Another post from my alter ego - Maximus Ojah, a member of the GhanaThink community.
Happy Belated Birthday Osagyefo,
Kwame, some people in this world are old, but as for you, you are grown. What! 99 years! I am struggling with my quarter-life crisis and am dreading the next few years; I can't even imagine a mid-life crisis. Happy belated again sir, and may you find rest and sleep at the same side of the bed you slept on September 20th. Do find that spot again because you smiled at your fans. You must have smiled when you read the news about the national launch of your rejuvenated party's campaign for this year's election. The CPP is back, new, vibrant and attractive.
Nkrumahists like us cherish your birthday like other holidays in the Ghanaian calendar. Were you called the African Showboy due to the flamboyant parties you threw for your birthday? Were you called the African Showboy because of how you lavished cedis (when they were as good as dollars) on your friends and sympathizers? September 21st is remembered as your birthday but the chapter has been re-written, the 2008 version will go down as the day Paa Kwesi Nduom's CPP launched its national campaign with a rally for the ages and introduced the running mate in the race for the FlagStaff house, the site of the new Presidential Palace. Actually, the Presidential Palace is on hold due to a myriad of problems, so let's call this election the race to be the first citizen of Ghana. Shall we?
Osagyefo, ever since Ghana returned to democratic rule, the Convention People's Party had been a shadow of the organization that led the fight for Ghana's independence. It had no CYO (Committe on Youth Organization), and you didn't hear any CPP representative on radio making 'educative noise' in the name of democracy. Your people were divided in the aftermath of the political ban on the CPP. Kwabena Darko rose up one day and paid tribute to your memory, installing the chicken as the symbol of his political party. People mistook his reverence for you for his Darko Farms company which produces day old chicks. Well, Darko's NCP was a day-old political wonder as well. Hilla Limann rode his popularity as Ghana's third president but he had lost too many of his Nkrumahist colleagues to Jerry Rawlings' NDC. Edward Mahama, a fine gentleman, took over from him and has still not been able to win back the hearts, pockets, thumbs and support of your sympathizers.
Along came Paa Kwesi Nduom, the one-time Deloitte & Touche consultant. He came to Ghana with a wealth of working experience in the US and established a hotel business. He stayed behind the scenes, taking up an Assemblyman post in the Central Region. By the time he run for the Member of Parliament against the famous Ato Quarshie in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem constituency, a lot of us knew him as the one who owned the Coconut Beach Resort in Elmina. He won the seat and won the CPP one of three parliamentary seats. Osagyefo, how far the mighty had fallen! A generation removed from the Nkrumah hype, we couldn't find winners in your fold to win parliamentary seats. George Opesika Aggudey, George Hagan, Kwesi Nduom and the rest had won the right to use the 'CPP' name, but the name was still not valuable.
Kwame, people blamed Kwesi Nduom, Freddie Blay, George Hagan and Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa for taking up positions in the NPP's all-inclusive government. This is what I thought at the time. Why shouldn't we have the best people in the country hold the best positions? Should John Mahama refuse to be the Minister of Communications because he is in the 'opposition party'? I didn't applaud this move as getting more true Nkrumahists into the spotlight, I thought of this as unity. Kwame, did you try to recruit some of the UP members into your government? Why not? Were your philosophies and ideologies so different to prevent you from appointing a couple of Danquah-Busia guys in your administration? Did you imprison them because they refused your offers?
The rally at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle on the 21st of September was a testament to how far the CPP had come since the 2004 election. Nduom and his colleagues have rejuvenated the party from the ground up and done it quietly, peacefully and efficiently. They didn't pay people to attend the rally, they made sure everyone at the rally was a registered member. Kwame, can you imagine that? If I was in Ghana and had wanted to go to the rally, I'd be turned back right at Busy Internet as I started to make the home run for the Holy Gardens because I didn't have a CPP registration. That is bureaucratic, but in the days when peer pressure helps bloat the real numbers and the real story of many political rallies in Ghana, the CPP did the right thing.
What is your verdict on Paa Kwesi Nduom? People say he is not a true Nkrumahist, that he is someone who flirted with the NPP, someone who is on the books for fraud, someone who betrayed other people in the CPP, amongst others. Did you know any of his relatives when you were in power? People make it seem like to have positions in a political party, your father, uncle, aunt, or distant relative must have paid his dues. When did politics in Ghana become a family tradition? Your son, Sekou, has joined the NDC - which technically has a bunch of Nkrumahist people anyway - instead of joining forces with his sister, Samia, in the party you birthed. Sekou may have grown wary of the capabilities of the CPP, but your 99th birthday gave birth to a vibrant and serious CPP. A political party ready to take on its checquered history and live up to the billing and reputation it commands all over the world.
Kwame, do you care if Paa Kwesi is a true Nkrumahist? No one cares if Akufo Addo or Dan Lartey is, so why Nduom? We love you a lot Osagyefo, but Ghana is not about you. We don't need Nkrumahism; we need policies, programs, and people that will work for the development of Ghana. Nduom has built businesses and he has worked for his people. He took a ministerial position in the name of Ghana, and not because he hated you all of a sudden. He has not engaged in any serious fraud because the SFO has not been able to find anything to that effect. He is leading a new sound, a new ideology strung to the waist of Nkrumahism, a new generation tied to the tenets of independence and a new vision 50 years after the birth of Ghana. Osagyefo, I know you are proud, but for those of us who are tired with this slow progress, we are ecstatic.
So let the date ring from Paga to Cape Three Points and from Elubo to the Togolese border; September 21st is here to stay. The wave of change is blowing across the globe, and it's time for the best guys to lead. We don't want a golden age of business in some 'forward' time, we want a golden age of business now. We can't wait any longer for things to get better, Ghanaians must demand progress, change and excellence now, before they grow disillusioned - especially the youth. So Kwame, send some of your magic to the cockerel as it takes on this miracle. Send the message of urgency to Asumasi and Dzifa, to Yakubu and Borteley, to Yacoba and Alima, and to their sisthren and brethren who for one reason or the other, find themselves stationed away from Ghana.
As we celebrated your birthday, we also celebrated the enthusiasm with which Ghana was born and the charisma with which you drove us to pursue the goals of the 1950's. As we navigate the 21st century, we celebrate September 21st, 2009 as a mark of hard work and the result of preaching a message of change and development and how Ghanaians are willing to latch onto what is best and not necessarily what is popular. Some of us may classify Ghanaians in many ways that shows that we are doomed as a country. However, if a few good men could resuscitate an ailing political party, a few more good men could change Ghana for the better and nurture a country we would love to live in from September 21st to September 20th. Kwame, we want it and we want it "NOW".