Nkrumah Did Not Force His Views On African Leaders 7
Note 1: Declassified US documents show the Lyndon Administration rooting for General Ankrah to take over the Ghanaian government. This was on February 11, 1964. Then after the 1966 coup General Ankrah became the leader of the junta, the NLC. What a coincidence! There is also a picture of General Ankrah and President Lyndon Johnson in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, Texas, when the former visited the latter to brief him on the success of the coup. The same declassified documents show General Ankrah’s impatience with American authorities for not dropping nuclear weapons (bombs) on Vietnam (perhaps as the Americans did in Japan).
Note 2: MAJOR AKWASI AFRIFA, COLONEL KOTOKA’S AND GENERAL ANKRAH’S FRIEND, CONTEMPLATED TWO COUP PLOTS AGAINST NKRUMAH ON TWO DIFFERENT OCCASSIONS: 1962 AND 1964! See Godfrey Mwakikagile’s book “Western Involvement in Nkrumah’s Downfall”; see also “Traditional Institutions and Public Administration in Democratic Africa” (Okyere Bonna & Kwame Badu Antwi-Boasiako). General Ankrah himself was deposed in a bribery scandal in which a Nigerian business, Franz Nzerebe, conducted an opinion poll that turned out to make him [Ankrah] more popular than Afrifa and Busia. In fact, Afrifa and Busia may as well have framed him up for their own political ends; fighting over the presidency much in the likeness of Orwellian politics, “Animal Farm.” Nkrumah also wrote that Afrifa, Kotoka, and Harlley were offered $13M to assassinate him!).
We need to be careful not to conflate the federal model advanced by Busia, Danquah, and their ilk with the ideological and moral agitation for continental federation, granted that the drive for personal political power, political desperation, elitist conceit, one-upmanship, and distorted notions of fiscal federation dictated the prophylactic impetus for their exclusionary agenda. It turned out the Gold Coast’s and later Ghana’s miniaturized geopolitical statuses were unsuited for the praxis of political federation and, as expected, not even the British Colonial Government would accept the idea as Busia and Danquah argued it. The Colonial Government therefore rejected it as woefully impractical.
But then again, not even Busia, one of the staunchest and most vociferous apologists of the federal model, saw practical merit in the federal model to make it a strategic fixture of the policy statement of his internal politics during the political tenure of his premiership.
There is no doubt that Busia, like the British Colonial Government, may have realized the irrelevance, impracticality, and sheer absurdity of the idea once he got a shot at premiership. This says a lot about the merit of his ideological location, and also speaks to why he may have even advocated it prior to the advent of his fortuitous premiership. He may have finally, probably rather grudgingly, come to terms with how the marriage between political economy and the unitary-state model suited the geopolitical needs of a polity as tiny as Ghana given that the latter was, and still is, far removed from the descriptive framology of a city-state. Busia rejected the idea just as the British Colonial Government and the Ghanaian electorate did, while ironically his administration made Nkrumahism part of the policy rhetoric of the direction of his internal and external politics.
The political direction of Busia’s foreign policy was an entirely different matter. That is, in spite of indicting Nkrumah for using Ghana's resources to advance the country and the continent, and citing that as one of the major reasons for toppling the Nkrumah Government, the National Liberation Council (NLC), headed by General J.A. Ankrah, and the Busia Administration continued to allocate Ghana's resources to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in hopes of assisting the OAU to meet its obligations as well as to cushion its rising operational budget One would have thought that Busia and the NLC, his client, would have petitioned for Ghana’s delisting from the political roster of the organization. Instead they did not. They realized that Ghana’s survival depended on the comity of decolonized African nation-states. That made practical sense because they soon realized that, the political individuation of the comity of Africa’s decolonized nation-states was tied to an integrated continental political economy, which was in turn tied to the global economy, all these political economy activities crystallizing at the height of decolonization.
