The False Ghanaian History of Paa Kwesi Nduom
I don’t quite know whom he intends to bamboozle with his flagrantly false presentation of modern Ghanaian history, but anytime that I have had the misfortune of reading his patently false Nkrumaist approach to Ghanaian history, I have also been very thankful that Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom had chosen to study economics and business management in college, rather than African Studies or African History.
I am also especially glad that his rather crude and regressive attempt at reviving and re-imposing Nkrumaist dictatorship on Ghanaians was met with resonant rejection during the country’s most recent “conversation” at the polls, particularly the further remarkable erosion of the hitherto piddling modicum of electoral support that the rump-Convention People’s Party (CPP) possessed in the lead-up to Election 2008. Indeed, what the landmark Obama visit symbolically represents, if nothing at all, is the sonorous fact that the era of the “One-Man Messianic Adventure” is decidedly behind Ghanaians.
To be certain, the very beginnings of Ghana’s warm and fruitful relationship with the United States, at the turn of the 20th century, has far more to do with the unarguably distinguished academic and professional career of Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey, who had his doctoral degree posthumously conferred, thus making Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye Danquah, the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics the first Ghanaian and African to have earned the Doctor of Philosophy Degree from any major, and/or reputable, Western academy in the 20th century, than Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, future first president of Ghana.
Thus, contrary to what Dr. Nduom would have his audience believe, Nkrumah actually eroded the hitherto warm relationship between Ghana and the United States, with the untimely and rather irreverent and nose-thumbing publication of his book “Neocolonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism.” Curiously, however, in faulting the Johnson administration for instigating the overthrow of the CPP, Dr. Nduom conveniently “forgets” to mention the preceding fact. Predictably, this wild-eyed Nkrumaist does not seem to adequately appreciate the luridly ironic fact of his hero, the African Show Boy, having received a humongous investment capital from the Americans, for the execution of the Volta River Project (a.k.a. Akosombo Dam), including the very construction of the Tema industrial township, a creative civil engineering, architectural and commercial idea originally conceived by the famed British geologist Sir Albert Kitson (1868-1937), and then capriciously turning around to morbidly bite the proverbially generous feeding hand.
Then hardly surprisingly, you also have another CPP egghead, Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa, brazenly calling on President Obama to apologize to Ghanaians on behalf of the CIA, and the United States, for allegedly helping an effectively hostage and harried Ghanaian populace, led by its military, in auspiciously overthrowing the decrepit and abjectly corrupt and irreversibly bankrupt CPP in February 1966 (See “Prof. Akosa: Open Letter to Obama” 7/10/09). What rankles me here is the nauseatingly vacuous suggestion that, somehow, Ghanaians were too innocent and daft to have recognized the CPP for what it veritably was, an incurably corrupt neocolonialist dictatorship!
Then you also have the 2008 CPP presidential candidate telling his audience about Nkrumah having “taught classes at the University of Pennsylvania,” at the very moment that a Harvard- and University of Berlin-educated Dr. W. E. B. DuBois could only be hired as a high schoolteacher on the campus of the University of Chicago! (See “Nduom on Obama’s Speech” 7/14/09). To be certain, when Nkrumah met Dr. DuBois on the campus of the Benjamin Franklin-founded University of Pennsylvania, the 1896 top-honors graduate of Harvard University was not even on the staff of its faculty. Instead, the Great Barrington, Massachusetts, native was on a grant commission working on his now-famous classic “The Philadelphia Negro,” an exhaustive research into the socioeconomic, cultural and political status of African-Americans in that world-renowned metropolis.
It is also quite a stretch for Dr. Nduom to make such extravagant claim as either Dr. DuBois or Mr. Henry Sylvester Williams, of Trinidad and Tobago, being the “Father of Pan-Africanism,” rather than Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden, the original creator and proponent of the cultural and ideological expression of the “African Personality,” a concept shamelessly plagiarized and monopolized by Mr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Ultimately, what intrigued me most was the mention of Dr. Edward N. Mahama and President John Evans Atta-Mills as veritable beneficiaries of an Nkrumah-inspired American education and culture. Indeed, had he been courageous enough, and I did not expect him to, Dr. Nduom could have also honestly hinted at the fact that it was only after both Messrs. Atta-Mills and Mahama had been intellectually enriched by a Danquah-inspired and designed seminal education at the University of Ghana, the original “Danquah Institute,” to be certain.
And lastly, the fact that Danquah’s ideological pursuit of democratic constitutionalism (or republicanism) predicated squarely on private enterprise does more justice to whatever materially meaningful relationship Ghana may be aptly envisaged to have systematically forged with the United States. Ironically, the likes of Messrs. Nduom and Akosa would rather sophomorically tag Dr. Danquah with the invidious label of a “CIA Agent” than maturely acknowledge the fact of the British-educated Doyen of Modern Ghanaian Politics having astutely and studiously forged a far more practical, profound and far-reaching relationship with the United States, relative to Nkrumah, the left-leaning Lenin Prize recipient.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of 20 books, including “African Politics Today” (Atumpan Publications/Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.