I don’t know why Mr. Sekou Nkrumah is so uptight about former President John Agyekum-Kufuor’s clearly incontrovertible assertion that President Kwame Nkrumah effectively extirpated – or violently uprooted – democracy in Ghana as we presently know it during the waning years of his reign, when the Egyptian-mothered younger Mr. Nkrumah also claims to unreservedly agree that his father was a human leader with his own fair share of human foibles or faults (See “Sekou to Kufuor: Nkrumah Best President Ever” Classfmonline.com / Modernghana.com 6/22/17).

 

Or is it because Mr. Sekou Nkrumah wants to be willy-nilly ceded the peremptory right to decide what specific aspects of the legion personal and political foibles of his definitely great and generally well-meaning but veritably dictatorial father may be discussed? Well, the younger Mr. Nkrumah needs to be told to the face that that right does not belong to either the children or the relatives of the globally immortalized leader alone. Rather, the right of any critic to call to account the generous shortcomings of President Nkrumah belongs to all citizens of Ghana who massively voted to elect Nkrumah as their leader, at one time, and then equally massively agitated to run the increasingly extortionate and tyrannical dictator out of town and country at another.

 

I really don’t want to get into the messy business of who qualifies to be described as “the greatest postcolonial Ghanaian leader,” but I am also loathe to the very notion of Mr. Sekou Nkrumah’s attempt to scandalously and farcically impose his self-appointed authority on the rest of us vis-à-vis the question of who best qualifies to criticize the late and former Ghanaian leader. Merely being the biologically scion or relative of Nkrumah is woefully inadequate. I have personally written and published more extensively, both positively and negatively, about President Nkrumah than can be said of Mr. Sekou Nkrumah. I have even dedicated a slim collection of essays and articles to our dear late leader.

 

Needless to say, one may not agree with former President John Agyekum-Kufuor who also, by the way, has his own fair share of personal and political foibles, but what cannot be facilely disputed is the fact that former President Agyekum-Kufuor is definitely far better positioned by age, experience and his own performance as Ghana’s former democratically elected leader, to talk about the performance and the caliber of Nkrumah’s leadership than the overwhelming majority of Ghanaian citizens with firsthand experience of the political tenure of President Nkrumah.

 

Mr. Agyekum-Kufuor is definitely more than better qualified than Mr. Sekou Nkrumah to discuss and define the achievements and political shortfalls of the late seminal Ghanaian leader. Personally, I think the greatest Ghanaian Head-of-State or President in the postcolonial era, to-date, is the brutally slain and thoroughly humiliated Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong. The latter’s Operation Feed Yourself (OFY) program has absolutely no equal, in terms of resonant success, in postcolonial Ghanaian history. As well, absolutely no other 6-year period in Ghana’s postcolonial history experienced more material development than the period between 1972 and 1978, when Acheampong literally ruled the roost.

 

For now, though, let me cede space to the Acheampong “specialists” and/or scholars to highlight some of the countless achievements of the Asante-Trabuom native. I shall pick up from here at another time in the near future. But let me also, nevertheless, quickly highlight the fact that Acheampong, who had even far less resources to govern with than the country’s first postcolonial leader, himself publicly claimed to be an unabashed Nkrumaist, although he had also been, paradoxically, a part of the Kotoka-led junta of the National Liberation Council (NLC) that overthrew the Nkrumah-led regime of the Convention People’s Party (CPP).

 

Acheampong would also – and I am deeply embarrassed to note this – quixotically attempt to return the long-deposed and forgotten dictator to the helm of our national affairs. What Mr. Sekou Nkrumah also ought to bear in mind is that all great leaders are invariably significantly and deeply flawed. And I see absolutely no reason why President Nkrumah has to be an exception to the norm, as the younger Mr. Nkrumah appears to be suggesting.

 

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr, Ph.D.

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York