Kwame Nkrumah and Political Marketing: Locating Campaign Strategy in Modern Political Campaigning

Article excerpt

Introduction

In forming the case on Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and political marketing, there are a number of randomly scattered insights in the literature that inform this research. In this research, it is observed that Osagyefo used imagery and ideas to organize and manage his campaign for the ascension of the Convention People's Party (CPP) to power- and in fact for the governance of Ghana--before, during and after independence. His approach is thus identified to share borders with modern day political organizational and campaigning strategies, i.e. political marketing which took place some fifty years ago. Although Nkrumah and the CPP party might not have intended their campaign to be a political marketing activity, nevertheless, some pronouncement by Nkrumah and his campaign themes suggest a parallel.

For its aims, this work sets out to identify the conceptual underpinnings that may have informed Nkrumah's campaign strategy using modern political organizational framework. And second, to demonstrate how political programs could be organized in a systematic way to achieve desired results using a comprehensive organizational strategy of modern political practices. Hence, this paper hopes to provoke fresh debate into other areas of Nkrumah's political life that are under researched, and prompting new areas of study within academia and among practitioners in the Ghanaian political market in its struggle to entrench Ghana's nascent democracy.

To achieve the aims above, the research analyses the political character and behavior of Nkrumah and the CPP party in the tradition of generic functions of political marketing management suggested by Hanneberg (2003), however with some modifications. The paper will consider only four--product function; cost function; communication function; and the distribution function--out of Hanneberg's eight generic political marketing functions. Another modification is the fusion of Lees-Marshment's (2001) political market orientation concept, with its emphasis on the identification of customer needs and competitors offering using market research, into the operationalisation of the marketing instruments to realize the desired results. Hence, the inclusion of the market research proposed by Lees-Marshment is crucial because it is only through this means that a competitive benchmark could be set against the actual performance of the party initiating the political marketing program. And although the functions, as Hanneberg explained, are requirements that performances of the instruments are supposed to meet--itself a benchmark--such requirements could only be competitive if they are set against customers' demands and competitors' offerings as the Lees-Marshment (2001) concept suggests.

Accordingly, in the next section, I present a brief background to establish the political history of the Gold Coast at a set time to establish a context and facilitate an understanding of the lessons to be drawn from this study.

Background

In 1947, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a political party made up of elites such as lawyers, doctors and chiefs with the aim of ending British rule--'in the shortest possible time' (Austin, 1961; Vieta, 1999)--invited Kwame Nkrumah into its institutions as an organizing secretary (Austin, 1961). By February 1948, Nkrumah through his organizational style was able to expand the convention to 209 branches across the length and breadth of Ghana, from 13 in 1947 (Vieta, 1999). And, he further encouraged the inclusion of ordinary citizens such as peasant farmers, unions, women's groups and the youth (Vieta, 1999). This approach was in contrast with the previous regime of UGCC's organization where the masses were ignored and held in contempt by the political elites (Vieta, 1999). This achievement confirmed Nkrumah's leadership skills, organizational competence and inclusive philosophy as an individual who saw the ordinary citizen as an important asset to nation building, contrary to the leadership styles of UGCC officials. …