Akufo-Addo did not distort history – History Professor

A Historian at the University of Cape Coast says President Akufo-Addo did not misrepresent Ghana’s history in his independence day speech contrary to claims by the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), the party that eventually won independence for Ghana.

Prof. Kwame Osei Kwarteng said history is written based on perspectives, so it cannot be said that the president erred with his speech.

Speaking on Joy News’ news analysis programme, Newsfile on Saturday, he said “I have had time to listen to the tape and read the speech itself in its form and a careful perusal of the write-up tells me right away that he never distorted any history of Ghana.

“Histories are written from perspectives, so the president sought to – on this occasion, write his speech from nationalist perspective and those people who put up resistance, either cultural, political, social or economic against foreign domination…and that was what he sought to do,”

President Akufo-Addo has come under stern criticism over what has been described as the distortion of the country’s history when he delivered a speech at the 60th Anniversary celebrations earlier this week.

He said the UGCC, forebears of his current party, NPP, “met to demand independence from the British and 70 years after that event, one still marvels at the clarity of thought and the passion that they displayed.”

“Some of the names of that momentous day have survived in our written history and folk memory. Five of them are on our Ghanaian currency: Joseph Boakye Danquah; Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey; William Ofori-Atta; Ebenezer Ako-Adjei; and Edward Akufo-Addo. Kwame Nkrumah, the sixth of the Big Six on the currency, was to join them later,” the President narrated.

The Convention People’s Party (CPP), whose founding father was Kwame Nkrumah took a dim view of the speech.

The party’s cadre Abdul Rauf said the president tweaked Ghana’s history to please his ancestry.

Related: CPP laments Akufo-Addo’s ‘distorted’ history of independence struggle

He said “we as a party can see a deliberate attempt by the president not only to minimize the role of Kwame Nkrumah in the independence struggle of the country, but also to take up arms against the history of our country because, for example, as a party, we have argued that it does not take one single individual to win independence for people it must take the effort and sacrifice of people.

“But in line with principles of history, it took one person’s effort to climax several years of the people’s struggle and in the case of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah assumed that role and any attempt to minimize or deny Kwame Nkrumah this role is most regrettable,” he added.

Kwame Osei Kwarteng

Prof.Kwame Osei Kwarteng

But contributing to a discussion on Joy News analysis show Newsfile, Prof. Kwarteng said, as a big believer in Kwame Nkrumah and his ideals, he does not see how the speech distorted Nkrumah’s role.

He described, for instance, the president’s claim that the Bond of 1844 marked the beginning of colonization of Ghana as a Eurocentric view.

He said the Europeans who wrote about colonialism and African history say that Ghana’s colonisation started from that time but Afrocentric historians point to 1874 when the British turned their business headquarters at the forts and castles into political headquarters to establish colonies and protectorates.

Related: Full text: Akufo-Addo’s [email protected] independence speech

At that time, Ashanti was independent, the northern territories – Gonja and the Dagombas – were even under Ashanti dominion and other parts and  it was in 1869 that Asantes made a thrust into what became known as the Klepe or the Evedome area in the Volta region, he said.

“It was in 1874…after the Segrenty War… when the British sent an expedition to Ashanti and crashed Ashanti and joined Kumasi that  the Gonjas and Dagombas and those in the northern parts of Ghana accepted their independence including those in the Volta region that Ashanti had held over a period of time.

“But we African historians interpret the colonization of Ghana from 1874; that was when the British turned the forts and castles and its immediate hinterlands of her Majesty’s castles into crown colonies and protectorates.”

But even with that it cannot be said that it was deliberate to minimise the role of Kwame Nrkumah, as far as he is concerned. “It is a Eurocentric point of view, and he is allowed to go that way.”