Thus Nkrumah’s vision made up for the lapses of Ghana’s immediate post-Nkrumah leadership. In other words Nkrumah’s vision served as a guidepost for the policy direction of his political successors. Nkrumah thus provided the political metalanguage for the country’s inexperienced leadership, Busia included. On the other hand, what Busia and the NLC obviously failed to grasp was Nkrumah's intention to direct his progressive political calculations at decolonizing Africa in the manner of America's Marshall Plan, the so-called Economic Cooperation Act (1948). Nkrumah knew a decolonized Ghana could not survive in an island of economic exclusion and thus saw a great need for improved and expanded intra-African economic fraternization via commerce. Asian and Western countries were doing exactly that.
In the aftermath of decolonization African countries chose to trade more with Europe and the larger Western world than among themselves, thus stifling any hope and potential for expanding the African market for commerce in African goods and services.
The situation has not improved significantly since. It is a fact of contemporary realities that one is more likely to find or obtain resourceful information on individual African countries in the West than in African countries themselves, as Dr. Molefi Kete Asante sees it in essay “Knowledge as Property: Who Owns What and Why. He writes: “SO DISTORTED HAS THE SITUATION BECOME THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF SYRACUSE IS THE CENTER OF INFORMATION ABOUT UGANDA AND KENYA. IF YOU WANT TO FIND ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS ABOUT KENYAN OR UGANDAN SOCIETIES YOU ARE MOST LIKELY TO DISCOVER THIS INFORMATION IN SYRACUSE AND NOT IN KAMPALA AND NAIROBI.” Likewise, Dr. Kwame Opoku’s extensive corpus of writings on stolen African art works and other stolen pieces of African cultural wealth stashed away in European (Western) museums and private homes reinforces Dr. Asante’s concerns. This is only where Africa’s dilemmas begin!
What the preceding facts demonstrate is a clear lack of united political will on the part of African leaders to project the strategic needs and interests of their countries in particular and the continent in general above their parochial personal ambitions. The situation is similar to the repercussive moral subtext of Ayi Kwei Armah’s “Two Thousand Seasons” and the question of unequal dichotomy attendant upon the so-called Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), signed between the EU and ECOWAS. Alas, the situation is also far from identical to the financial and technological bailout which America extended to ravaged Europe and some Asian countries after the Second Imperial War (WW2).
That bailout put Europe and those Asian countries back on the path of industrial and economic convalescence. America even saw potential markets in the rising Germany and Russia and supported them (see Anthony C. Sutton’s books “Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler,” “Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution,” the three-part set “Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development”).
It is all about tactical and strategic calculations with the leaderships of Asia and the West, a quality the new crop of post-Nkrumah African leadership lacks with the passage of Nkrumah. Take a closer look at Nkrumah’s 7-Year Development Plan for instance, a bold planned or command economy with provisions made to absorb the vicissitudes of the market economy, to industrial the Ghanaian economy, and to provide employment to the masses then and years to come.
Evidently, there is a wide prognosticative disconnect between how the leadership of Asia and the West on the one hand and the Eurocentric leadership of Africa on the other hand, look at their respective futures from the relative standpoints of their strategic interests and national well-being. The attitudinal differential is seen in the centripetal temperament of Africa’s Eurocentric leadership as opposed to those of the centrifugal leaderships of Asia and the West.
Therefore the wide prognosticative hiatus needs effective bridging for social, economic, and political sanity to prevail on the continent.
That calls for patriotism, collective self-love, strategic thinking, and collective self-reflection as a people, among other valuation indices. It is sad to see African leaders throw away the high quality leadership blueprint Nkrumah left behind for other shameful categories of leadership styles. It is these reprehensible categories of leadership styles that have refused to see a moral marriage between the progressiveness of Western intra-relational gestures toward the political economies of nation-states, the Marshall Plan for instance, and the factor of moral aptitude intrinsic to the temperament of Nkrumah’s emulatable political philosophy.
There has been an entrenched canard in certain political circles that America was in excellent economic health, when she made an overture of financial and technological largesse to Europe and parts of Asia. But that is far from the truth. Indeed that canard degrades the edifice of historical truth. Technically, and also equally true, is the fact that it was not as if the American economy was in good shape at the time. We make this statement on the basis of the emphatic notation of verifiable historicity. As it is the 1949 economic recession in America took off in 1948, the same year the Marshall Plan was set in motion. High unemployment, homelessness, poverty, inflation, racial discrimination, and social anarchy plagued America. Racial terrorism against African Americans was commonplace, as was African Americans held under the social-political peonage of Jim Crowism and institutional racism.
