Dr Sekou Nkrumah, the youngest son of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, has said his father “had his faults”, however, “the fact is no political leader [past or present president] can be compared to him”.
Former President Nkrumah led Ghana to independence from Britain in 1957 and served as its first prime minister and president. He was an influential advocate of Pan-Africanism and was a founding member of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU), and winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1962.
Sekou, reacting to comments by former President John Agyekum Kufuor that his father plunged the country into chaos and virtually eradicated democracy, said there was no perfect leader and that the achievements of his father surpass those by any Ghanaian president.
Ex-President Kufuor, who was interacting with the leadership of the International Democratic Union (IDU) which paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Accra on Tuesday June 20, said former President Nkrumah misused Ghana’s resources and plunged the country into poverty.
Explaining further, he pointed out that by 1963, “our then President Nkrumah, left of centre politician, moved the country into a one-party state with a lot of intolerance; he built a whole prison just 22 miles of Accra for detention of political opponents”.
He observed: “Democracy as we are espousing was virtually killed,” and was quick to add that “by 1966 the country had had too much and it was labouring under poverty it had never known before”.
Mr Kufuor, who served as president between 2001 and 2009, said the country was “labouring under intolerance and people were not allowed to express themselves [under President Nkrumah]…”
He indicated that it was after 1992 that the country became stable and democracy was introduced and hopefully has been strengthened over the years.
However, Sekou said his father’s “achievements were just too massive in the context of Ghana’s independence as well as nation building”.
For him, the feats chalked by his father have not been matched by any president of Ghana since being deposed in a coup in 1966.