Friday, 6 February 2015

Danquah Sought To Entrench Elite-Previlege

The Convention People's Party's Chairperson, Ms. Samia Yaabah Nkrumah, and Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, who is a leading member of the party, struck the right note, in responding to Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo's curious statement that Dr J. B. Danquah's family had forgiven Nkrumah for Danquah's death.

Actually, there is nothing from the past to do with Danquah, to forgive Nkrumah for. It is a fact that Nkrumah's political opponents wanted him dead - and conspired with foreign powers to bring that end about.

The facts-on-the-ground to do with the history of the struggle for our independence can never be conjured away by dissimulation and dissimulators. With respect, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo must not allow himself to be misled by his speechwriters.

It is unfortunate that someone once read a document containing the colonial authorities' longterm development plans for the Gold Coast colony, went on to ask a question based on it  during a sitting of the Gold Coast Legislative Council - and today it is fetched up by clever people as evidence that the idea for the Akosombo dam and hydroelectric power project were his.

Danquah's acolytes can ascribe every major development project in our country and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa - from the days of Adam and Eve to the day of his death - to Danquah.  It will still not make him a nationalist hero to the ordinary African on any street in the continent.

Declassified U.S. National Security Council documents from the Kennedy and Johnson eras, confirm that Danquah was part of the conspiracy to overthrow Nkrumah.

He collaborated with the CIA - and whiles he was in prison his family was supported by U.S. intelligence.

In the end it landed him in the Nsawam prison - and he was detained without trial under the laws of Ghana at the time.

As a result of the threat posed by global terrorism, even tougher laws have also been passed, and are in place today, in all the Western democracies - to enable them deal effectively with those involved in acts of terrorism.

And scores of suspected terrorists have been detained for different periods of time in a number of Western democracies  without trial. In view of the viciousness and barbarity shown in attacks by various terrorist groups around the world, who in their right mind today, would complain about such measures to protect nation-states and their citizenry?

And what  responsible leader will sit unconcerned and allow bombs to be exploded indiscriminately, by political opponents determined to assassinate him, and maim and kill hundreds of innocent citizens in the process?

That is precisely why President Kufuor warned former President Rawlings that he would "smell pepper" if he tried to overthrow his regime - and took the necessary  steps to ensure that Rawlings could not do so.

It is important that the followers of Nkrumah do not allow themselves to be sidetracked into unproductive arguments, by following the agenda set by the political progeny of Danquah - who are engaged in a revisionist enterprise that amounts to  intellectual dishonesty.

Nkrumahists should focus instead on regaining power to reunite the people of our divided country once again - and empower Ghanaian businesses to grow and prosper so that they can create jobs for the unemployed youth: as their government of national unity sets about transforming Ghana into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

Arguing with the political progeny of Danquah will not change anything about the past. It has become an unproductive activity. It will not change the outlook and worldview of any of Danquah's political progeny.

After all, much like Danquah in the past, today, some of his present-day followers still collaborate with organisations abroad that actively work with foreign intelligence agencies to execute their neocolonialist agenda in Africa - such as the UK's Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), for example.

The verdict of history is not obtained by putting a clever spin on past events  and resorting to subtle image-makeovers for the figures of history. The attempt to turn Danquah into what he was not will never succeed - and so will it be till the very end of time.

The many victims of the arbitrariness and capriciousness of the  traditional authorities during the reign of Nana Ofori Atta 1 - both Akyem and non-Akyem - certainly knew by their lived experiences in Akyem Abuakwa, who the real Dr. J. B. Danquah was. That is why Danquah never won any election he stood as a candidate in.

Not for the Kwawu shopkeeper victims of the traditional authorities' capriciousness, the protection of their basic human rights by the 'champion' of liberty - as they were thrown out of their rented shops and accommodation on the orders of the traditional authorities: just because they were not Akyems. Ordinary Akyems who tried to help them faced reprisals.

When the crunch came, the sense of initiative and entrepreneurial drive of the Kwawu shopkeepers - who were not lucky to be sufficiently wealthy to afford to build or buy their own shops, and therefore had to rent premises to carry on business - did not save them. It is instructive that wealthy Kwawus who owned their own shops and houses were spared. Naturally, their very deep pockets could be tapped to enable the traditional authorities to continue to live in the lap of luxury.