Yet America largely ignored the plight of her African-American citizens to assist her European brothers and sisters. And Asians.
Where are those Asians and Europeans today? In the meantime the year 1948 was also the same year when the Gold Coast Colonial Police, led by Superintendent Colin Imray, shot and killed Sgt. Adjetey, Pvt. Odartey Lamptey, and Cpl. Attipoe, with sixty others incurring all sorts of injuries. The three who were shot dead were part of a delegation, made up of other unarmed ex-servicemen then on their way to the Christianborg Castle to present a petition to Sir Gerald Creasy, the Commander-in-Chief and Governor General of the Gold Coast, demanding the pensions and jobs, gratuities if you will, promised them by the Colonial Government. Death and physical injuries to their persons took the place of their gratuities.
It is evident that the contrasts and similarities between the social-political realities of the Gold Coast and the America, both of 1948, add up to the rich diary of experiences foregrounding the political character of parts of the preceding narrative.
In fact, those men had fought courageously alongside the British in Asia during the Second Imperial War (WW2). Hundreds of thousands, possibly at least a million, had fought for Europeans in defense of Western hegemony in Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world. Many died in the process, and many still were not compensated for their services on behalf of their colonizers. Yet Europe has conveniently made it a point, a poignant one at that too, not to deal with the hard numbers of Africans who had fought on her behalf, on the basis of minimizing or marginalizing African contributions to the successful execution of the European war effort. BBC Africa Analyst reporter Martin Plaut observes in his article “The Africans Who Fought in WW11 (2009),” thus writing: “YET THEY FOUGHT IN THE DESERTS OF NORTH AFRICA, THE JUNGLES OF BURMA AND OVER THE SKIES OF GERMANY. A SHRINKING BAND OF VETERANS, MANY NOW LIVING IN POVERTY, BITTERLY RESENT BEING WRITTEN OUT OF HISTORY.”
It has long been a taboo subject to broach the fate of blacks under Nazism (see Dr. Clarence Lusane book “Hitler’s Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of European Blacks, Africans and African-Americans During the Nazi Era”).
The way those African veterans were treated by Europe shares an accommodation of mutual familiarity with the manner in which some African leaders treat their citizens today. Yet the central point of the penultimate paragraphs is not necessarily to fall back on the spire of emotional historicism, far from it. Rather, the idea is to point out the consistent failures of African leadership to see beyond the narrow purview of personal greed. The encroachment of moral deficit upon the sense of political direction represents another unresolved conundrum in the character of African leadership. Nkrumah provided fresher perspectives on political leadership while in forced exile, a corpus of bold critiques of leadership that our present crop of leaders could learn from, yet the imposition and intervention of political Eurocentrism appears to have completely taken over their discretionary powers in respect of their African-centered moral locations.
That encroachment of Eurocentric myopia upon Africa’s political psychology is the bane of the continent’s economic and technological underdevelopment.
Since politics is an important component of human psychology, what are we to do as regards transforming the collective conscience of Africa to suit the moral location of African-centeredness? The moral location of African-centeredness, thus, provides a conjunctural notation for the kind of vigorous critique that redirects the outward-looking pretensions of Africa’s Eurocentric politics towards the centrifugal focus of Nkrumah’s visionary politics. There are no scheming shadows of worthless moral antiquation here. What is more, the underlying assumptions of altruism and philanthropy as they relate to political practice, otherwise as exemplified by Nkrumah’s leadership, call it “political morality” if you will, seems to have lost its axiological location and balance in the moral calculus of political thinking. Politics as quality service to the people trumps discretionary sensibilities toward humanophilia.
Rather post-Nkrumah African politics is tailored to the exigency of ethnocratic entitlement and personal aggrandizement. Political meritocracy is no longer a measure of social intelligence.
In the end it is the erection of African-centered morality on multi-forked foundations of patriotism, scientific and technological innovation, collective self-love, transparency and accountability, strategic planning, strong institutions, and mathematical prognostication among other indices, which should manage the directional emphasis of the African state toward a desired destination of socioeconomic fulfillment. African nation-states lag behind the rest of the world. The political economy of entrenched presential singularities situated across the political landscape of Africa, or punctuated ideological singularities in the framology of political continuity from the Nkrumah dispensation to the contemporary dispensation, is partly to blame for Ghana’s and Africa’s relative stagnation.
