Is Sekou Nkrumah a straw man in Ghana politics?

By IndepthAfrica
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Dec 9th, 2011
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By flitting from one political camp to the other at the least prompting, Dr. Sekou Nkrumah isn’t doing anything good to shore up his political fortunes. He seems to be in deep trouble as he flirts with all the political families, which raises a fundamental question: What is his motivation for participating in Ghana politics?

I am tempted to ask this question after carefully analyzing his checkered political career so far to conclude that he has gradually reduced himself to a laughing stock and endangered his political career all too soon. Within the past five years alone, he has been to bed with the CPP and the NDC, and is now arm-in-arm with the NPP.

Is he really interested in succeeding in Ghana politics or is he just hell-bent on plowing the entire political field only to come up with straw? Indeed, Sekou Nkrumah has too many hot potatoes to handle already; and like a King Midas in reverse, whatever he touches won’t turn into gold!!

His current dalliance with the NPP is at issue here. He says he wants to work hard for Akufo-Addo to win the 2012 elections because he is interested in “change.” One wonders what constituency he has to do so or whether he will not be more of a liability than the asset that he considers himself. In this mood, he will expend all his energy only to realize his folly when it is too late to make amends. What must be motivating the son of the Great Osagyefo to rush into this unholy alliance with the very political camp that ditched his father?

Granted that he wasn’t of age when his father was at the helm of affairs—and the fact that he might not have directly participated in the politics of the time to prepare him for any task of sustaining his father’s image or defending his legacy—we may be tempted to pardon him. But looked at more closely, we may wonder whether he didn’t ever get to be told the story of his father’s political life or the stringent manner in which he worked to concretize his CPP as the most formidable political party. Or how he institutionalized the CPP as the only legitimate one for the one-party state that he had converted Ghana into with himself as the country’s “Life President.”

Of course, Sekou is free to choose which political ally to be in bed with; but from what he has given us so far to know about him, he is worse than a fair weather political friend who vacillates between one political culture and the other, provided it will give him the chance to live his chameleonic life.

When he stepped onto the political landscape a few years ago, he was with the CPP; and many people thought that he had chosen the right bearing for his political career. But it didn’t take long for him to prove them wrong. He jumped ship and landed in bed with the NDC, which attracted diverse critical responses. Those who thought that his decision was politically unwise berated him; but he stuck to his gun, making his resolve known all over the place that he was a true NDC functionary.

We all saw how his choice drew him close to the corridors of power and where he ended up, being the head of the National Youth Council, where he did his own thing until he discredited President Mills and lost that job. He had overshot his mouth and couldn’t anymore be part of the government machinery that he had gone out of his way to discredit.

Being divested of this appointment seemed to have sent him into a spiral. If the initial offence for which he was punished is anything to consider at all, we may say that what Sekou has been doing ever since he lost favour with the Mills government doesn’t only reveal his anti-NDC sentiments but it also portrays his inner political underpinnings.

He has continued to criticize the NDC government but given a clear indication that he is politically immature. Or that he just doesn’t have a permanent political home in Ghana politics. His statement that he supports the NPP’s Akufo-Addo and will do all he can to ensure his victory at the 2012 polls—which should put the NPP into office—bares it all.

Certainly, Sekou has shifted gear and is now in the mood to work for the NPP. His stance may surprise many Nkrumahists and political observers who know the NPP as an offshoot of the “Mate Me Ho’ political culture that qualifies as Nkrumah’s nemesis. The Mike Ocquayes may vehemently deny long-held public opinions that the “Mate Me Ho” (United Party) elements were behind the anti-Nkrumah campaigns, the bomb-throwing incidents at Kulungugu and the Accra Sports Stadium, and many other acts designed to cause panic and fear among the public.

Some may also absolve them of complicity in the overthrow and consequent denigration of Nkrumah; but the truth remains that those elements gave Nkrumah a bad name and worked hard for him to be hanged. They are still staunchly against anything Nkrumah. These are the elements that Sekou is in bed with today.

Whether his shift is meant to spite the NDC doesn’t really bother me. After all, he has every right to choose where his bread is buttered and who does the buttering. The problem for him, though, is that this chameleonic behaviour in politics portrays him in a negative light. He seems to be losing credibility every passing day instead of gaining any goodwill to suggest that he can climb the political ladder to either reinforce his father’s image as one of the foremost leaders of this country or wash everything away at the snap of a finger. The latter seems to be the outcome of his vacillation.

It seems his public utterances against his sister, Samia Nkrumah, have also compounded his credibility problem and will continue to detract from his worth until something positive comes from him to change the situation. We remember how he derided Samia for attempting to contest the Jomoro Parliamentary seat. Against all odds, she won.

Then, when she chose to contest the Chairmanship of the CPP, he took her on again only to be proved wrong. Now, he seems to be taking an unnecessary issue with her (calling her politically immature for allowing herself to be influenced by certain CPP members interested in bearing the party’s flag at the 2012 elections). Sekou’s vicious verbal attacks on Samia add to the lot to paint him as politically unstable. Or insecure?

As of now, he doesn’t seem to be treading cautiously at all. He hasn’t in any way done anything to show that he even knows what his father’s legacy is, let alone how to do anything to add to it. All he has done so far has whittled away anything that one might assume the Great Osagyefo had planted in him. Sekou isn’t the kind of heir that Nkrumah himself will be proud of, even as he turns in his grave at what qualifies as his son’s deadly betrayal.

If Sekou does a serious analysis of events, he will realize that the Akufo-Addo that he is now lending his support to has remained a stable member of the Danquah-Busia political family ever since he knew what politics meant. He is credited with making lasting contributions to sustaining the “Mate Me Ho’ spirit and hasn’t given any slight cause to be suspected of betraying that tradition. In all that he is vigorously fighting to become, his main objective is to build on his father’s legacy and to ensure that the Danquah-Busia political culture remains a force to reckon with in Ghana politics.

Akufo-Addo is seeking to be what his father wasn’t. He wants to be an Executive President (with full powers) unlike his father (Edward Akufo-Addo) who rose from his law practice to become Ghana’s titular President (mostly active only on ceremonial occasions). Even if he didn’t get the opportunity to complete that term as a political scarecrow in respectable circumstances, he did make a mark and will not be erased from the annals of Ghana’s history. I can see what Akufo-Addo’s motivation is in this sense, even though he may have his own brand of solutions to attempt addressing the hydra-headed problems that have kept Ghanaians living in narrow circumstances over the years if he ever wins the elections.

Now that Sekou has matured into a bête noire, where next will he go if his unholy alliance with the NPP turns sour? Knowing him for what he is, I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t take long for him to flip and jump ship again for another political family. The butterfly in him is eager to continue flitting about until it loses its wings and becomes immobilized by ill-considered manouevres in the political environment. Certainly, Sekou has become a pitiable political vagrant—a hobo, and a hoodoo!!

By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

E-mail: mjbokor@yahoo.com

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