ANALYSIS: Sekou Nkrumah and the Ghanaian jinx – By Dr Michael J.K. Bokor

The writer, Dr Michael J.K. Bokor
When a Ghanaian politician behaves like a butterfly and flits about as the pendulum swings, he makes me laugh out loud. Carpet crossing is usually motivated by something in the politician’s character.

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I am reminded of a former classmate of mine at the completion of the “O’ level programme many years ago who went for his testimonial and had the following from the Assistant Headmaster:

“An incorrigible character. His employer may employ him at his own risk for further study of his character before giving him a permanent employment.”

I don’t know what became of him after that. Some people doing politics in Ghana deserve a testimonial of that sort. One of them is Sekou Nkrumah who has just announced his marriage of (in)convenience with the NPP with the sole aim of propagating anything he can to discredit President Mills and work for his defeat at Election 2012.

Sekou’s action would have been neglected as one of those inconsequential moments of coat turning but for the attention he drew to it as an attempt to woo floating voters for Akufo-Addo. And for his statement that his joining the NPP would help him propagate a strong message for Ghanaians to vote down President Mills. He has chosen a heavy responsibility for himself and I hope he performs it unscathed.

Then, as is characteristic of political vagrants like him, he underscored his rationale for turning against President Mills, which exposes him as not only politically immature but also a danger to any political family he enters.

Sekou has said that he chose to work against President Mills for him to be defeated so that he would rejoin the NDC and work for its rebuilding thereafter. Does this attitude portray a politically stable mind? Or someone worth having in one’s political fold?

Unarguably, Sekou’s political life has had such precipitous twists and turns as to make it ludicrously hollow and unappealing to any serious-minded person. We can say that his political life has crumbled at this stage as a result his own miscalculations, which renders him more than vulnerable in the rough waters of Ghanaian politics.

Over the years, he hasn’t been able to establish any foothold in any of the political cultures known to us in Ghana. At best, he is known for flirting with all—beginning from his own father’s CPP, moving on to the NDC, only to jump ship and now settle with the NPP with only one motivation—to work against President Mills. What will become of him if President Mills leaves the scene?

Cheap politics on display!!

The intricacies of this flirtation are obvious as they portray Sekou’s sense of purposelessness in national politics. A rolling stone gathering no moss in Ghanaian politics won’t attract any vote for anybody. He is a liability, if the NPP activists care to know. Or unless they are optimistic that his vote will be the +1 vote that their Akufo-Addo will need to pass the 50% benchmark in order to win the elections; or that it will elude President Mills and, therefore, cause his defeat.

We need not examine the implications of this flirtation by Sekou; but we can conveniently opine that such flitting about doesn’t make him any credible material but only as a fine weather friend!!

In political terms, such a conduct reflects instability and insecurity. Loyalty to one’s political cause is an obvious requirement for a successful political career, which Sekou lacks. Unlike the electorate who may be swayed by issues other than political loyalty, no serious-minded politician will jump from one political camp to the other as the wind blows.

Loyalty to a political party and its cause is determined by ideology, not emotions. It is a matter of the head, not the heart. And ideologies don’t just change overnight nor will the individual’s loyalty to the party’s cause. The ideology undergirds the individual’s allegiance and must be thoroughly appreciated as such. Loyalty is evoked by thorough self-examination, a clean conscience, and firm understanding of issues. It is not based on superficiality and lack of in-depth analysis of the party’s cause.

That is why activists who declare their support for a particular political party are expected to know the ideology of the party and subscribe to it first before even beginning to propagate messages seeking goodwill for the party. It is only then that their political aspirations can be circumscribed within that ideological framework and doggedly pursued. Anything short of that exposes the activists’ loyalty to question. Political parties survive on their followers’ loyalty.

No sane person will identify with a political party whose ideology is at variance with his/her personal worldviews and aspirations. The individual is expected to conform to the party’s ideological imperatives to be able to function productively. In effect, there should be no conflict between the personal political aspirations and the party’s ideology. It is the ideology that shapes behaviour and defines the party’s manifesto.

In Sekou’s case, what is his personal worldview and political aspirations? How do those worldviews and aspirations fit into the ideologies of the political parties that he has so far joined and deserted? Nothing but a chameleonic posture, which makes him a laughing stock—and gives a clear hint of why he is likely to rush out of the NPP in the future.

Let’s see him right from where he began his political career in Ghana, within the ranks of the CPP. We know the ideologies of the CPP (socialist-oriented), the NDC (social democracy), and the NPP (so-called liberal democracy that translates into property-grabbing), which are diametrically opposed to each other. The animosity that has characterized the relationship between the CPP and the “Mate Me Ho” political culture (whose product is today’s NPP), for instance, is caused by sharp and irreconcilable ideological differences and conflicting strategies for governance, which eliminates any criss-crossing of the political carpet by activists of either party.

Indeed, no genuine follower of the Nkrumahist cause (let alone Nkrumah’s child) will betray that cause by jumping onto the “Mate Me Ho” bandwaggon just because he/she wants to use that platform to undercut an incumbent President’s administration. The “Mate Me Ho” followers don’t do so. Why?

Throughout the many years after Nkrumah’s overthrow and demise—events masterminded by his arch-enemies in the “Mate Me Ho” fold—no genuine Nkrumahist has turned coat in favour of the anti-Nkrumahist forces. The examples set by Dr. P.K. Nduom and Freddie Blay, who put their personal quests above the broader-level Nkrumahist calling and agenda that they claimed to uphold, can be better understood in the context of the credibility problems that they’ve been grappling with ever since they sold their birthright to Kufuor’s NPP government. They have no credibility for any CPP calling.

Such has Sekou become too. Having failed to work with his own sister to rebuild his father’s legacy and having flopped within the ranks of the NDC, he must as well resign himself to a sad fate; hence, his mortal decision to dine and wine with his father’s nemesis. A lone calf in the den of famished desert wolves.

His joining the NPP has no serious cost to the NDC’s cause. The new wad of straw that he has found to hang on to won’t save him from being bruised further by the turbulence of Ghanaian politics. I have said it before and will repeat it here that Sekou doesn’t know anything about Ghanaian politics nor does he have any iota of credibility to draw any voter to the cause that he may be fighting.

I am yet to be told that he made any significant contribution to the NDC’s campaign efforts to win votes at the 2008 elections. Or that he won votes for the party because of his singular attraction as a politician. He doesn’t have any constituency in the country from which to generate support for anybody. He is a straw man in Ghanaian politics. To all intents and purposes, he will be best remembered for the damaging utterances he made against the NPP which, I hope, he will retract now that he has found that political camp congenial for his anti-Mills propaganda.

I am glad he has recognized the enormity of the challenges facing the NPP at Election 2012 and urged the party’s leaders to ramp up their campaign efforts if they want to defeat the NDC—which should tell every serious political observer that the government hasn’t lost grounds or favour with the electorate, contrary to its opponents’ verdict.

In all seriousness, I can conveniently conclude that Sekou has no scruples to succeed as a politician. While glibly accusing President Mills of failing to govern as he would expect, he hasn’t paused a second to consider his own failures as an administrator. When appointed to the National Youth Council to ensure efficiency and turn that institution into a viable one for the benefit of the youth of the country, what could he do? What significant impact can Sekou claim to have made on that institution? NOTHING to write home about.

So, if he couldn’t manage that small sector of national life, what evidence does he have to persuade anybody that he has contributed anything worthwhile toward national development? Or is he saying that his inability to function there was caused by President Mills’ incompetence?

I have said it before and will repeat it that those who think and behave like Sekou pose very serious challenges for our country. Like it or not, they give a very bad name to national politics, especially if they create the impression that nation building is an individual’s affair. It is a collective effort that we must all make. Once the administrative machinery is in place, all those given responsibilities have to play their part; but unfortunately for us in Ghana, if anything goes wrong, the blame must heaped on the President’s head.

Without any doubt at all in my mind, this attitude has been Ghana’s bane over the years and will continue to be so for as long as room exists for it. Let President Mills lose the elections for Akufo-Addo to take his place. This very negative attitude will bring him down too. That’s the Ghanaian jinx!!

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