The debate on who founded Ghana is still lingering and 80-year-old veteran journalist with over 60years experience, Mr Cameron Duodu has waded into the argument, saying, Dr Kwame Nkrumah cannot be credited as the sole founder of Ghana.
According to him, before Dr Nkrumah arrived in Ghana, some other people [in the United Gold Coast Convention - UGCC] had started the fight.
In a television interview with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo on his programme The Lounge, Mr Duodu said in the United States for example, “they are so humble that they give everybody his due but here [Ghana] fanaticism, made Kwame Nkrumah …, founder of the state of Ghana with his image on the coin, it wasn’t necessary.”
He argued that Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s decision to put his image on the coin was not necessary as founder of the state of Ghana.
“The excuse was that Ghanaians didn’t believe that the British had left and they wouldn’t believe it until they saw his [Nkrumah] head on the coin, propaganda,” he said.
When Kwaku Sakyi-Addo asked Mr Duodu whether Dr Nkrumah was a good leader, Mr Duodu responded “yes and no.”
He said yes because he [Nkrumah] had a plan, “and he believed in planning, he knew what he wanted to do, he built the Akosombo Dam to provide electricity to power factories all over the place so that we could become industrialised.”
“And he built things like the Accra-Tema motorway, it’s still working today. If he had money to do that of Accra-Kumasi just imagine the number of lives that would have been saved and the amount of commerce that would have taken place, more easily than we do now.”
The 80-year-old UK-based Ghanaian novelist, journalist, editor and broadcaster said in terms of material development, Dr Nkrumah did very well but he also was a bad leader.
“A very bad leader in that he suppressed or tried to suppress the free thinking that Ghanaians love so much.”
“Everybody in Ghana wants to be educated, they want to be able to say what they think, and if you have power through the Preventive Detention Act, to say someone heard you in a bar say in A, B and C, we believe that person who reported you, therefore you go in for 5years without trial, that is an injustice of the first order, and if you do that to your people, you destroy their spirit and in that sense he made a huge mistake.”
Mr Duodu said the same mistake was also repeated in 1969 when the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) was prevented from contesting the elections and Nkurmah’s name, image, publications and so forth were also banned.
“Yes, infact it was ironical because, when the prisoners who had been in jail for Preventive Detention were being released, others were going in under protective custody, of course in the midst of chaos, a coup d’etat is a chaotic situation, you don’t pause to ask yourself whether what you are doing is a principled act or not, because what you are thinking about is if the CPP are allowed to stay, will they organise to come and overthrow us and shoot us. So up to a point they had a reason but after that this whole arbitrary way of doing things, I don’t like what you are saying, therefore you shouldn’t exist… who gave who that power or right to suppress another human being, look at the galaxies in the sky, we came here as atoms...you have no right to extinguish the life of another fellow.
When he was also asked about the best leader Ghana has ever had, Mr Duodu said: “I don’t do best leaders, I look for good things.”
Pressed further to choose who he will vote for if all the former presidents were lined up in an election, he rhetorically said I will choose “Kwaku Sakyi Addo.”
Mr Duodu said he still dreams of writing that novel which, “as soon as you read it, tell you his is my story as a Ghanaian and a novel that will last thousand and thousands of years, William Shakespeare is still remembered, and I have that ambition to write a very good book.