We witness a practical instance of this in Nkrumah’s projection of African humanism onto the moral landscape of postcolonial African politics where, for all intents and purposes, personal aggrandizement gave way to the practice of political philanthropy and altruism as well as the collectivization of intra-African self-help.
Those who refuse to see the practical merit of the preceding idea had better look elsewhere. Today America is reaping benefits from Europe's prosperity and political stability, while xenophobic terrorism doggedly pursues other Africans from South Africa, perhaps the moral backbone of African politics besides Ghana’s. That is the nature of the reality of the emotional irony and moral paradox streamlining certain aspects of African contemporary politics and international personality. Beyond those aggregate considerations however, certain commentators have neither found it politically inexpedient or morally inconvenient to make it a focal point of their selective critiques to look for possible correlations between Liberia's pre-1980 one-party system and the possible importation of American slavocratic and authoritarian prescriptions by the pre-1980 political leadership of Liberia, into the political cauldron of Africa!
The ideological context of this proposition may have a lot to say about the general political direction of Liberian politics, with the likelihood of a Westernized elite of African ancestry deploying slavocratic authoritarianism as a strategy to frictionalize its smooth control of the indigenous population and to maintain its hegemony
The praxis of political preservation of the Westernized elite in the artificial context of Liberian political economy may have provided a necessary justification for the adoption of slavocratic authoritarianism.
On the contrary, the political history of Sierra Leon, a contemporaneous polity with the Liberian state, does not seem to provide any precedent for the one-party ideology until the 1970s. On the other hand outside the immediate contexts of cultural and historical justifications, the question of practical exigencies occasioned by and in conjunction of Opposition-driven ethnocentric regionalism, secessionism, political terrorism, coup d’états, assassination attempts on a democratically-elected president, indiscriminate killings of innocent citizens and political opponents, self-imposed exile, and general distaste for party politics, all of which underwent strategic aggregatization in support of the one-party ideology under the Nkrumah dispensation, other commentators have however argued that the precedent of the French Revolution provides a blueprint for political authoritarianism, social anarchy, and the abuse of human rights in the 20th and 21st centuries.
With or without the precedent of the French Revolution, there is no question that it took the political expenditure of a great quantum of moral imagination for the CPP Government and the people of Ghana to converge on the adoption of the one-party ideology.
Thus Busia’s and Danquah’s preferences for the institutionalization of ethnocentric federalism, as well as their uncritical adaption of the Edmund Burke’s political philosophy to the prospective nation-state, the Gold Coast and later Ghana, essentially their politics of elitist exclusionism, stood far apart from the popular adoption of the practical instrumentalism of the unitary state. The idea that their model of ethnocentric federalism was the outcome serious considerations given to the relative merits of decentralized autonomy, delegation and devolution of political power, and discretionary economics (spending) were merely part of a deeper layer of political emotionalism designed to circumvent the central authority of the unitary state, represented by the progressive leadership of the CPP Government, its moral visage being Nkrumah.
Ethnocentric federalism could as well have been an insult to the rational, creative faculties of the Ghanaian masses, a misplaced indictment of the unitary sense of the people on the subject of political collectivism.
In that sense ethnocentric federalism could not be divorced from the political pretensions of moral geography, since it is not far removed from notions of secessionism! For instance, there were interlocking overt and nuanced subtexts of ethnicity and ethnic nationalism (and possibly the discovery of oil) to the political complexity of Biafra secession. Also, the secessionist threats that gave way to the American Civil War were primarily threats over the place of slavocratic economics in the American political economy! Southern cottonocrats made slavocratic economics the centerpiece of their moral agitations for political secession from the Union.
Slavocracy and cottonocracy therefore found common ground in the dehumanization and brutalization of the sons and children of Africa.
