THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DR KWAME NKRUMAH’S POLITICS
By: Larweh Therson-Cofie
Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the Republic of Ghana, was on September 21, 1909.
He was born a Virgoan. Virgo is one of the signs of the zodiac.
Astrology is the “art of observing the position of the stars and telling how they influence human affairs”.
It is believed in astrology that a person is characterized by certain personality traits attached to his or her zodiac sign.
For example, Virgo (August 24 to September 23) invariably endows its subjects with dexterity, versatility, wit, intelligence and an analytical mind, among others.
The negative traits of an introvert include the tendency to be excessively mercurial and to indulge in day-dreaming.
The theme of the article is not about astrology. It is about psychology and politics of the founding fathers of the organization of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU) and also one of the founding fathers of Ghana.
My allusion to astrology in the opening paragraph if intended to give readers the opportunity to compare and contrast personality traits as portrayed in astrology on the one side, and in psycho-analysis on the other side.
What kind of personality was Kwame Nkrumah?
I did not have a close encounter with the first Prime Minister of the Gold Coast, now Ghana.
I saw Kwame Nkrumah a few times – at a public function, that is, at the inauguration of the Volta Hydro-electric Power Plant at Akosombo in 1965, as a student- journalist. I met Nkrumah twice in the streets on a motorcade.
By what I have observed, heard on radio and seen on television and read in the newspapers about Nkrumah while he was alive, I believe either Kwame Nkrumah was a thinking extrovert or an extrovert introvert.
However, Nkrumah appeared to be more of an introvert than an extrovert.
An introvert person is inclined to be shy, given to fantasy, is idealistic, conscious more of himself or herself, can be highly imaginative and be attracted to professions that give him or her the opportunity to put his or her quick thinking faculty into use.
Not all in are so shy, so it was Kwame Nkrumah.
How did he bring his personality traits to bear on his profession-politics?
Kwame Nkrumah had moved from the United States, where he had obtained a first and master’s degrees, to London in the United Kingdom.
Like most Africa students in those days, he found law and the legal profession attractive.
Nkrumah began to study law in earnest hoping to qualify as a lawyer and to join a few lawyers then practicing in the Gold Coast.
In August 1947, when the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was formed, Ako Adjei was the general secretary. When he found out that his duties as a general secretary of the UGCC were interfering with his legal practice, he asked that Kwame Nkrumah should be invited to take up the job.
Kwame Nkrumah abandoned his legal studies, returned home in December, 1947, and was appointed General Secretary of the UGCC.
There were many introverts who have become great lawyers and judges.
I believe Kwame Nkrumah chose politics instead of law because his choice offered him great opportunities to realize his life’s ambitions.
In June, 1949, Kwame Nkrumah resigned from the UGCC and founded the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in Accra.
“In all political struggles there come rare moments hard to distinguish but fatal to let slip when all must be set upon a hazard and out of the simple man is ordained strength,” Nkrumah remarked at the launch of the CPP.
Kwame Nkrumah left the UGCC because he did not like some of the policies of that party.
He stood for “self-government now” whiles the other members of the shortest possible time”.
In his book, I speak of freedom, Kwame Nkrumah wrote: “In December, 1947, I returned to the Gold Coast after twelve years in America and the United Kingdom. I had been asked to become a general secretary of the UGCC, a political organization set up to secure independence in the shortest possible time”.
“The UGCC was slow to make much impression on the country as whole, probably because it was composed mainly of professional men, especially lawyers…..”
Nkrumah’s self-government now” posture his revolutionary and his populist approach later put him at loggerheads with the British colonial administration.
When the colonial government refused to give in to Nkrumah’s “self–government now” plea, he declared a nationwide strike. People stayed away from work.
There was rioting and two policemen were killed.
Kwame Nkrumah and his CPP men were arrested in January, 1950, tried and jailed 12 months for sedition.
In February, 1951, when the CPP won the general election, Nkrumah and his colleagues were released. Kwame Nkrumah was appointed the Leader of the Government Business and later Prime Minister.
Nkrumah brought hid quick mind, charismatic personality and foresight to bear on local, as well as international politics.
As one of the founding fathers of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), he campaigned relentlessly for a “continental union government now”.
Kwame Nkrumah was a man in a hurry. He was many years ahead of his times.
He saw his mind’s eye self-government and economic freedom and prosperity for the Gold Coast, now Ghana, and a continental union government for Africa.
He believed those distant goals could be achieved in a hurry.
“I do not hide the fact that I am impatient when it comes to building Ghana ……….” Nkrumah admitted in a speech in June, 1963.
“What other countries have taken three hundred years or more to achieve, a once independent territory must try to accomplish in a generation, if it is to survive. Unless it is, as it were, “jet propelled”, it will lag behind and thus risk everything for which it has fought,” Nkrumah wrote in his autobiography.
Kwame Nkrumah belonged to the Casablanca Group of the OAU member-countries. It was radical group as opposed to the Monrovian Group of moderates.
Members of both groups “gave and took” to bring OAU into being.
A continental union government of the independent African states would have collapsed in a matter of months.
Why? It would have collapsed because it was premature. In 1963, the African countries had just emerged from colonization and were not prepared to give away national sovereignty to an uncertain and a fanciful continental union government.
Like a tree transplanted, the emerging independent African nations needed time to take deep root in their own lands.
At home, Ghana the role played by the UGCC and later by the opposition National Liberation Movement (NLM) and the Northern People’s Party (NPP) that became the United Party (UP) must be put in then right perceptive and appreciated.
Kwame Nkrumah‘s radical, revolutionary and “impatient” style was moderated by the cautious and down- to-earth methods of the opposition parties.
The fears and concerns of the opposition parties were borne out-when Nkrumah turned Ghana into a one-party state and a dictatorship.
The First Republic died at the age of seven. It was overthrown in the military takeover led by Col. E.K.L Kotoka and Major A.A Afrifa on February 24, 1966.
To find quick solution to difficult and intractable issues, the Osagyefo chose to set everything on a hazard.
In other words, he jet-propelled many things to achieve quick results. He did achieve some results, many of which have proved to be non-permanent.
Was Nkrumah intuitive?
Nkrumah had some level of insight and foresight. But he was not intuitive enough to appreciate God and deep spiritual perceptions.
Kwame Nkrumah studied divinity at the university. He later converted to Marxism.
A Marxist is an atheist. He does not believe in God and religion.
In his book, Consciencism, Kwame Nkrumah wrote: “Fear created the gods, and fear preserves them: fear in bygone ages of war, pestilences, earthquakes, and nature gone berserk, fear of acts of God’, fear today for the equally blind forces of backwardness and rapacious capital”.
On religion Nkrumah stated the in the same book: “Religion is an instrument of bourgeois social reaction. It is essential to emphasize in the historical condition of Africa that the state must be secular”.
Kwame Nkrumah’s views on God and religion often clashed with those of the clergy in Ghana.
A typical example was when he ordered the deportation of Bishop Rosevaire, the Catholic Bishop of Accra, for expressing religion opinion that ran counter to those of the Nkrumah’s government.
Daily Graphic Page: 10 Tuesday, June 29, 2010