1. CPP not a throne:
“I personally don’t believe that Nkrumah left the party for his children alone.”… Prof Edmund Delle, CPP Chairman said recently on Starr FM.
Inasmuch as the Nkrumah factor in the CPP is very strong and important, the party is not a dynasty. It is neither a kingdom nor throne. It is not a stool. It is not the personal property of the Nkrumahs. The delegates who took part in Saturday’s presidential primaries were well aware of this.
2. New history needed:
Dr Kwame Nkrumah made history by becoming a respected pan-Africanist. He fought for and achieved independence for the Gold Coast, making Ghana the first country sub of the Sahara to achieve freedom from colonialists. He made history by winning a parliamentary seat while in prison.
He made history as the first post-independence President to be overthrown in a coup in Ghana. He made history by spearheading the Ghana-Guinea-Mali union, which was meant to be the nucleus of the African Union dream he had. He made history in a plethora of different other ways, both at home and on the continent. But the 21st century CPP must have a new history.
So, torn between two possible history-making events – having the first physically challenged person leading the CPP into an election, and possibly winning to become the first physically challenged president of Ghana, to rival Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States of America (1882-1945), who became the 32nd President despite suffering from polio; and electing another Nkrumah to become the first female flagbearer of the CPP and possibly the first female president of Ghana – I guess the delegates found the former more appealing. Mr Greenstreet’s mere victory has given the party a new history. History not birthed of Nkrumah’s DNA that can be told independently of anything Nkrumah in the party.
3.‘Nduom nonsense'/ ‘Sakara cult figure’ debacles:
Under the leadership of Samia Nkrumah as chair of the CPP, two heavyweights and former flagbearers of the party – Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom and Dr Abu Sakara Foster – exited, with bitterness. Both PhDs left as a result of strained relations with Samia Nkrumah. Dr Nduom went on to form the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), which emerged stronger than the CPP in the 2012 elections. In November 2011, Samia, as party chair, accused Dr Nduom of waging a relentless campaign to demoralise party supporters ahead of the 2012 elections.
She said Dr Nduom was the one behind numerous agitations within the party, at the time, for an early congress. Condemning the rumpus, Samia Nkrumah told Joy News' Sammy Darko that: “It is unfortunately, one of our aspiring presidential candidates, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, who has waged a relentless campaign to demoralise our sympathisers and well-wishers. The party would not tolerate this indiscipline any longer and we are taking measures to stop that. The candidate we want to see, our presidential candidate, must be men and women of integrity,” she said, adding “the party will meet to confront the terrible acts of indiscipline by Dr. Nduom. We will not tolerate this nonsense any more. Enough is enough,” she thundered.
Dr Sakara, who exited recently, has expressed intentions of joining forces with the 2012 independent presidential candidate Joseph Osei Yeboah to run for the 2016 elections. Dr Sakara, in his resignation letter, accused the leaders of the CPP of building a personality cult around one individual (Samia, although he wouldn’t mention her name), with the sole purpose of beginning a process of leadership by “dynastic succession”.
Dr Sakara said: “Indifference to the collective good for the cause of the party is pervasive and has subsequently spawned a culture of intolerance and indiscipline that is rooted in reckless factionalism. This trend has now reached its peak and I fear it has eroded all CPP’s institutions and systems that were built over the years. What is left is the semblance of a personality cult club built around the ambition of an individual. The sole purpose of this seems to begin a process of leadership by dynastic succession. The fact that several leading members support this dynastic project is testimony to the fact that we have lost our way and probably the spirit of our cause”.
Now, if these two heavyweights left the party because they bore grudges with Samia, who was just a chair at the time, perhaps, the delegates, fearing there could be more heavyweight exits, or grassroots exits in droves, once she became a flagbearer with more clout, decided to choose Greenstreet.
4. Ivor’s balls:
Samia is too shy with her politicking. Greenstreet, on the other hand, can bite. He is courageous and can swim among sharks and still come out unscathed, as he did with his no-holds-barred criticism of the President and his government in 2014, during the governing National Democratic Congress’ national delegates’ congress in Kumasi in December that year.
In the full glare of former President Jerry Rawlings, and thousands of leaders and supporters of the NDC, a defiantly courageous Greenstreet told Mr Mahama and Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur bluntly that: “You don’t care. Nobody is feeling your better Ghana. …Currently nobody, I mean nobody is feeling your better Ghana. Continuous ‘dumsor dumsor,’ corruption from top to bottom, left, right, inside, out; and all the challenges you are facing [are] suffocating the Ghanaian people. We would have thought that perhaps you may have used an occasion like this to discuss policies, programmes and solutions to all the difficulties we are facing as a nation, but no, you chose today to share your Christmas gifts with each other. Ghanaians are not happy at all. This ‘bronya’ is dry.
Too too dry,” he told the President, adding: “The most painful thing of all is that you don’t care. NDC continue, we are watching you, Ghana is watching you, do what you want to do, we also know what we’ll come and do…make sure you’ll elect executives who will be able to steer your parties affairs when you are in opposition. Boys abr3.”
The wheelchair-bound politician was subsequently called names and criticised by leaders and supporters of the NDC after his bluntness. While Majority Leader Alban Bagbin said he believed Greenstreet was possessed by some “demons”, which caused him to be “so emotional”, presidential staffer Sam George wrote on his Facebook wall that: “Ivor Greenstreet apparently needs elevation to see the Better Ghana.” Despite all those attacks, Greenstreet stood strong. In a political minefield like ours, one must have the balls to say it as it is. Greenstreet may have more than two. And it doesn’t take being a man in the real sense of being man, to have balls. I’ve seen women politicians with balls, too, perhaps, even bigger than Greenstreet’s. Late Hawa Yakubu had more balls than many male politicians combined together in this country.
5. Sekou’s demons:
Samia’s own brother, Sekou, has never believed in her abilities to lead the CPP as chair, let alone as a flagbearer. In 2011, Dr Sekou Nrkumah told Citi FM in an interview that even though some leaders of the party were grooming her for the presidential race, her sister becoming the flagbearer would not be the winning factor for a party whose fortunes have dwindled for nearly two decades. “The party from 1992 has been performing poorly in both the presidential and the parliamentary [elections] and I am saying being Nkrumah’s daughter would not change the situation,” he said. “What would change the situation is that the activists in the party would have to start working to bring the party up and then you come in with children and ideals that would attract the current generation.”
6. Nkrumah fatigue:
Ghana and Africa will forever respect and revere Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his progeny, but I’m sure the ‘Nkrumah fatigue’ has got to its apex in Ghanaian politics, to the extent that even staunch Nkrumahist would want to tone down on the Nkrumah rhetoric by adopting a more dialectical approach in rebranding the CPP by merging the old and new. For that to happen, Nkrumah must not be immortalised on the ‘CPP throne’. Some non-Nkurmahs should, by now, have become blue-blooded, too, within the Nkrumah gate, to be able to ascend that throne, without necessarily bearing the Nkrumah name.
Harking back to Nkrumah’s legacy is just too boring these days. This is the 21st century. I’m sure even Nkrumah would have been tired of the hackneyed legacy and cling to his ideology and principles were he still alive, and would have morphed them to suit modern-day politics in Ghana. The CPP has failed to do so. And electing an Nkrumah progeny as flagbearer, after having been chair, too, would have amounted to entrenching the fatigue.