The greatness of the "USA/Africa Dialogue" forum, argues Professor A.B. Assensoh of Indiana University, is that it certainly offers Africans and non-Africans unfettered opportunities to air their views in pro and con fashions. Whether one writes in support of or in opposition to a particular African or world situation, the bottom-line is that the coordinator impartially allows all views to emerge and thrive through this forum, of course possibly barring clear-cut defamatory and "legally-liable" submissions. As Assensoh ponders over the various submissions touching on his own brief submission on Ghanaian leadership, he re-echoes the philosophical title of Ayikwei Armah's great novel that, when it comes to Pan-African discussions, it is true that "The Beaut(y)ful Ones Are Not Yet Born."
Since my brief forum piece on Ghanaian leadership was posted (as part of the Ghana debate), several other submissions have been published in this very useful forum, including submission numbers 928; 929; 931; 932; and 933. It is, however, a fact that in brief submissions like my own and the others, one cannot easily underscore everything that may answer critics.
Of course, since Kwabena Gyasi's brief but excellent submission number 929 provided most of the left-out threads in our own opinions on the Ghanaian theater of forum discussions generally, I simply wish to explain (in a brief response to submission number 931) that it is an exaggeration to suggest that, in my writings generally, I have ever deliberately singled "out the Acheampong regime for the guillotine because Acheampong was instrumental in his [Assensoh's] arrest and detention." Maybe, that was how the writer of submission number 931 saw things, and he is entitled to his opinion, although readers of my 1998 book, "African Political Leadership: Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah and Julius K. Nyerere" (written principally for non-experts and novices in African studies), already know part of my scholarly stance on African leadership. Of course, whether one is a historian, a Journalist, a geographer, an economist, an engineer, or a political scientist, it is a fact that one would have a particular opinion, hence I expressed one in my recent forum submission.
Again, as a historian, I have had cause to mention with praise elsewhere, in my writings, Ghana's one-time "Operation Green Revolution" in the agricultural sector of the Acheampong period, irrespective of the political naivete of the era. Also, during Acheampong's only dawn broadcast, his political handlers (who wanted to impose the so-called "Unigov" on Ghanaians over night) also prompted him to make the following statement, in which I saw wisdom and, as a result, sometimes quote when urging opposing political actors to "cool" their tempers: "He who quarrels with the past does not only lose the present but the future also..." I still remember Acheampong's Inspector-General of Police, at the time, sitting next to him with other NRC/SMC members and, tiredly, dozing on and off the TV screen as the General's dawn broadcast was being delivered to Ghanaians on radio and television early that morning.
It is, therefore, sad for anyone to pick a minor explanation from my brief submission to point out that, maybe, my arrest and detention by the Acheampong regime embittered and caused me to be anti-Acheampong's various regimes, i.e. NRC; SMC I; and General Akuffo's SMC II.. If anything, what I suffered under Acheampong's leadership helped me to decide to leave Ghana once more but, this time, to return to the classroom to attain part of what the writer of submission number 931 and his friends have accomplished academically and otherwise. I most certainly thank God that I did so; otherwise, maybe I would today be dismissed, whimsically, as not even being "qualified enough" to express my opinion in the way that I did on Ghanaian leadership!
In submission number 929, another Kwabena (Dr. Gyasi) brilliantly and transparently answered many things for all of us, who have written about ex-President Rawlings and Ghanaian leadership, hence there is no need to dwell very much on defending the bulk of the premise of my own submission. Briefly, I however wish to add that when I, for example, mentioned political detentions as part of Dr. Nkrumah's leadership legacy, I was not doing so to obliterate or overshadow some of the exemplary achievements of his era, including the free universal primary/middle school education (and, to an extent, university education) from which all Ghanaians benefited in one way or another. Yet, it is a historical fact that the regime of Dr. Nkrumah, like all other Ghanaian regimes after Nkrumah, had shortcomings, no matter what some scholars want us to believe in the ir forum submissions! Maybe, many Ghanaians wished that Acheampong and his NRC leadership had allowed Prime Minister
K.A. Busia's regime to exhaust its elected mandate, at least for Ghanaian (who elected Dr. Busia and his Progress Party regime into power) to see what the Oxford don's overall legacy would have meant for Ghana; again, I also agree that Dr. Busia's regime, like earlier Ghanaian political administrations, was NOT perfect in everything!
As I read USA/Africa Dialogue forum submissions (since my latest submission was published), I have come to the interesting conclusion that -- like the title of Ayikwei Armah's brilliant novel -- truly, "The Beaut(y)ful Ones Are Not Yet Born", especially when it comes to discussing Africa's multitude of political, economic, social and other problems. After all, there are those who will seriously take, for example, Acheampong's rule over ex-President Rawlings' leadership, and vice versa. It is the same situation in the politics of Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, whereby there is always leadership preference. However, in the end, all Africans should be able to reflect, jump and shout: Long live Africa, and long live Pan-Africanism!