Anyway, about the only issue on which I beg to vehemently disagree with the distinguished Liberty Lecturer, is Mr. Kufuor’s apparently insistent and persistent tendency of envisaging Dr. J. B. Danquah in terms of an ordinary time-bound Ghanaian citizen of yesteryear. This streak of “ancestral irreverence,” for want of a milder terminology, appears to be curiously unique among the ranks of Ghanaian leaders professing ideological affinity with the Danquah–Busia–Dombo school of seminal postcolonial Ghanaian democrats. One, for instance, hardly hears of any staunch and prominent Nkrumaist referring to his/her patriarch as “the late President Nkrumah.”
The fact of the matter is that distinguished Ghanaians like Dr. Danquah – the putative Doyen of Modern Ghanaian Politics – and the rest of the legendary Big Six, among a host of other equally distinguished citizens, of course – are “Icons” and icons, like the “Saints” of the Roman Catholic Church (of which the former president is a bona fide member),are unreservedly presumed to have transcended their mortality by virtue – or dint – of their phenomenal achievements. In much the same way, one rarely hears of any well-cultivated American citizen speak of “the late President George Washington” or even “the late Mr. Benjamin Franklin.”
I raise this otherwise benign issue because for quite a while, I have been gravely perturbed by the apparent lack of fervor with which some of the leading members of the democratic wing of the Ghanaian political establishment envisage the putative Doyen of Gold Coast and modern Ghanaian politics. I am not hereby, in any way, attempting to promote the sort of pathological personality cult minted about the image of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah by his supplicants. Neither am I, by any stretch of the imagination, impugning the former president’s credibility on the same subject, fully recognizing his laudable gesture of imprinting the images of the legendary Big Six on our national monetary currency, the Cedi.
Anyway, on a less personal note, perhaps, the most effective aspect of President Kufuor’s Liberty Speech bordered on his poignant riposte to those cynics – largely aficionados of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) – who insist on “bastardizing” Danquah’s all-too-progressive neoliberal concept of the development of Ghana along the salutary contours of a “property-owning democracy.” To this effect, President Kufuor acutely observed: “Ladies and Gentlemen, some have tried to bastardize the core philosophy of the NPP [viz.]: ‘Building a property-owning democracy.’ Ladies and Gentlemen, I was in China last month, and even in China, home-ownership is being promoted as more and more Chinese people are being pulled out of poverty into the growing middle-class.”
At this juncture, the studious observer of the “Judgment-Debt” economic-policy agenda of the Mahama–Arthur government of the National Democratic Congress, could not help but be at once flabbergasted and peeved by such abject national contretemps, especially in view of the fact that the NDC has also been obsessively touting the remarkable Chinese presence in the country as a boon to Ghana’s economic development. Ironically, as Mr. Kufuor also highlighted in his Liberty Lecture, “China, since embracing the concept of capitalism, has unleashed the energies of her billion people and taken over 500 million out of poverty.There are huge cities that have been transformed from slums [into centerpieces of tourist attraction] because of the determination of its government.”
What is tragic here is that even as key NDC operatives involve the country in contractual scams that enable a handful of these rascals to line their pockets with illegal commissions, the party continues to boldly and shamelessly tout effete socialist tenets that are no longer pursued by such giant proto-socialist and communist polities as Russia and China. It is, however, doubtful that the creatively stunted and intellectually challenged leadership of the NDC is likely to recover from its flirtatious daze with such effete ideological thought. And the latter problem, of course, is also the most significant challenge confronting the largely unsuspecting Ghanaian voter in the lead-up to Election 2012.
Mr. Kufuor minces no words in letting on to the Ghanaian voter that, really, there is only one intelligent choice of leadership going into Election 2012; and that leadership, of course, is none other than that which is affiliated with the main opposition New Patriotic Party. And regarding the latter’s incomparable ideological agenda and material achievements, Mr. Kufuor adumbrates: “The concept of a property-owning democracy is not elitist. It is about spreading wealth. It is about expanding and making more Ghanaians stakeholders in the wealth of the nation and giving every Ghanaian [a] decent shelter.”
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Wrting at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Ghanaian Politics Today” (Lulu.com, 2008). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of www.africanewsanalysis.com and www.africa-forum.net