Neither did positive personal attributes save other hardworking individuals from the discriminatory policies against non-Akyems enforced by the 'champion' of democracy, human rights and private initiative, and his allies amongst the traditional authorities of Akyem Abuakwa.

Yet, those victims were all industrious individuals determined to improve their personal circumstamces and increase their net worth - which is what actually brought thousands of settler farmers from Krobo, Akwapim and other parts of the Gold Coast into Akyem Abuakwa. Would a true champion of personal freedom and private enterprise not have defended them?

But in the end, those positive attributes meant nothing to Danquah, the 'champion' of liberty and free enterprise, and his allies amongst the traditional authorities in Akyem Abuakwa at the time - who were determined to implement a policy  that amounted to the economic equivalent of ethnic-cleansing, regardless.

The reason was simple: Danquah & Co were looking far ahead to the day when their dream of a federation of pre-colonial tribal states in the newly-independent state that would replace the Gold Coast colony would finally come into being.

Why did the 'champion' of private enterprise and individual freedoms,  not prevent the enforcement of the traditional authorities' arbitrary edicts that sought to exploit harworking settler farmers in Akyem Abuakwa, for example? And there too, significantly, only the wealthiest non-Akyem farmers were spared - so their wealth could be tapped to support the traditional authorities' obscene  profligacy.

What will never change about the history of liberation struggles by subjugated peoples in our part of the world, is that there is not a single African nationalist hero who fought colonial occupation of his or her country, who  was also a tribal-supremacist.

Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere, Patrice Lumumba, Kenneth Kaunda and Nelson Mandela, all rose above petty tribalism. Danquah on the otherhand was an unapologetic Akyem tribal-supremacist. His actions and utterances proved it.

Neither is there a single African nationalist hero, who sought to entrench elite-privilege - by opposing the adoption of universal adult suffrage for elections to select the people's legislative representatives.

During the fight for independence Danquah wanted the vote extended to only property owners and those who earned a wage.

That is what the phrase "property-owning democracy", which was bandied about at the time by reactionary forces, actually connoted.

Yet even that hackneyed phrase too has been through the hands of today's cynical spin-doctors and been given the "special-toli- treatment" by image-makeover specialists - and it is now held up by Danquah's acolytes as an example of his democratic credentials.

Danquah was no nationalist hero. Yes, he was a brilliant scholar and had an extraordinary intellect - but he was no nationalist hero. Freedom for the masses was not his priority.

The accolade "nationalist hero" is reserved in the Pantheon of great leaders of humankind strictly for those who fight for freedom on behalf  of and for subjugated peoples.

Throughout the struggle for independence,  Dr.J. B. Danquah & Co sought to entrench elite-privilege for the pre-colonial ruling elites  - freedom for the masses was not a preoccupation for the Gold Coast's elite.

That  is why Danquah and his allies wanted any newly-independent successor-state to the Gold Coast colony to be a federation of the pre-colonial tribal kingdoms.

Fighting for freedom for the masses, whom he was contemptuous of, in any case, was the last thing on the mind of a man, who glorified the pre-colonial system that enslaved many. Freedom for the masses  was not of the remotest bit of interest to him. Seeking and entrenching elite-privilege was always his priority.

In truth, the masses were mere cannon fodder - and Danquah & Co went through the motions of championing their cause.

As a demographic the masses were simply a means to an end: Putting in place a new system (no different from the one in place in the pre-colonial era), in  which a privileged few, who felt they had a divine right to rule their fellow humans, lorded it over the rest.

Ordinary people saw through that - and in election after election (in 1951, 1954 and 1956) rejected that reactionary and elitist vision of the newly-independent state that would be the successor-state to the Gold Coast colony, proferred by Danquah & Co.

Nothing has changed, it would appear. That elite  pet-project of dominating our country, and transferring its wealth into the hands of a powerful few with greedy ambitions, still continues to this day, alas.

That is why the greediest amongst Danquah's political progeny, are impatiently waiting in the shadows, ready to seize their moment in 2016 -  and take their turn in the ongoing brutal gang-rape of Mother Ghana. So like Danquah, his followers today, too, seek to entrench elite-privilege.


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