The political pretenses of moral geography and French colonialism cannot be separated from the epochal brutality of the French Revolution. This relational historicity is lost on some critics. Still, some commentators begin with the political chronology of the French Revolution and then walk through the American Revolution, the American Civil War, the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, the two Imperial Wars (WW1 and WW2), Apartheid, European monopolization of the political process of inclusiveness in the colonies, political Zionism, the Holocaust and pogroms, and so on, as preludes to the formation of the self-conflicted modern nation-state. Also, we cannot ignore the impact which Niccolo Machiavelli's "The Prince" had, and continues to have, on the authoritarian and Machiavellian character of the modern nation-state.
As well, Italy’s fascist Benito Mussolini wrote his doctoral dissertation partly on the latter text. Adolf Hitler, Richard Nixon, William Shakespeare, Henry Kissinger, and Joseph Stalin read it, to mention but five names, so too did it impact America’s Founding Fathers. The political realism of “The Prince” is many ways commensurate with the raw brutality of the French Revolution. The latter gave birth to Jacobean liberal autocracy nonetheless!
On the other hand, we are not too certain if those political opponents of Nkrumah who terrorized his government, children, innocent men and women, and the country at large came under the opiate-like influence of “The Prince.” The irony is that while “The Prince” prescribed unsparing strategies and tactics for consolidating political power within the hands of as well as uniting disagreeable geopolitical units under a centralized authoritarian power, Nkrumah’s political opponents deployed their unsparing strategies and tactics rather in the service of ethnocentric federalism, which, alas, ended up in the loss of innocent lives and the dear-dismantlement of the new country, Ghana.
As such, the political realism of Machiavelli’s conceptualization of tactical and strategic ruthlessness in the consolidation of political power in a central authority, or power aggregation, leaves much to be desired. In a related context the narrative pontifications of Platonic and Aristotelian descriptive typologization of authoritarian politics cannot be separated from the political realism of Machiavellianism, ideas some of which are ingrained in the constitutional psychology of the modern nation-state!
That descriptive typologization of authoritarian politics came to characterize Jacobean liberal absolutism. Thus, the raw brutality of the French Revolution may be argued to have occurred on a relatively minor case in the representational political terrorism masterminded by Nkrumah’s local enemies, with strategic assistance from abroad. Not even the base instinct of the masterminds of the French Revolution consciously targeted children for assassination, as happened in Elizabeth Asantwaa’s case the flower-girl who died in the Kulungugu bombing. The political contestations between the proponents of ethnocentric federalism and the advocates of the unitary state ended up in a deadly war of Machiavellian proportions, a war mostly orchestrated by the enemies of Nkrumah, in which advocates of the unitary state won. Those advocates of the unitary state won the debate on the basis of the prowess of political thinking, the relative precisional strength of the underlying assumptions of mathematical strategizing, and the creative humanism of African moral epistemology.
The foregoing narrative probably offers another window of opportunity for popular political engagement with any thorough discourse on the political morality of Pan-Africanism as an instrument for shaping the internal dynamics of the unitary nation-state. Such a popular political engagement has no room for the ideological perversions of ethnocentric primitivism and political chauvinism to operate. Also political and philosophic conceptualization of the unitary state is a defined state of the collective conscience, backed up by a unifying battery of constitutional enactments with the sanction of popular sovereignty or the elective franchise. Thus ideological, cultural, ethnic, religious, linguistic, and political autonomies are functionally possible within the unitary constitutionalism of the collective conscience. The United States, Canada, the European Union, China, and India, for instance, are macrocosmic replicas of a microcosmic unitary state like Ghana.
In fact, each of the four macrocosmic federations demonstrates some degree of likeness to the mathematical behavior of group theory in which competing, interlocking, and layered cultures, languages, ethnicities and races, religions, etc., are the functional subjects of the political axiomatics of a unifying constitution.
Therefore, the unitary state is a powerful instrument for rallying the collective conscience around issues of economic development and the internal cohesion of the unitary state. We also want to stress that a unitary state and the one-party political system are not necessarily the same. China is a political conflation of the two though it is also a federation. Ghana was a unitary state until 1964 when parliament made it a one-party state, thus conflating the two as in the case of China. Since 1966, party politics democracy has achieved relatively little for Ghana in terms of the indications of comparative economic indices with other countries, such as Singapore and China. That is not to say party politics democracy cannot and should not be improved or refined to serve the people of Africa. It can and should. Overhauling party politics democracy should not be considered or executed outside legitimate calls for decentralization, devolution, and delegation of political power to regional bodies from the base of executive dominance.
