WAS NKRUMAH A SAINT
Article: Marcus Amemo
he President of the Kwame Nkrumah Foundation, Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, has, on the occasion of the celebration of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’ s 101st birth-day asked that the name Kotoka be taken off Ghana’s International Airport.
According to him, “Ghana should not hail a man who overthrew a democratically elected government by naming him after an important national asset like the airport which is the country’s gateway (Ref. Daily Graphic, September 23, 2010). He went on to say that it is tantamount to glorifying coup makers.
Today, most Ghanaians in responsible positions count themselves lucky for Dr. Nkrumah’s visionary leadership that made it possible for them to have literacy education for which other things have been added.
His contributions to education include the timely introduction of fee-free compulsory primary education, the establishment of the University of Cape Coast, kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), many leader training colleges to train teachers, just to mention a few. Many of such colleges exist up to today.
On the economic front, many factories were put up: tomato, meat, matches, etc. What about the Akosombo Dam, the Tema Township and its motorway? Massive rural development projects, Black Star Line, Ghana Airways.
It is only the almighty God who would know what would have happened to us as Ghanaians had Kwame Nkrumah not vigorously spearheaded the attainment of independence as early as 1957.
That, we would have got independence later than 1957 as some of his opponents were then advocating is clearly a dead horse or a spilt milk that nobody will like to flog or cry over.
Ghanaians, in my view, have paid their dues to the memory of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah culminating in the annual celebrations of his birthday as public holiday.
It has become obvious that those who are today attacking the effusions of Professor Akosa are doing so on purely political grounds rather than from principled positions.
To simply disagree with him because it is politically convenient to desecrate the memory of the African of the millennium will be tantamount to dishonesty. Many Ghanaian may not want to dishonesty. Many Ghanaian may not want to dishonesty. Many Ghanaians may not want to dabble in any fruitless arguments about who the real founder of Ghana is, since majority now knows who he is. It is therefore too late for crafty politicians to downplay the achievements of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Despite all of Dr. Nkrumah’s successes, there were numerous clandestine attempts to “pull him down” including attempts to assassinate him. The Tawiah Adamafio and Ametewe’s episodes cannot be mere accidents of history but deliberate acts calculated to achieve an objective Nkrumah suddenly became a “big man”, a name coined to destroy and tarnish his name.
The question l will like to pose is, was Nkrumah a saint? Was he a mortal as any man born of Adam? Was he infallible?
If he was not a saint (at least no Pope has yet canonised him); then we must admit that he could have made mistakes. I, therefore, suggest that Nkrumah had his “bad days” especially during the later days of his reign. He, not surprisingly, became despotic to the extent that many and most Ghanaians lived in fear.
History has recorded enough facts to suggest that even though Kwame Nkrumah was national and international super hero, by all measurable standards, his overthrow in 1966 was painfully inevitable Did Lt. General Kotoka and his men by inference only press a trigger of a gun Kwame Nkrumah himself had loaded with bullets?
As of the time and day of the coup of 1966, there was overwhelming general support for it, as Ghanaians, both old and young, poured into the streets across the length and breadth of the country in wild jubilations. The success or legitimacy of any coup d’état therefore, does not lie in the hands, authority and estimation of a few soldiers who come as “liberators” but in the general will of the people to sustain it (emphasis mine).
Mark Anthony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar questioned Brutus to show cause for his action – i.e. stabbing Caesar to death. He answered that he slew his best brother for the good of Rome. Perhaps, Ghanaians, as of the time of the Coup of February 24, 1966, thought Nkrumah’s overthrow was for the “good” of Ghana; hence the overwhelming popular support they gave to Kotoka and his National Liberation Council. Never in the history of this country had any coup d’état been so spontaneously celebrated.
If today, therefore, by our intellectual assessment of history, we collectively propagate by majority view that Kotoka’s name or statue should be removed from our chronological history, so be it, but we must be ready to give plausible academic reasons other than the trivial rhetoric of someone being a coup maker. It is a historical fact nobody can wish away; that fateful event when Kotoka was arrested at dawn, sent to and area near the Airport and murdered in cold blood. There are living souls today who can tell it all – how the whole nation then, mourned that sad event.
My Middle School teacher in the late 60s taught us that history is a record of important past events. So, to say today that Kotoka’s name should never be part of our past events is to be too dishonest and myopic.
The history of Ghana must be told without taking away any part of portion that seems unpleasant to any person or group of persons. Our children must know it all, raw and vivid. Is it not hypocritical irony that some of those who are today pontificating the ideas and ideals of Dr. Nkrumah joined hands with those they are today vehemently calling coup makers to misrule us?
Whatever stand we take either to discard the statue or not must be for the public good and not serve any parochial interest.
Daily Graphic Page:10 Wednesday, October 13, 2010