The Executive Director of the Third World Network has described as “revisionist” President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s narration about Ghana’s independence struggle.
Writing on his Facebook wall Monday, the founding editor of the Public Agenda newspaper said the President “cleverly” revised the role played by the nation’s first President Kwame Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in his 60th independence anniversary speech to the nation.
Delivering his speech Monday to mark Ghana’s 60 independence anniversary from colonial rule, President Akufo-Addo revived the debate whether Ghana should have founding fathers as demanded by the NPP elements or a founding father as insisted by the CPP.
The famous ‘Big six’
According to him, the independence struggle had been started by members of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) 10 years before it was granted.
He listed Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, William Ofori-Atta, Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, and his father Edward Akufo-Addo as the main people who had met the British to demand independence.
The President added that it was when the UGCC leaders decided they needed a full-time person to man the party’s affairs that they brought in a younger nationalist Mr. Nkrumah.
“Soon thereafter, on 28the February, 1948, the notorious and senseless killings of three ex-servicemen, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey…which, undoubtedly, quickened the pace of the independence movement,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo forthrightly said the “unfolding of the story is well known.”
But Dr Graham, a socialist, said the President’s narration about Ghana’s independence struggle deliberately altered Nkrumah’s contributions.
“Nana Akufo-Addo made a clever revisionist 60th independence anniversary speech,” he said.
He said the President started his story with the contribution of the Gold Coast Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS) of 1897, only to rope in the role played by “his close relation J.B. Danquah.”
Dr Graham asserted not all opposition to British colonial policies constituted demands for an end to colonial rule even if those protests contributed to raising the consciousness of Ghanaians.
Dr Graham said President Akufo-Addo only ended up repeating an important difference between the CPP and the UGCC. Akufo-Addo said Nkrumah borrowed the word ‘ Convention’ from the UGCC when he formed his Convention Peoples Party.
But for Yao Graham, the real difference is that the CPP had ‘Peoples’ in its name in recognition of the remarkable contribution of the ordinary citizen.
He said this inclusion reflects the “key role that mass mobilisation and struggle under the leadership of the CPP played in transforming the dynamics of the anti-colonial struggle.”
“Most importantly, the litany of great men in this version of history failed signally to acknowledge the key role of ordinary people in the attainment of independence,” he said.