Ivor Kobina Greenstreet at 50, in fact Fifty, Fifty

Friday, 03 June 2016 16:42

There was a major celebration in the sky of Accra on Tuesday night. A very wide cross section of Ghanaian society gathered to mark the 50th birthday of Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, Flagbearer of the Convention People's Party. As the Chairman of the CPP mentioned in his charged celebratory remarks, this year also marks 50 years of the ousting of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah. This was, therefore, a Fifty, Fifty anniversary.

He spoke of his joy at reaching half a century and gave thanks to the almighty and all those who had supported him in his life’s journey. Veering into politics he stated that the rejuvenation of the CPP represented a departure from the politics of the past. He said Ghanaians had become disappointed with politicians. That the National Campaign message of the CPP represented a New Covenant (Apam Fofro) with the people of Ghana. That CPP stood for hope, justice, progress, truth, discipline and loyalty to offering opportunity to the people of Ghana.

The celebration pointed up the extremely deep convening power of Ivor Greenstreet. The range of people at the celebration was very wide and exciting. There was a powerful delegation from Ivor Greenstreet's Ga Mashie family, Professors and other academics from his Legon family including dynamic priests from the Christ Anglican Church of Legon. There was also, of course, a big delegation from his party, his legal profession colleagues, the People's with Disability Community and more. It was a joy to see people like Professors Agyeman Badu Akosa, Akilagpa Sawyer, Sam Woode freely interacting with younger ones like Kwasi Pratt, Kwabena Bomfeh (Kabila), Mr. Herbert De Graft Johnson, son of former Vice President, Lawyer Ekow Hayfron Benjamin and others. The serious Ghanaian musicians Ben Jerry Telfer and Okyerema Kontoh provided soothing music on Kora and Kete drum.

There were of course many speeches but the talk of the night was the eulogy of Ivor's mother Professor Miranda Greenstreet. She, of course, as she made clear, as a lead Domestic Observer of Ghanaian elections she would remain committed to that course. Above all, however, she is a mother and she is very obviously justly proud of her son's present position as Flagbearer. She told a story about when she was fully pregnant with Ivor which totally arrested attention.

Nkrumah had just been overthrown. She was ordered into detention by the coup makers. Her “crime” was that she was on the lead staff of the Institute of Adult Education which organises the still justly famous New Year School. The staff of the Institute of Adult Education were ordered into Police detention because it was deemed that the New Year School had become pro-Nkrumah. Of course, the People's Educational Association, a Civil Society organisation which was engendered by the Institute of Adult Education, as the leading political historian Dennis Austin reminds us, was very broadly pro-CPP.

In her easy, powerful delivery befitting the worthy Professor that she is, Professor Miranda Greenstreet said that she refused to report to the Police. She refused because she strongly believed that it was an infringement of her Academic Freedom. The passion with which she conveyed this point on Tuesday night underlined the fact that indeed the acorn does not fall too far away from the tree. When it was time for her son Ivor Kobina Greenstreet to speak, the controlled fire and logic of his speech showed that he is indeed the son of Ga Mashie and indeed of Professors.