Paa Kwesi, Stop this Moribund Politics of Nostalgia!
It is quite amazing how the privilege and benefit of higher education appear to have no productive impact on some of our leaders. The latest personality to exhibit such canker is the presidential candidate of the rump-Convention People's Party, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom. I thought his approximately six years of executive service under the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) would have, by now, enlightened the man, well enough, regarding the unassailable fact that Ghanaian politics is no longer dominated by the benighted personal cultism of the 1950s and early 1960s. And that, at long last, for good or ill, postcolonial Ghanaian political culture is well into the twenty-first century.
Perhaps, I ought to have heeded the adage which observes that: “One cannot teach an old horse new tricks.” And our logical contention here is that while, indeed, he may be the youngest among the major presidential contenders in Election 2008, nevertheless, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom is incorrigibly an “old horse.” For not only has the rump-CPP no coherent agenda for the country's development and prosperity in the twenty-first century, the screaming tragedy is that the man also continues to vacuously and wistfully rehash Nkrumah's abortive and infamous SEVEN-YEAR PLAN, a non-plan Soviet copycat and a veritable policy disaster which the Show Boy was never able to fully implement during the early 1960s largely because, unlike the far more economically articulate erstwhile USSR, Ghana neither possessed the necessary capital resources nor a viable industrial base upon which to vigorously pursue such a capital-intensive development plan.
Still, a significant reason for Nkrumah's epic failure to move Ghana's economic culture away from the neocolonialist monoculture of cocoa production and primitively extractive cultures of mining and lumbering, was primarily because the pathologically political extrovert would rather splurge with Ghana's meager financial resources in the patently quixotic promotion of his personal “lebensraum” agenda of Pan-Africanism, rather than heed the sound advice of the genius economist likes of Sir Arthur Lewis, an Afro-Caribbean Nobel Laureate in Economics, and our very own Mr. J. H. Mensah.
Nkrumah would not heed Mr. Mensah's sound economic counsel on the rather parochial grounds that the latter belonged to the Danquah-Busia ideological camp. And neither would the Show Boy listen to Professor Lewis, a University of Manchester and Princeton University economic giant, on the need for Ghana to concentrate its efforts on agricultural diversification and food self-sufficiency because, for “Africa's Man of Destiny,” erecting massive industrial landmarks (or physical structures) even when Ghana did not half-possess the technological and managerial capacity to husband such facilities constituted the quintessence of civilized development (see Fitch and Oppenheimer's Ghana: The End of an Illusion).
But what is even more rankling is that, so far, Dr. Nduom has not laid out any comprehensive contours regarding the purported SEVEN-YEAR PLAN that he intends to implement, in the highly unlikely scenario of him being accorded the presidential mandate by the Ghanaian electorate. In the gaping absence of the latter, the avid student of modern Ghanaian politics is left wondering whether the KEEA-MP ever advanced beyond the infantile and cultic credo of the Young Pioneer Movement of: “Nkrumah Never Dies!” It also begins to make quite a bit of sense that some prominent Ghanaian detractors of the man should begin wondering if, indeed, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, like his ideological mentor, is not merely sporting an honorary doctorate even while smugly pretending to have earned the same. This, of course, in no way implies that to be an effective president, or national chief executive, one, perforce, requires a doctoral degree.
It is also rather peevish for Dr. Nduom to be constantly harping on the fact that relatively speaking, the northern-half of the country is woefully underdeveloped, without also being honest and bold enough to tell potential Ghanaian voters that President Nkrumah and his so-called Convention People's Party had a whopping 15 years (1951-1966) to remarkably correct such pronounced socioeconomic and cultural disparity but, instead, preferred jet-hopping across the continent loudly, albeit woefully ineffectually, promoting Pan-Africanism.
Indeed, any Nkrumah fanatic who swears that given another decade the Show Boy would have lifted Ghana's developmental level to that of either Britain or the United States, the Show Boy's ironic models of civilized development, ought to be, literally, roasted alive and then placed on the cannibalistic menu (chart) of Dzelukope Jeremiah.
We also do not frankly expect Dr. Nduom to highlight the fact that, indeed, the acute and historically unprecedented socioeconomic crises of the 1980s and 1990s have far, far little or nothing to do with the massive deportations of Ghanaians, largely those then-resident in Nigeria, than Mr. Rawlings' own megalomaniacal, murderous and ill-advised experimentation with Cuban- and Libyan-style of socialism. And here must also be highlighted the fact that after having self-righteously overthrown the Limann government of the People's National Party (PNP), on the grounds that Dr. Limann was in cahoots with the IMF/World Bank to totally destroy Ghana's already-faltering economy, Dzelukope Jeremiah would proceed to insolently damn these “cormorant” Western financial institutions for nearly two years before regaining the use of his cranial faculties and then, he (Dzelukope Jeremiah, that is), in turn, going down on all fours, in order to criminally facilitate the total destruction of the Ghanaian economy, against the expert advice of such giant African economists as Nigeria's Dr. Adebayo Adedeji. The latter excruciating experiment has been euphemistically dubbed the “Structural Adjustment Program” (SAP).
Incidentally, the Ghanaian Secretary of Finance and Economic Planning who, for 13 years, cavalierly supervised the brutal economic sodomizing of his countrymen and women, was recently up and about claiming to be the best Ghanaian presidential material.
In the final analysis, Dr. Nduom must rest assured that Ghanaians have long moved past the facile foolery of the Cii-Pii-Pii days to be comfortably and gullibly regaled with tall tales about chimerical SEVEN-YEAR PLANS and pseudo-statal welfarism.
Indeed, this writer resided at Kwabenya, site of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), one of the most exclusive residential areas in which to live during the heady 1960s, and can truthfully and objectively report that even with a relatively piddling national population of just 7 or 8 million, Ghana's perennial and seasonal water crisis was pretty much the norm even under the Nkrumah government. And so one has to wonder exactly from whence Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom came by such nostalgic foolery of the “good, old Cii-Pii-Pii days.”
*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. He is the author of 13 books, including “Abe: Reflections on Love” (Atumpan Publications/lulu.com, 2008), his 10th and latest volume of poetry. E-mail: [email protected]
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