Friday, 2 September 2011

Gambian Progressive Pan-Africanist Madi Jobarteh of TANGO comment on Nkrummah

I know Madi Joberty loves Nkrummah: Laye asks "If Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had not declared Ghana a one-party state and vested ALL political power in his person and his political party, would he have been overthrown?" Laye Jallow of Gambia L.

I know Comrade Madi will not disappoint.

Madi Jobarteh Responded Below

As an ardent believer in the rights of people and good governance, we notice shortcomings in the tenure of Nkrumah and other patriots such as Sekou Toure. The PDA enacted in 1964 and the declaration of one party state have been major...r issues we continue to encounter on the subject of Nkrumah.

I have always argued that we always need to understand the times and circumstances of Nkrumah, and the genuine urge and urgency with which they were confronted. while this cannot excuse tyranny, let me say that Nkrumah had no intentions for dictatorship for personal aggrandisement, nor was he a man of vain leadership. I think the challenge of the time was partly, in fact to a large extent, due to the limited or lack of institutions, necessary experiences and skills and knowledge on state and social management and governance. For example, i think his response to dissent, even though such dissent was fueled by selfish bourgeois elites bent on maintaining feudal and colonialist systems and structures, would have been different if the state of Ghana had enough and strong institutions, resources and experiences and skills.

Compare Nkrumah to one of his contemporaries JFK, and consider that during JFK's time America faced major civil unrests, but the US government did not declare a one-party state or give incredible power to JFK. this is because by then US had already developed strong institutions and culture to manage such crisis. the state was already established on strong foundations and therefore could deal with such uprisings.

Compared to Ghana or most of Africa at the time, such institutions and popular culture of governance and rights were either very weak or absent, and coupled with the intricacies of the world, Nkrumah had exercised paranoia and extreme responses in cases were it was not necessary.

Having said that, we are very convinced beyond any shred of doubt that Nkrumah was a visionary leader who understood the demands and challenges of the time, yet weak in terms of institutions, experience, capacity to organise an already disorganized society and under threat from more powerful forces. No doubt those forces, internal and external, could easily deprive the people of Ghana and Africa of such leadership which could have transformed the face of Africa by now.

The present African leaders cannot give same excuse. Even for Nkrumah this is not an excuse, am just giving an analysis in order for us to understand that part of our history, but i disagree with him there. We need to develop and 50 years later ...we cannot claim the same excuse therefore.

If you check even in the US George Washington was opposed to multipartyism and when it was clear that differences were emerging leading to the creation of democratic and republican parties, he raised serious concerns about that in his farewell address.

What we have to learn from the past and even from today is the fact that we have to build strong institutions, democratize our culture and nurture a culture of rights and have this reflect in our institutions, systems, processes and structures.

We require a leader that understands this and begin that process. It is clear that even in Europe and America, bad and myopic leadership causes serious damages to freedoms. For example after 9/11, George Bush came up with the patriot act. Even in UK today, Cameron is talking about controlling facebook, twitter and the like. But they have not seen their own misguided leadership which is causing social strife. The struggle continues...

No comments: