I read Nii Moi Thompson’s satirical parody of Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko’s lecture to students and professors at the University of Pennsylvania (U-Penn) with great amusement, if only because the quite well-known Nkrumacrat desperately, albeit woefully ineffectually, attempts to mischievously muff the reality of what it meant to live under Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP) regime with cheap and vacuous statistics about how the Show Boy assumed the reins of governance in modern Ghana (See “What Gabby Did Not Say (About Nkrumah) in America” Ghanaweb.com 9/27/10).
What is predictably intriguing about Dr. Thompson’s rejoinder is its gapingly deliberate failure to highlight the fact that even Dr. Alex Quayson-Sackey, Nkrumah’s Oxbridge-educated chief diplomat, heartily and resoundingly endorsed the 1966 coup-d’état that sent his boss packing into a sheepish Guinean exile. Nkrumah would shortly be named co-president of Guinea by Mr. Ahmed Sekou Toure. Those who speculate about the purported tragedy of Nkrumah’s “premature overthrow” may do well to sober themselves up by looking at the grim economic basket case that is Guinea today.
Nonetheless, what we are primarily concerned with here is what Dr. Quayson-Sackey, dispatched from Hanoi by his boss to stop the NLC representatives from being seated at a summit of the erstwhile Organization of African Unity (OAU), now re-designated as the African Union (AU), said about the megalomaniacal African Show Boy. First of all, rather than head for the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, where the summit was taking place and as sternly instructed by the now proverbially naked king of Ghana, Dr. Quayson-Sackey would, instead, order the pilot to fly to and land in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, where he would immediately pledge common cause with the leaders of the National Liberation Council. He would also denounce Nkrumah as a delirious dictator who had long outlived both his usefulness and welcome among the very people who had originally afforded him his electoral but whom he had callously and unpardonably shortchanged and taken for granted (See Fitch and Oppenheimer’s Ghana: End of an Illusion).
We must also observe here for the benefit of those who were either too young to remember or not yet born that more people than had ever flocked to the polling booths to vote for him, now flooded the streets of almost every Ghanaian town and village, except perhaps Nkrumah’s hometown of Nzema-Nkroful, to vehemently denounce and celebrate the dictator’s overthrow. It is, indeed, these two landmark events that the keen and avid student of postcolonial Ghanaian history had expected the critic to riposte. Instead, we have Nii Moi Thompson playing the sort of sophomoric statistical game that one only expects high school students to indulge.
Also, even though by 1954 Dr. J. B. Danquah was completely disengaged from active national politics, having been defeated at the polls by his own nephew and academic beneficiary, Mr. Aaron (Kofi Asante) Ofori-Atta – the critic, either out of plain ignorance or abject mischief does not reference this fact – Dr. Thompson has the Doyen of Gold Coast and Ghanaian politics running against Nkrumah for premiership and heavily losing in 1956.
Of course, once he so shamelessly exposes himself as a fanatical Nkrumacrat and a critic who has absolutely no respect for the factual context of statistics, it becomes all-too-logical for Dr. Thompson to ignore the glaring fact that in 1960, when the Show Boy effectively legitimized his megalomania in the so-called Republican Election, Dr. Danquah had run against President Nkrumah precisely and primarily because Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia, the opposition leader of the United Party (UP) in parliament had fled the country for personal safety in a Western-European exile which would take the renowned Oxbridge scholar and sociologist to the Netherlands and subsequently Great Britain.
In sum, Dr. Danquah had run against Mr. Nkrumah precisely because of the former’s adamant refusal to allow this proverbial schoolyard bully of a premier to run our beloved country as his personal property, rather than the constitutional democracy for which Mr. Nkrumah had been elected in 1956. It is also significant to point out here that the parliamentary opposition’s clamor for a federal system of governance was well in salutary anticipation of Nkrumah’s fast-creeping dictatorial tendencies, even as far back as 1949, when the Show Boy unilaterally declared himself Life-Chairman of his so-called Convention People’s Party.
It is also significant to further observe that in the run-up to the 1960 presidential election, as systematically and eloquently and authoritatively documented by Dennis Austin, the United Party and its presidential candidate by default were summarily prohibited from publicly campaigning by an executive decree/fiat. Thus for Dr. Danquah to have clinched a whopping 10-percent of the total legitimate ballots without access to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), and the perfectly legitimate use of UP-owned vehicles tells more than enough about the kind of Nkrumaist democratic culture which the likes of Messrs. Agyeman-Badu Akosa and Nii Moi Thompson would have their audiences believe.
Interestingly, 90-percent of Danquah’s 10-percent of the 1960 presidential election ballots came from the Volta Region. For such personal affront, at least that was exactly how he envisaged matters, the Show Boy would never forgive the citizens and inhabitants of Ghana’s ninth region.
It is also rather disingenuous for impenitent Nkrumacrats like Messrs. Nii Moi Thompson, Agyeman-Badu Akosa and Paa Kwesi Nduom, among a phalanx of others, to routinely trot out the rather rhetorically tired CIA angle to the 1966 putsch against the CPP without also boldly and courageously acknowledging that yes, indeed, Nkrumah was staunchly backed by the Russian KGB whose continental African headquarters was located in the Ghanaian capital of Accra; and that not only had Moscow used the Show Boy to, reportedly, oust Togo’s President Gilchrist Olympio, but even much more grievously, the Lenin Prize laureate was both widely known to have had a hand in Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa’s overthrow and assassination, and even had paid proxies harassing President Jomo Kenyatta, having also sneered at Mwalimu Nyerere for deftly heading off a coup attempt by the Tanzanian Armed Forces in 1964. Interestingly, in recent years, the 1964 mutiny has been likened to an industrial strike by soldiers seeking better service conditions.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author of 21 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005).
The opinions expressed here are the author`s and do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of AfricaNewsAnalysis