Historically, only two political party establishments qualified to have been designated or described as “National/Nationalist Parties” or parties with a nationwide thrust and membership in the Immediate Pre-Independence Era, namely, the Joseph (Nana Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye-Danquah- and Alfred George “Paa” Grant-founded United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) and the Kwame Nkrumah-founded and led Convention People’s Party (CPP), properly speaking, the seminal breakaway progeny of the William “Paa Willie” Ofori-Atta-named UGCC. Once, in a frank and sober telephone conversation with a Danquah grandson – he at the time, however, claimed to be the maternal nephew of the globally acclaimed Doyen of Gold Coast and Modern Ghanaian Politics. I have since been reliably informed by another relative that it was rather the mother of my interlocutor, an Akyem-Adadientem-born native, who had been the niece of the putatively foremost Ghanaian scholar of his generation, in the authoritative and memorable words of the late Prof. L H Ofosu-Appiah. That interlocutor was the late Mr. Kwaku Mintah, at the time of our conversation, a longtime resident of Brooklyn, New York.
According to Mr. Mintah, for all practical intents and purposes, the United Gold Coast Convention was not a modern or contemporary political party as such but, nevertheless, the very first bona fide Multiethnic and Multicultural and Cross-Ideological Political Movement in The Gold Coast or Colonial Ghana. The Boakye-Danquah nephew then went on to assert that it was the practical administrative experience that he had gained while working almost solo as the only paid General-Secretary or executive operative of the UGCC that Nkrumah strategically and opportunistically and, some would even say, opportunely, capitalized upon to split from the latter political establishment and found his Convention People’s Party on June 12, 1949.
It is on the preceding premise that the watershed and the epochal founding of both the United Gold Coast Convention, officially inaugurated on August 4, 1947, and the CPP are to be envisaged. What is most significant to emphasize here is that practically speaking, neither Dr. J B Danquah nor the future Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah, subsequently redesignated as Executive President, were great or genius advocates of a multiparty and a democratic system of governance as we presently know the same. Indeed, shortly after Nkrumah’s departure from the UGCC and the “Show Boy’s” meteoric rise as Head of Government Business and Transitional Prime Minister of the British colonial regime, the sometime beloved Nkrumah mentor and his former mentee began to publicly and raucously squabble over the matter and the fact of who really deserved to shoulder the blame for the catastrophic and the pandemonious split of the United Gold Coast Convention into the much more youthful, radical and progressive and unprecedentedly invigorated Convention People’s Party and the fast-collapsing seminal United Gold Coast Convention.
Danquah would bitterly accuse his former protégé as the one who had inadvisably allowed his vaulting ambition to be elected or named Ghana’s first postcolonial leader to completely eclipse the indispensable need for the creation of a coherent and a unified front in the immediate postcolonial era. Now, that was at once rather disingenuous and a sophistic accusation and an argument for anybody to make, being that Dr. Boakye-Danquah had, himself, been equally ambitious to lead an Independent Gold Coast or Ghana into the august vista of the very select group of the global comity of Independent Nations, especially in the heady wake of the founding and the establishment of the United Nations Organization (UNO), presently nominally modified simply as the United Nations (UN).
Naturally, the relatively much older and significantly more psychologically and emotionally mature and disciplined Dr. Danquah had been able to put a far more staid or reticent and strategically more coy and muted demeanor on his equally avid desire to be named as Ghana’s First Postcolonial Leader. He would rather artlessly note in a letter that he wrote to the now all-powerful Osagyefo “Dr.” Kwame Nkrumah, from prison, that his virulently estranged former protégé ought to have tarried a bit or strategically slammed the brakes on his conspicuously vaulting ambition to be elected Prime Minister and, later, President, until Ghana’s sovereignty from British colonial imperialism had been attained or declared. And just by whom? This was not explicitly stated or expressed in the aforesaid letter, but the answer was inescapably obvious.
Now, whoever said that politics was not a messy game of self-serving pretense to modesty and reluctance compelled by megalomania verging on immolation, must have been comatose on a generous overdose of Fentanyl. In reality, however, the seemingly gross incapacity on the parts of Mr. Nkrumah and Dr. Boakye-Danquah to recognize this basic truth of “Unity-in-Diversity” was both inherited from the Anglo-European imperialists as whole, that is, the Western-European colonialists, the British imperialists, in our specific context and instance, as well as from our own seemingly fossilized and decidedly effete Feudal Culture as a people with diverse political and ideological cleavages, forcibly cannibalized geographically and geopolitically into an Inorganic Whole. This is quite contrary to the patently polemical Diopian concept and theory of the Cultural Unity of Continental Africa and Africans, at least on the surface of things.
In other words, the real question at stake here is far less the fact of whether Ghana’s Akan ethnic majority which, by the way, is no more ideologically homogeneous than their northern-located neighbors and relatives, has really any bounden obligation to prove to the rest of the country and the global community that, as a people, we are any more ethnocentric or “tribalistic” than any other group or groups of peoples or nationalities on Planet Earth (See “2024 Elections: I’ve What It Takes to Win; Vote for Me to Prove NPP Isn’t ‘Tribalistic’ – Bawumia” Modernghana.com 10/20/23). But, of course, fairness demands that we promptly acknowledge the fact that Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia’s electioneering-campaign address, delivered in Tumu, in the Upper-West Region, the home turf and the political stronghold of the late President Hilla “Babini” Limann, was smack on target.
You see, the leadership of the country’s main opposition National Democratic Congress has, to-date, yet to convincingly demonstrate to the overwhelming majority of the nation’s Akan ethnic majority population, of which the Fante people constitute only one of 16, or so, Akan subethnic groups, that it is not irredeemably or implacably anti-Akan. No less homogeneous than Ewe-descended Ghanaian citizens, by the way, contrary to what the likes of Mr. Fiifi Kwetey, the morbidly and rabidly anti-Akan former Propaganda Secretary of the latter party and, presently, General-Secretary of the Ewe-dominated National Democratic Congress, would have the rest of the members of the global Ghanaian community believe.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
Professor Emeritus, Department of English
SUNY-Nassau Community College
Garden City, New York
November 11, 2023
E-mail: [email protected]