24th of February 2018
Fifty-two years ago the government of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), under the leadership of the Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, was overthrown and proscribed. The CPP consolidated its rule by winning, on the trot, three successive democratic elections between 1951 and 1956 organised under the watch of Her Majesty’s Government of Great Britain, the colonial master at the time. The opposition that lost to the CPP in all of these free and fair elections would never reconcile their loss and instead resorted to the threat and use of violence and terrorism to remove the CPP from power. The CPP government did not enjoy the benefit of a “loyal opposition” that understood the demands of “loyalty to the state” to advance and protect the national interest above all else.
Thirty-seven years ago, another CPP government, then in the name of the People’s National Party, led by President Hilla Limann, was again overthrown, less than two years after it won democratic elections supervised by the very military that overthrew it on 31st December 1981. Thus, the Nkrumah and Limann heritage have suffered two mortal blows to its psyche and natural evolution. It has been near impossible for this heritage, blessed with a high social purpose and a moral compass, to recover from these lethal blows of coups d’état and continued banning of the mother party until the CPP had to go to court to win back its frayed nerves in 1998.
The CPP has remained a loyal opposition since then and has not resorted to any unconstitutional acts and the threat and use of violence and terrorism to seek power at all cost and at the expense of the people. It is this ingrained sense of “loyalty to the state” and the constitution that defines the state that the leadership and members of the Convention People’s Party want to use the occasion of the unlawful and criminal overthrow of the CPP to remind the people of Ghana of.
The essence of “loyal opposition” lies in the importance of acceptance of electoral defeat and engaging in constructive politics that advance and as well as protect the development and progress of the nation. The CPP has been able to discipline itself to the cause of democratic governance because its origins lie in the process of going to the people, living with them, understanding them and winning their trust for them to cast their majority vote for you. And it is this “veranda” service encapsulated in the force of personality of our two illustrious leaders, Dr Nkrumah and Dr Limann, that has defined our sense of purpose and commitment to Nation First. These two leaders were incorruptible and honest to a fault. They did not steal either from the public or private purse. They remain our moral compass and yardstick for all Ghanaian leaders and civil and public servants. Such is our proud heritage, the exemplary lives of Dr Nkrumah and Dr Limann. It is their moral compass that guides the CPP in its loyal opposition.
We believe and attest to the fact that it is this sterling example of the CPP that assisted the New Patriotic Party (NPP), under President John Agyekum Kufuor, to win two elections on the trot and also for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to return to power in 2009 and return to opposition in 2017. Loyal opposition translates to tranquillity in governance and progressive development continuing where the previous government left off, without rancour and bitterness, in the supreme interest of the nation.
Meaningful projects with social purpose initiated by departing regimes must be continued and not abandoned, out of spite, as was done with projects that the CPP built and had initiated. After all, why throw the baby away with the bathwater when the funds used to build these industrial, agricultural, educational and health projects were not the personal funds of Dr Nkrumah or the CPP? They were state funds. It was Dr Amical Cabral, the late President of the Guinea-Bissau and a bosom friend of Dr. Nkrumah who taught that: “You spit at your own face when you spit at the skies”.
For example, the Nkrumah visionary government sought to tackle and abolish the blight of underdevelopment and entrapped poverty as represented by the Zongos. To achieve this Nkrumah acquired lands in the Madina area to develop a modern township and to decongest and regenerate the Nima area. Residents of current Nima were expected to be moved out by 31st March 1966 to make way for the new development scheme. The residents were paid the agreed compensation package to move to plots allocated to them in the acquired lands in Madina.
The 24th February 1966 coup interrupted this project and the architects of the coup abandoned it thinking that they were spitting at the face of Nkrumah and the CPP. To win the empathy of this vibrant community in Nima and to consolidate power the coup leaders allowed those who had taken their compensation package to remain in Nima and to keep it. And what has happened to Nima and Madina ever since despite these Zongos remaining the “World Bank” of succeeding social and property-owning democratic parties? How has the lot of the people of Nima and Madina changed?
Now, here was the vision of the Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. For the express purpose of regenerating Nima, Nkrumah acquired the lands between Accra Girls’ Senior High School and the new Limann Highway (formerly Kanda) all the way to Malam Atta Market junction on the Nima Accra Newtown Road and the Nima Police Station junction back to Mantse Tackie overpass near the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and back to Kawukudi.
The land acquired and given out as part of the regeneration project was what is today located from the Atomic Junction on the main Accra-Aburi road up to Legon Gardens on the Atomic-Haatso Road then turning right to Agbogba along the Top Herbal Road, turning right at the GOIL fuel station to Ritz Junction on the main Accra Aburi Road which includes the current Libya Quarters, Redco Flats, Madina Zongo and back to Atomic Junction where there was the gas explosion. In those days these areas were considered way outside of Accra central.
From the University of Professional Studies (UPS) junction to Ritz junction into the beginning of the Ashaley Botwe turning right to Adjiringano was the massive Madina township which included the new Madina low-cost housing estates for salaried government employees. The plan included everything. From schools, polytechnic, hospitals, community parks, banks, etc., you name it. On the left side was the lands for the Kwame Nkrumah Aviation city which a succeeding government is alleged to have sold to a leading “brother”. That is the land between Ritz junction and current Adenta. The Aviation city was to serve both the new airport planned for Prampram and the Accra airport with a new Aviation Tower and air defence monitoring systems. As part of the plan, there was to be built direct high-speed rail lines to the Accra and Prampram airports, 10 and 20 minutes journey respectively.
Disloyal opposition abandoned this visionary project but the plans are still in the pigeon holes of the Town and Country Planning. A reformed “loyal opposition” appears to have located the Nkrumah plans, dusted and rebranded them as Zongo Development initiative without sharing with the public what they have discovered in the archives as the Aviation Minister is smitten with the Prampram Airport hub development plan.
Today, February 24, 2018, fills us with pride that our sense of discipline and loyalty to the state has given meaning to the principle and cause of “loyal opposition” and we are all the beneficiary of the continuation of good governance. But we have the devil of corruption to tackle as Dr Nkrumah sought to do with his Dawn Broadcast of 8 April 1961 aimed at his own party for the insect that will bite you is found in your own clothes. It was a “call to action to revitalise the CPP, to end self-seeking, to energise the efforts of the people towards socialism. “Dr Nkrumah continued’’.
Some Party members in Parliament pursue a course of conduct in direct contradiction of our Party aims. They are tending, by virtue of their functions and positions, to become a separate social group aiming to become a new ruling class of self-seekers and careerists. According to June Milne, in her biography of Nkrumah, “he gave these people a choice. They must either give up their business interests or quit the Party. Nkrumah went on to warn against an ostentatious living, and laid down a code of behaviour for those who did not own businesses, but whose outlook and aspirations were elitist.”
Hear us President Akufo Addo for in you harbours an Nkrumaist spirit of a distinction that makes you different as leader of your ruling party. You will sleep soundly if you boldly tackle the cancer of corruption that has infested all areas of national life.