But those legitimate calls are certainly not, at least in political theory, the panacea for Ghana’s and Africa’s democratic deficits and developmental challenges. For once Ghana and Africa deserve proven sovereign remedies in place of overly simplistic and hackneyed resolutions, usually made out of the threadbare poncho of partisan political convenience. Yet those calls may as well be tactical and strategic avoidance of the difficult challenges posed by statecraft and nation-building. For if the latter two were easy undertakings, surely Soyinka for one would not have taken to writing poetry, novels, and memoirs instead of resisting popular demands to stand for the Nigerian presidency. Then again these questions are beyond the simplistic typology of party politics democracy and the one-party ideology in the post-colonial dispensation. Maybe a better and more effective riposte to Ghana’s and Africa’s democratic deficits and developmental challenges should be the question of positive attitudinal transformation, or positive transformation of the public mindset, toward issues of development economics and development sociology.
In other words, the bug of corruption has been so ingrained in the public psychology to the extent that decentralization, devolution, and delegation of political power to regional bodies will simply lead to an entrenched decentralization and de-bureaucratization of political corruption, if public attitude towards governance remains as crooked it already is.
Stronger institutions, positive attitudinal change in public psychology, patriotism, and social responsibility are among those remediation strategies and tactics needing urgent policy attention in the body politic of Ghana, as well as others across the continent. Beyond that, we have seen how corruption is rampant in the American, Nigerian, and Indian federations, to name but a few, particularly at the state level. The delegation of political power to regional bodies from the base of executive dominance will also connote the restoration of certain “dormant” traditional powers to the chieftaincy institution. Arguably popular patronage of the chieftaincy institution has resulted in unimaginable corruption scandals. The partial role of Ghana’s duopoly and party politics democracy in the unresolved murder of the Yaa-Naa and conflicts in the Northern Region, the sporadic flare-ups of inter-ethnic conflicts in certain regions outside the Northern Region, and enstoolment and destoolment clashes between families have cast doubt on the innate strength of regional bodies to effectively manage their affairs.
On the other hand other than the preceding citation of regional incompetencies, deforestation through illegal lumbering activities, environmental destruction through illegal mining (galamsey); bribery; ritual murder; illegal sale of lands through active concealment and land disputes; abuse of royal power and privileges; delivery of questionable and biased royal verdicts, etc., have characterized the chieftaincy institution.
Environmental destruction in Ghana is probably more prevalent in Kyebi in the East Akyem District of the Eastern Region than in other regional bodies. Yet much is not being done by the traditional leadership and regional government bureaucrats by way of effective technocratic arrestment of the situation. This may not augur well for regional autonomy. It is the same deficits we see at the national level, the state. There is thus a clear equivalence relation between regional bodies and state bureaucracy. Likewise, one cannot deal with critical questions regarding the homeostatic status of the human organism without so much as paying attention to the integral socialization processes that transpire among the various systems of the organism.
It does not matter whether one looks at the issue from the point of view of synthesis or analysis. The destination is almost always the same: Emotional cul-de-sac!
It is also apparent that decentralization, devolution, and delegation of political power to regional bodies may still make regional bodies beholden to the virtual discretionary authority or powers of the Supreme Court in the special case of a conflict or misunderstanding between them and the state. Alas, the judiciary is one of the most corrupt institutions in Ghana, just as the executive and the legislature. The security services, particularly the police, are equally corrupt. Religious institutions are no exception. What is more, some critics have laid Ghana’s democratic deficits and developmental challenges at the doorstep of the so-called winner-takes-all capitalism. But that may not necessarily be the central problem.
