroying divisiveness, intolerance and egregious cynicism - and once in power have both proceeded to loot Ghana in short order.

As we speak, two sets of carpetbaggers, who fronted for some of our past leaders - and didn't even pay a pesewa upfront - have succeeded in pocketing over some US$700 millions thus far, after selling stakes in oil blocks in oilfields off our shores, which should have been allocated to the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC), but ended up being given to them free of charge (imagine that) instead, as a result of egregious high-level corruption.

When in opposition, they have both tended to engage in actions that sabotage the nation-building effort - as the NPP's hardliners and their collaborators in the public-sector are covertly doing at the moment, in order to destabilise Ghana: in the hope it will lead to public disenchantment with President Mahama's regime.

It has led to the farce in which the very people who had access to zillions of cedis in HIPC funds, not too long after coming to power in January 2001, and pocketed the bulk of it, are now merrily leading Ghanaians up the garden path - and giving the world the impression that they will usher in rule by saints, after January 7th, 2017.

And it is not lost on independent-minded Ghanaians that the NPP's de facto operational chief is a ruthless man in a hurry to get into power - who throws cash at every little local difficulty for the government of the day that crops up. He and the other hardliners in his party are all waiting to take turns in the gang-rape of Mother Ghana - and it shows. And discerning Ghanaians are duly taking note of his perfidy.

We must not forget that he is also a man who once upon a time said he ran a mining services company - yet at one stage was reputed to be the biggest seller of gold to the Precious Minerals Marketing Company.

And that genius is convinced that Ghanaians are returning the NPP to power again - because they have lost confidence in President Mahama's regime. Amazing. Poor man - let him dream on: and continue taking ordinary Ghanaians for granted.

Ghanaians who can think, should put two and together - the NPP intends to legalise galamsey nationwide: at a time when most of our soils, rivers and ground-water reservoirs are being poisoned by the heavy metals used by galamsey operators, who are destroying ecosystems across a vast swathe of the Ghanaian countryside, and at a time when global climate change is impacting Ghana negatively.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin - just as was the case during the days of the golden age of business for the greed-filled Kufuor & Co - today, in the midst of unparralled penury for the masses, we have ruthless regime-crony-tycoons involved in multi-million dollar rip-off schemes, which impoverish Mother Ghana.

No sincere and principled Ghanaian, who is also a patriot and nationalist, wants such self-seeking politicians, and mafia-type political parties, to get into power again in January 2017 - to mismanage and rob the Republic of Ghana yet again.

That is what has led to the formation of pressure groups such as #OccupyGhana. The ordinary people of Ghana are now clearly ready to buy into the Nkrumaist vision.

The Nkrumaist parties must out-think and outsmart the two major parties, and seize the opportunity now offered them by a population desperate for effective and honest leadership that will transform Ghana into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

Despite our advanced years, and not-so-good health status, to rid Ghana of the baleful influence of the NDC/NPP duopoly, some of us are willing and ready to volunteer our time, and the little energy we have left, to get Nkrumaists into power again. Ghana definitely needs rescuing - from both the NDC and NPP.

With an Nduom-Samia Nkrumah ticket for the 2016 presidential election, and a refined-for-today Nkrumaist seven-year development plan as the basis of their manifesto, many ordinary Ghanaians might very well decide that to avoid a bloodbath in the aftermath of the 2016 elections, their salvation might very well lie in opting for Nkrumah's vision. A word to the wise...

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi