‘Debate on overthrow of Nkrumah truncated’

Politics of Thursday, 26 February 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Richard Quashigah

Contributions to a statement made by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta, Mr Richard Quarshigah, in Parliament yesterday to mark the 49th anniversary of the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah degenerated into accusations and counter -accusations compelling the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Ebo Barton-Odro, to truncate discussions on the issue.

The statement described Nkrumah as a liberator and the continent’s foremost Pan-Africanist and his achievements as unparallelled.

But contributions from both sides revealed sharp divisions on who Nkrumah was and what he stood for.

Some members of the Minority also deviated from the topic and launched attacks on the Majority. Even after the House had adjourned, members kept pointing accusing fingers at one another and calling one another names.

Protagonists

The MPs for Adansi Asokwa and Okere, Mr K.T. Hammond and Mr Dan Botwe, respectively, both from the Minority side, and Dr Hannah Bissiw from the Majority side were the protagonists.

Mr Joe Osei-Wusu (NPP, Bekwai), who “set the ball of the Minority rolling”, described Nkrumah as a man who introduced mediocrity into governance. He said Nkrumah appointed as ministers and district commissioners people who could not even write their names.

He said Nkrumah misused state power for his benefit and to the detriment of his opponents and added that by the time of his overthrow, Nkrumah had become a dysfunctional leader.

But the MP for Ablekuma South, Mr Fritz Baffuor, cautioned against unnecessary partisanship in discussing the issue and said there was the need to reflect on the life of Nkrumah, what he stood for and what he achieved.

Praise and condemnation

He then went ahead to praise Nkrumah. The Deputy Minority Leader, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, condemned the 1966 coup which overthrew the Nkrumah government but accused the Majority of inconsistency in its statements on coups d’etat. He said while the Majority condemned the 1966 coup, it celebrated the 1972 and 1981 coups, which respectively overthrew the Busia and the Limann governments.

He also referred to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as emerging out of a coup d’etat.

That statement drew the ire of members on the Majority side, resulting in interventions, accusations, catcalls and shouts across the divide.

Mr Barton-Odro found it difficult to control proceedings and as such was compelled to bring discussions on the matter to an abrupt end.

Even after public business had been brought to an end, there was still exchange of words, with some Majority members referring to members of the Minority as “CIA collaborators” among other tags.

Other contributors

A few members of the Minority, notably Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP, Nsawam Adoagyiri), however, referred to Nkrumah as a man who blazed the trail for independence in Africa and provided free education.

Others, such as Mr Joe Baidoe Ansah, made positive comments about Nkrumah.

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