Rather, it is the state of the unpatriotic Ghanaian psychology that may be the culprit because, as it were, America and Singapore have done more than relatively well with their winner-takes-all capitalism, as China has with her winner-takes-all socialism, or so-called autocratic capitalism, though there is a vocal minority of Americans still critical of the winner-takes-all capitalism and wants to see it scraped or overhauled. To put it bluntly, however, we will state that the Ghanaian strain of the winner-takes-all capitalism represents an unmanageable political typology of kleptomaniac oligarchy. In one sense, the unserious hegemonic theocracy of Ghanaian politics makes it possible for the chimeric champions of social democracy and property-owning democracy to become easy victims of the aggrandizing materialism of winner-takes-all capitalism, the latter of which we can claim to be an artifact of existential pretensions to a materialist psychology.
Thus any public agitations for reform should begin with a moral revolution aimed at the strategy of positive attitudinal change in the public psychology! And as we pointed out earlier, this may have nothing to do with the typological dichotomy between party politics democracy and the one-party ideology. We have already cited the examples of Singapore and America on the one hand and China on the other hand, as models with enormous illustration value to the particularistic conditions of the Ghanaian body politic. Ghana’s problem is therefore largely a problem of the public mind, which is neither the province of religion nor superstition, but rather of positive attitudinal change in the same public psychology, common sense, political realism, and the adaption of critical, analytic thinking as well as of science and technology to the social and political deficits of the conditionalities of human existence.
Passage of the Freedom of Information Bill (FOIB), for instance, has no moral life of practical instrumentalism outside agitations for positive attitudinal change in the public psychology! The revolution of positive attitudinal change in the public psychology should include initiating popular putschism against the “constitutional dictatorship” of 1992 that ushered in the Fourth Republic, with the judiciary and the legislature becoming the imperial stooges of executive dominance. Lest we are not misunderstood, we should have to point out that we are not making a direct reference to “constitutional dictatorship” as enshrined in the US Constitution, a constitutional clause used by President Abraham Lincoln to amass unusual powers in his exercise of executive discretion in preserving the Union from geopolitical fracture, place moratoria on writs of habeas corpus, and issue executive orders for the arrest of mutineer; by President Franklin D. Roosevelt who used it in certain cases in contravention of certain stipulations of the same US Constitution; or by President George W. Bush who capitalized on it to arrogate sweeping powers to his government in the wake of September 11.
There are also the unresolved issues of the collective bovarism mentality of the masses, structural inequality, falling educational standard, creeping political messianism, bad and questionable divestiture programs, unemployment, bureaucracy, total disregard for corporate social responsibility, mass illiteracy, and dysphemistic politics, all of which problematize the developmental concerns of Ghana and Africa. Even party politics democracy and meritocracy have become useful tools in the hands of politicians for amassing illegal wealth. Again party politics democracy in Ghana is gradually taking on the political color of humanophobia, a parody of democracy! In fact the word “democracy” has become the new buzzword for kleptomaniac oligarchy and gross political incompetence.
For instance, are stronger institutions and patriotism not better than social investment in transcendental justice?
It is public knowledge that party politics democracy is partially responsible for fueling the drug trade in West Africa, thus shifting the center of the trade from the Americas to Africa. The drug trade therefore provides easy, reliable source of funding for electioneering campaigns, for buying votes, and buying off members of electoral commission, among others.
These and those afore-referenced national problems are the kinds of questions that need urgent resolution, not the originative causation of the one-party ideology which is putatively ascribed to Nkrumah and as well, its distribution across Africa via Nkrumah’s leadership, since no intelligent methodological inquest has easy answers to the latter two questions.
No wonder Niccolo Machiavelli’s political realism proved useful in his establishing dictatorship as a constitutional province of republicanism in one sense and in another sense, as a tyrannical system of government. As a matter of fact, our immediate concern is to attempt a methodical unraveling of the confused conundrums surrounding the question of the originative causation of the one-party ideology across Africa! The task at hand is to address our varied investigational concerns to a comparative methodological location where the systemic framology of empirical historicism leads to a satisfying destination of theoretical or speculative coherence.
The preceding acknowledgement also connotes a methodological quest for the originative causation of the one-party ideology particularly in the former French African colonies in Africa, which, as a matter of historicist urgency, should also be inclusive of the larger questions of historical psychology in respect of all the propositions we have raised herein, and then elsewhere.
Once that is done we can reliably explain why Emperor Bokassa, for instance, idolized and apotheosized Napoleon Bonaparte, not Winston Churchill or Queen Victoria, as part of the veritable claims of historicist evidentiation. One does not have to acquire formal acquaintance with rocket science to understand the historical psychology behind Emperor Bokassa and his choice of Napoleon Bonaparte as a model and as a spatial mentor. Cultural diffusion is one reason. The Central African Republic where Emperor Bokassa ruled as president was a French colony. The French taught Africans in their African colonies that, like the French and other Europeans, they too were descendants of the Gauls!
On the other hand looking at the former colonies of Britain, for instance, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe has invoked the seemingly endless tenure of the de facto headship of the Queen of England, Elizabeth the Second, to justify his continued stay in office. Whether Britain’s constitutional monarchy is ceremonial or not is irrelevant to the debate. The notion that the Queen of England is merely ceremonial is only true to the extent that she is not the Prime Minister. She signs bill(s) passed by both Houses of Parliament into law, otherwise called a royal assent. The bill(s) became an Act of Parliament after it has received royal assent. The monarchy also exists on the largesse of the public purse. The question is: Why should the British people spend so much on the monarchy to the extent that some have called for its abolishment? Further, the Prime Minister has to seek the Queen’s formal consent on many pressing issues related to the sovereignty of the UK.
In this case Britain’s constitutional monarchy, represented by the Queen of England, plays an important function in the European society. Thus Mugabe may have some point there! Finally, Cheikh Anta Diop demonstrated the existence of constitutional monarchies in Africa some thousand years before the first of its kind appeared in Europe (see the book “Pre-colonial Black Africa: A Study of the Political and Social Systems of Europe and Black Africa, From Antiquity to the Formation of Modern States”). The British went about destroying, transforming, subverting, or suppressing one constitutional monarchy after another across Africa, while preserving hers as well as showcasing it as the pride of English or European cultural history to the rest of the world. The height of Orwellian hypocrisy!
That said, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, a former British colony, is another matter. There is some evidence that Uganda's Yoweri Museveni may have seen in Adolf Hitler a leadership model to suit his idiosyncratic political personality, as the following attribution eloquently confirms: "AS HITLER DID TO BRING GERMANY TOGETHER, WE SHOULD ALSO DO IT HERE. HITLER WAS A SMART GUY, BUT HE WENT A BIT TOO FAR FOR WANTING TO CONQUER THE WORLD” (see The Shariat, Vol. 2, No. 15, April 15-21; also see Milton Allimadi's "Rep. Rangel Deplores Gen. Museveni's Past 'Hateful' Statements On Slavery, Hitler, and LGBTS," Black Star News, Aug.1, 2014). Where could Museveni, a darling of the West, have picked his one-party ideology from? Then Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Uganda’s neighbor, looks to Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore for his one-party ideology!
Significantly, related to Yoweri Museveni and his admiration for Adolf Hitler is the work of Dr. Ben Kiernan, a Yale University-based genocide scholar, who in his book, "Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur," writes of the discovery of certain Nazi documents in the possession of some of the members in the leadership of Hutu militants at the height of the Rwandan Genocide. Those documents dealt with Nazi scientific racism, eugenics, and other diabolical subject matters! The logical corollary of that discovery points to Hutu militants' resorting to the genocidal tendencies of the Nazis to exterminate Tutsis and moderate Hutus! Was it not the late Dr. Anthony C. Sutton who revealed the financial and technological connections between Wall Street and the American Government on the one hand and the rise of Nazism in Germany on the other hand?
The more important question is: Where exactly do Nkrumah and the various competing, interlocking theories on the originative causation of the one-party ideology fit in this byzantine narrative?
We shall conclude this essay with Soyinka, a scholar, writer, social theorist, and philosopher with a poignant historicist take on the relevance of the corrective axiology of history to contemporary challenges. He writes: “THE INTERNAL CRIMINALITY OF THE PAST HAS TRANSLATED INTO THE IMPUNITY OF THE PRESENT. AS LONG AS THAT PAST IS FICTIONALIZED OR DENIED, AFRICA IS DOOMED TO THE CURSE OF REPETITION, ALBEIT IN DISGUISED, EVEN REFINED FORMS. “
We shall return…
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Francis Kwarteng and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana.