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Open letter to Brother Sekou Nkrumah – from Comrade Ade Sawyerr

By: Sawyerr, Ade, (2007-10-09) More from this columnist Open letter to Brother Sekou Nkrumah – from Comrade Ade Sawyerr
I was saddened to hear that you have left the CPP and joined the NDC. I have taken the trouble of writing to you openly because I read this publicly online and though I have not been able to check the accuracy of the report, I have not read a denial from you.
I hope that you take this public appeal to you in the spirit in which it is being written and that we may be able to arrive at a credible explanation of your decision, not that you owe me or anyone an explanation of your private political ambitions. I am also writing because I hope that I am able to appeal to you to come back home to the CPP since that would be the right thing to do for the sake of Ghana and Africa.
My plea is not just because you are the son of your father, because after all there are several of us who claim that we are also sons of your father; however, I hope that through this rational debate we may be able to inform readers of how we can continue to work to realise that legacy that is truly your father’s. I hope therefore that I do not cause any offence for the impertinent way in which I am disturbing your private but very public decision to move on to another party after your toils in the PCP and CP leading on the un-banning of the CPP and the adoption of the name by one of the many contenders without complete unity being achieved among all the factions.

The reports foretelling your departure did not quite explain all the reasons but highlighted that you felt that the vision of your father Osagyefo could best be carried out only by the NDC. What intrigued me is that another journalist colleague of yours was also reported as saying at a later point in time that he was joining the NPP because he felt that was the best place to carry out the vision for the nation of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, his mentor. So if I seek a public explanation it is only because I am quite confused and need to understand how the legacy of Nkrumah could be so diffused that every political tradition in Ghana can adopt it.

What was also interesting for me was that particular journalist was part of a discussion we had in the Coffee Bar sometime last year, a discussion that was moderated by two other guys who were involved in some peacekeeping mission. If you will recall, my late friend, the French Teacher drove us to continue the discussion at an open-air popular restaurant in Kanda, Tradervics. I have been wondering whether that discussion in the Coffee Bar was a step into the lion’s den of Ghanaian politics or whether it represented a rude awakening into the realpolitik of Ghana. Is everything that fluid in politics in Ghana? Do people shift from one tradition to another based on their real convictions? Or is the step up or down into a tradition based only on how attractive the party they represent are as we enter an election period?.

My understanding of politics is that attraction to a particular party is based on the convictions around what that party stands for and how it would use the philosophies and policies to transform the lives of the people. This is especially crucial and important in a developing country such as ours.

My understanding of politics in Ghana is that it is now composed of three traditions, the Danquah-Busia, the Rawlings and the Nkrumaist, traditions. The NPP represents the Danquah Busia tradition; the NDC the Rawlings tradition and the Nkrumaist tradition is represented by parties such as the CPP, the PNC and the GCPP.

The NPP tradition is a powerful and appealing one to all those who are privileged. It came out of a tradition of the common man knowing their place, and was championed by royalists, both Danquah and Busia being known as having royal connections. The tradition is made up of people who believe that as privileged people, they are the only ones who must rule the country. But they also believe that the wealth of the country must be in the hands of a few people who will in paternalistic way care for the rest of the country. They believe that the wealth of the country must be harnessed by them alone – there is no need to empower the people to contribute or participate in economic or social development. This tradition will seek the short term benefits of the market economy; where wealth is generated within the international world order is not a problem so long as they can borrow or receive grant aid to get enough goods and services for the country.

My opinion is that as a developing nation we are not yet ready for this type of development because it is this type of development that keeps us in perpetual hock to foreigners and does not allow the creative energies of Ghanaians to flow on the true path of equitable and principled development. But I also trust that you do not believe in the Danquah-Busia tradition which is an antithesis to all that Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah our father stood for. Unfortunately, this is the tradition that I am told that your good friend Egbert Fiabille has plumbed for and where he expects your father’s vision for the nation to be realised.

The NDC tradition on the other hand is a new hybrid of nationalists, left-wingers and military people in an unholy alliance that keeps peeling off from time to time. Initially, it was the student leaders who backed the 31st December coup supported by some politicians such as President Kufour of the Danquah Busia tradition. Some members of the then youth wing of the PNP felt that the PNP were not left-wing enough and therefore joined the promise of a socialist revolution right here in Africa, they were willing to collaborate with military people to take over the country. Some of these exuberant young men were purged when the PNDC realised that the reality of management of a country went beyond the rhetoric of leftist proclamations. The NDC lacklustre agenda was a mishmash of structural adjustments, attempts at privatisation, a supposed overhaul of the education system that lowered instead of increased standards and a failure to deal with issues of concern to the people of the country. There was no increase in food production, a worsening of the health care system and the destruction of the educational system.

Eventually, a structural adjustment had to be ameliorated with PAMSCAD. All in all the Rawlings tradition created a wave in Ghana and Africa, it promised a lot for the common man in the streets, it recognised the suffering of the people in Ghana in the dire need for the development of the country. However although the Rawlings tradition may have had the goodwill of the people in Ghana, it failed to deliver the Promised Land. Their policies were so tainted with dictates from international financial institutions that despite their credible attempts, they abdicated policy decisions to foreign agencies and all this for more aid so that they could remain in government.

Brother Sekou, by stating that you expect the NDC will continue the vision of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah of the CPP you are denying Rawlings his own tradition. Perhaps that may indeed be your plan but remember that those who have under-estimated Rawlings in the past have lived to rue that decision. More seriously though, if Danquah and Busia can have a tradition why do you want to deny Jerry Rawlings his tradition? Rawlings run this country for several years and assisted in our development. In my opinion, he was a good leader during his term of office; he led the PNDC that metamorphosed into the NDC; he built a credible team of good managers around him and he did the best for the country, but like followers of the Danquah Busia tradition, he lacked the vision that would have transformed the country. So if they can claim their own tradition why can Rawlings for the sheer length of time that he runs the country not claim his own tradition? He deserves one. So brother Sekou, the NDC, the Rawlings tradition and the NPP, the Danquah Busia tradition cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered to be continuing with the vision of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

The only party best placed to follow the vision of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah is the CPP, it is that party that can claim the Nkrumaist tradition and extend his vision for Ghana and Africa. If there were internal problems in the CPP, it does not mean that the vision has disappeared. There were problems in the old CPP, people like Ashie Nikoi and Dzenkle Dzewu, original founding members, left the party. Others like Joe Appiah and Victor Owusu joined the opposition NLM and Komla Gbedemah left but others such as Ako Adjei and Tawia Adamafio joined after initially hesitating to break away from the UGCC.

This did not dilute the vision of Nkrumah – the vision lived on. So you can only leave the CPP if you sincerely believe that the vision of Nkrumah is no longer relevant for our development in Ghana and Africa. What we need are, vibrant people to transform this vision into a relevant paradigm for the future development of our country. We need young men and women like you in the party who will fight for the heart and soul of the movement Brother Sekou, last year brought about a new development in the CPP.
Last year saw the beginning of various groupings who were fed up with what the NDC and NPP had done to our country over the past two and half decades and who were also disappointed that the collective CPP leadership had not been able to arrest the decline in the fortunes of the party after two election defeats and almost annihilation.

Different groups and movements decided that it was no longer useful to sit out and moan about the fortunes of the party since their silence made them culpable in the near demise of the party that once reigned supreme. What is most unfortunate is that just at the time that this resurgence is taking place, you, Brother Sekou who may represent the future of the party decide that your political ambition can best be achieved elsewhere.
So Brother Sekou I am appealing to you in front of the whole nation to come back and join us in this task of ensuring that our party becomes the party of preference for all Ghanaians so that together we can all work to realise the vision of your late father the Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah. The Danquah Busia tradition cannot deliver for Ghana; they have done their best and it is not good enough. Switching to the Rawlings tradition is not the best answer to our development and growth issues; they also gave it their best shot and it did not quite deliver.

Brother Sekou, if you want to change, if you want REAL change for Ghana and Africa, then I implore you to come back home because it is only the CPP that can build on the work of Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
If you do reply, I hope that these exchanges will provide us with an opportunity to discuss in more detail the vision of your father and the best approaches for realising this in the interest of our country Ghana and Africa. I await your response with genuine interest. Best regards Comrade Ade Sawyerr

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The Matters Arising blog is a collection of thought-provoking, thought-leadership pieces sprinkled with some blue-sky thinking on pertinent issues affecting African communities both in the diaspora and at home. It includes articles on culture, politics, social and economic advancement, diversity and inclusion, community cohesion topics. It is also a repository of the political history of Ghana, traditions of the Gadagme people of Ghana, and the Pan-African politics of Kwame Nkrumah. Read, enjoy, like, share, and join!


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