Busia Was Never A Democrat Nor Visionary Leader—Akosa

Late Prime Minister of Ghana, Prof Kofi Abrefa Busia was never a democrat, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, President of the Kwame Nkrumah Foundation has asserted in an interview with Bernard Nassara Saibu on Starr Today.

Prof Akosa’s comment follows a description of the Prime Minister of the second republic as a “democrat and visionary” leader by the main opposition New Patriotic Party’s General Secretary Kwabena Agyepong when he spoke to Kafui Dey on the Morning Starr on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 while remembering the 43rd anniversary of Busia’s overthrow by Colonel I K Acheampong in a military coup in 1972.

According to Agyepong, the ousting of Prof Busia was “totally unnecessary: we were in a democratic dispensation; everything was going on smoothly.

“He was not one to trample on the rights of Ghanaians. He was just being realistic with the strength of our currency…he felt that as a country we should be truthful about our economic circumstances, and he was taking pragmatic decisions and some didn’t like it and they felt that just devaluing the currency was reducing the purchasing power of the ordinary Ghanaian and the soldiers took advantage of it and launched a coup,” Agyepong said.

According to him: “It wasn’t a popular coup. There was no general outpouring into the streets to celebrate his overthrow. Anybody, who was in this country, will attest to that.”

Prof Busia spent only 27 months in Office as Prime Minister in Ghana’s second Republican dispensation under President Edward Akufo-Addo, father of the NPP’s current Flag-bearer Nana Akufo-Addo.

The country at the time adopted the Westminster system of governance of which Busia’s Progress Party (PP) – a progeny of the UP tradition, and forebear of the current Dankwa-Busia-Dombo tradition of the current NPP – had the majority in Parliament.

While in Office, Busia had half a million Nigerians deported – an action which will later be retaliated by Africa’s most populous country – and also had the local currency, Cedi, devalued by 44 percent in 1971. The Cedi devaluation move incurred the wrath of the Ghanaian public, and served as a crest of wave for the Military, led by Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, to ride on to oust the PP administration while Busia was in Britain for a medical check-up.

Prof Busia died from a heart attack in 1978. Eulogising him in his interview with Kafui Dey, Agyepong, a former Flag-bearer-Aspirant of the NPP said the Wenchi-born academic-turned-politician was a “true democrat” and a “true patriot” of Ghana.

“He was a man who was a visionary: I mean the things that he espoused have triumphed the world over – the values of democracy, the values of market forces, the values of individual liberties…”

In Agyepong’s view, “many years on…now the whole world, even China, look at Russia, have all begun to embrace policies that Prof Busia espoused… as the best for development of a country. So it just goes to confirm that if we had had the full complement of Busia’s terms of office…[Ghana would have benefitted]”.

In Prof Akosa’s contrary view, however, “history tells us that Busia as majority leader in Parliament decided to boycott parliament permanently. He left Ghana and sought European Government help to overthrow a democratically elected Government…that was the beginning of the destabilisation of a democratically elected Government. I don’t call such a person a democrat.”

“…If they were democrats, they never accepted that they had lost any of the elections. And all the mayhem that was perpetuated in this country in 1954, you will put it right at their doorsteps, and you call these people democrats? I don’t know.…Today people talk about Busia as a democrat, as a visionary? I’m sorry; I don’t believe there’s any truth in that at all.”

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