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Opinion | Feb 28, 2008

They Still Don’t Get It!

On Thursday, February 21, 2008, the so-called Socialist Forum went at it again. And, once again, when it got to the turn of Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, chief-architect of the kangaroo People's Court, instituted by the Provisional National Democratic Congress (P/NDC), the man indicted for grossly mismanaging the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) decided to upend modern Ghanaian history, obviously with the criminal intention of negating the seminal contributions of the democratic apparatus that Dr. J. B. Danquah built.

This is exactly how a Ghana News Agency (GNA) correspondent reported it: “Touching on the nation's 50th anniversary celebration, he [Mr. Tsikata] said that a patriot like Dr. Nkrumah was not recognized as the person who fought for this country[,] but rather credit was given to members of [the] United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC).”

It did not seem to have, in the least, bothered the former lecturer of the University of Ghana Law School that the very institution that made Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata the purportedly genius lawyer that he is today was, indeed, founded by the immortalized Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye-Danquah. And neither did it, in the least, appear to have bothered the former chief executive of the GNPC the fact that by insisting on the singular – or unique – patriotism of the putative African Show Boy sophomorically belied the very incontrovertible historical fact that Ghana's movement towards a status of sovereignty, in reality, far precedes the birth of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

But, perhaps, what was most intriguing about Mr. Tsikata's presentation to the Socialist Forum was the speaker's cynical attempt to facilely portray the first president of Ghana as a firebrand socialist. Maybe somebody ought to have pointed out to Mr. Tsikata that Nkrumah's greatest material achievement, the Volta River Project (a.k.a. Akosombo Dam) was also underpinned the least by the Show Boy's so-called socialist policies. To be certain, Nkrumah built the Akosombo Dam as a virtual, proverbial white-elephant, with a full 80-percent of the electricity generated earmarked for the exclusive industrial use of VALCO, or the Kaiser Corporation, a private American company.

And what is even more flabbergasting, Nkrumah readily consented to VALCO's exportation of almost a 100-percent of its aluminium products abroad. Furthermore Ghana, which also underwrote nearly half of the cost of the construction of the Akosombo Dam, was contractually precluded from drawing any profits from the venture (not even a dime or pesewa) for nearly 30 years, after which period the Kaiser Corporation (or VALCO) would have drawn nearly twice, or perhaps even thrice, its capital investment in the VRP (see David Hart's The Volta River Project; also Okoampa-Ahoofe's “When Dancers Play Historians and Thinkers”).

Thus, it is rather amusing to hear Mr. Tsikata accuse the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government of treacherously introducing exploitative private investors into the country. What is even more annoying is Mr. Tsikata's deliberate failure to inform his audience of diehard “socialists” that the single greatest legacy of the so-called National Democratic Congress, of whose legal light the indicted GNPC executive served for two decades, other than the brutal assassination of Ghanaian Supreme Court justices, was putting up the entire Ghana Industrial Holdings Corporation (GIHOC) for sale to private entrepreneurs and pseudo-socialist cronies of Mr. Tsikata and Chairman Rawlings.

Indeed, Nkrumah may have had the quite laudable “objective of mobilizing and uniting the African continent to manage its own affairs” ( 2/22/08); still, on the more critical home-front, even as charity has been observed, for eons, to begin at home, the notoriously extroverted Show Boy did next to nothing! And had Mr. Tsikata bothered to confer with those Volta Basin inhabitants who were summarily displaced by the scheme prior to the presentation of his rather vacuous lecture, he would have learned to his horror and utter embarrassment that more than half of these re-settlers were placed in conditions far, far worse than their pre-VRP ones. In sum, just like the capitalist and imperialist exploiters that he railed so loudly against, Nkrumah appears to have colluded with Mr. J. Edgar Kaiser to wantonly exploit the former's own people! (see David Hart's The Volta River Project).

But, of course, when one is a pathological liar and a fanatic, one thrives on historiographical mythology, ideological chimera and outright intellectual scatology.

It is also intriguing to hear Mr. Tsikata make the following unpardonably outrageous claim for Nkrumah's so-called Convention People's Party (CPP): “The unfinished agenda was to develop the nation's natural and human resources to resolve problems like poverty, provision of potable water, good health service and others.”

Indeed, what Mr. Tsikata ought to have loudly wondered to his audience is exactly why 15 years of CPP rule and 20 years of P/NDC political stranglehold on Ghanaians woefully failed to provide these most basic amenities to ordinary Ghanaian citizens. Of course, revealing the truth would have been too dangerous for the survival of pseudo-socialism in Ghana.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English and Journalism at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. E-mail: [email protected]
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2008

This author has authored 4408 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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