It is often said that it is only a good and conscientious mother who can love an ugly child. The Akan also have a saying that nobody points to the direction of his/her father’s hometown with his or her left hand. Which is why it ought to come as absolutely no surprise that Ms. Samia Yaba Nkrumah would so mercilessly tear into former President John Agyekum-Kufuor for telling a visiting delegation from the International Democratic Union (IDU) that paid a courtesy call on him at his office, in Accra, that Nkrumah was the one who effectively destroyed democratic political culture, the way we presently know it and have it in Ghana (See “ ‘Nkrumah Was Not a Dictator’ – Samia” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/26/17).
If, indeed, as Ms. Nkrumah pontifically claims, former President Kwame Nkrumah was a man “who had his own fair share of shortcoming or human foibles, but lived and died for the emancipation of Africa, which is why he is still idolized today,” then why does the former rump-Convention People’s Party’s Member of Parliament from President Nkrumah’s home constituency of Jomorro, in the Western Region, seem so agitated by the fact that former President Agyekum-Kufuor who, unlike Ms. Samia Yaba Nkrumah, was old enough to have fully appreciated and perhaps even experienced some of the legion wanton atrocities of Samia’s father, would point out some of these very excesses and shortcomings which nearly every Nkrumacrat publicly acknowledges to have equally afflicted their political idol and hero?
Or is it just that these fanatical Nkrumacrats are of the morally unwarranted view that they are the only ones specially privileged to point out any of the shortcomings that are widely associated with the late Ghanaian leader? Generally, I tend to believe that those who would have President Nkrumah’s indisputably phenomenal achievements highlighted and heartily and unreservedly celebrated, ought to also be maturely prepared to accept the deep flaws that make the achievements of the man even more phenomenal and worth celebrating. Samia says that every one of the most deleterious decisions taken by her father was sanctioned by Ghana’s Parliament. Does it therefore mean that Ghana’s largely rubber-stamp Parliament under Nkrumah’s CPP regime (See Dennis Austin’s Politics in Ghana: 1946-60) was picture perfect?
I prefer to leave Ms. Nkrumah’s argument of whether, indeed, her father died for the total emancipation of the African continent, rather than his own increasing megalomania or morbid self-aggrandizement, or both, to the intellectual erudition and expertise of posterity, who would be better placed in time and with the requisite resources to be able to more objectively assess the achievements and shortcomings of the man. I also think and believe that whatever worthwhile things that Ms. Nkrumah claims to have learned from her father have yet to be put to constructive and meaningful use. The grim fact of the matter, though, is that time may not necessarily be on her side.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 27, 2017