Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia is wrong in his claim that the ideological parent of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ghana’s current main opposition party, is the National Liberation Movement (See “NPP Introduced School Fees into Ghana – Asiedu-Nketia” TV3Network.com 3/1/14).
The real ideological parent of the NPP, and the so-called National Democratic Congress (NDC) as well, is the Grant- and Danquah-led United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC). The National Liberation Movement (NLM), largely formed and originally heavily concentrated in the Asante and Brong-Ahafo regions, was a protest movement that sought to diffuse the fast-creeping dictatorial powers of the Nkrumah-led Convention People’s Party after 1954, when Dr. J. B. Danquah, having lost his Legislative Assembly seat to his own nephew, Mr. Aaron Ofori-Atta, officially departed the transitional political scene of the Gold Coast.
Danquah was thus not a member of the NLM. It would fall to Dr. K. A. Busia to bring the NLM into the ideological ambit of the United Party (UP), a much larger multiethnic agglomeration of hitherto splinter ethnic-based parties vehemently opposed to the one-party ideology of the CPP, as well as the latter’s adamant advocacy of a unitary system of governance. The UP was thus, in essence, forced into formidable existence by then-Prime Minister Nkrumah’s tactical banning of all “ethnic- and regional-based political parties.”
Dr. Danquah would neither be a bona fide member of the NLM nor the Busia-led Ghana Congress Party (GCP). He would, however, emerge from official retirement in 1960 to lead the United Party, as the latter’s Presidential Candidate, against the fast-surging “constitutional dictatorship” of the then-Prime Minister Nkrumah. But this was wholly because Dr. Busia had been stampeded into exile by Mr. Nkrumah, ahead of the 1960 presidential election, which Nkrumah hoped to use to cement his power and effectively abrogate his hitherto periodic and imperative prime-ministerial reporting – or accountability – to Ghana’s parliament.
Nkrumah, after the heavily rigged 1960 election, in which only about 43-percent of eligible Ghanaian voters exercised their franchise (see Dennis Austin’s Politics in Ghana: 1946-1960), would declare himself “Executive President” and proceed to exercise the peremptory powers of a veritable dictator. The National Liberation Council (NLC) junta that ousted the Nkrumah-led CPP in 1966 had absolutely no formal ideological affinity with either the UGCC, NLM, GCP or, of course, the UP. Most of the NLC membership, at best, harbored ideological sympathies for the UP; for the NLC was primarily a popular military junta strikingly reflective of the sentiments of a repesentative cross-section of Ghanaian citizens vehemently opposed to Nkrumah’s one-party dictatorship.
That the 1966 coup detat was wholeheartedly endorsed by such prominent Nkrumah appointees as Dr. Quayson-Sackey and Mr. Krobo Edusei, ought to open the eyes of those Nkrumah fanatics who would rather mindlessly paper over the wanton atrocities and the veritable reign-of-terror that indisputably inspired Nkrumah’s overthrow. Indeed, if the Kotoka-led NLC junta reintroduced user fees into Ghana’s educational system, it definitely was because by 1961, even as then-Bank of Ghana governor Mr. Frimpong-Ansah (later Dr. Frimpong-Ansah) was subsequently to dispassionately observe, President Nkrumah had effectively bankrupted the country’s economy.
Which was why the proverbial “African Show Boy’ introduced an austere fiscal regime called “Tighten Your Belt,” in which all government-employed workers had to forcibly agree to have the CPP government deduct at least 5-percent of their paychecks in support of Nkrumah’s obstreperous administrative profligacy.
The idea of a fee-free educational system in Ghana first appears in the “Working Papers” of the Danquah-led Gold Coast Youth Conference (GCYC), founded in 1929, when Nkrumah was barely 20 years old; and it was propounded by Mr. William (Paa Willie) Ofori-Atta between the late 1930s and early 1940s, about the same time that Mr. Ofori-Atta became headmaster of the Abuakwa State College (ABUSCO). Nkrumah’s sole and primary connection with the fee-free educational policy occurs after his breakaway from the United Gold Coast Convention in 1949 when, according to Mr. George “Paa” Grant (See Dennis Austin), as UGCC General-Secretary, Nkrumah literally absconded with the UGCC “Working Papers” which contained Paa Willie’s fee-free educational policy statement. Thus Nkrumah clearly plagiarized his fee-free educational policy from Mr. William Ofori-Atta.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
March 1, 2014
E-mail: [email protected]