Let us lighten the dark days of Ghana
Voice from Afar
By: K.B. Asante
KWAME NKRUMAH analysed the events which led to his overthrow in “Dark Days of Ghana”. As the 100th anniversary of his birth is celebrated worldwide, Ghanaians have an interest and a duty to lighten those dark days, so that truth and knowledge may illuminate and guide the future.
We have to admit that there was disenchantment among many Ghanaians at the time of the coup. But the involvement of some Western powers in the overthrown of Osagyefo is not beyond doubt.
Nevertheless, the inability of many supporters of Nkrumah to withstand the storm was rather unfortunate, and we must ask ourselves how the Cubans successfully withstood numerous American attempts to eliminate their leader, Fidel Castro.
Perhaps, the failure was due to the tendency to let bygones be bygones. It is good to do so, but should it be at the expense of not learning from the past? And so, as we recall what led to the overthrow of the great visionary leader, we should admit the security lapses which preceded the coup. The major ones among these were attempts to assassinate President Nkrumah at Kulungugu, and at Flagstaff House in January 1964.
A proper enquiry might have exposed those plotting to overthrow the regime. The arrest and conviction of Tawiah Adamafio, Ako Adjei and Kofi-Crabbe also require a revisit. It appears they were framed to bury further investigations into the Kulungugu incident. Again, perhaps if there had been a diligent enquiry, the coup might have been averted.
An institutional lapse was the co-ordination of intelligence reports. Nkrumah had phenomenal memory and tried to do this. But he was human, and enemies could take endue advantage of weaknesses revealed to earn his confidence.
At the time of the coup, the military intelligence under Bugadeen Hassan informed the president of their suspicious based on findings. General Hamidu, who is still around, was in military intelligence at the time and he can be of great help in the institutional strengthening and digestion of intelligence reports for the present and future presidents.
The president should also have unimpeded access to information. The very serious economic and financial situation facing the country was kept away from President Nkrumah. When the Bank of Ghana realized that there was no reaction to important reports, it made an unorthodox approach to the president.
The bank delegation, when they met Nkrumah, presented a concise memorandum and explained the situation to the president, who was surprised that he had been kept unaware of the dire financial situation. He was then about to leave for Hanoi, and so he promised to deal with the situation on his return.
It turned out that close collaborators were hiding reports from Nkrumah. The bank delegation was warned not to report to Nkrumah directly again. They were threatened with detention if they did so.
It is most important that we should not hide unpleasant facts from our presidents. Also, we should refrain from telling them what pleases their ears.
The main emphasis of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Nkrumah’s birth should, however, be the legacy of this great son of Ghana, voted the African of the Millennium by a BBC poll.
Ghanaian, friends of Ghana and pan-Africanists in the Diaspora rightly began planning commemorative events a while back.
In London, African-led organizations such as Voice of Africa Radio, Pan African Society Community Forum. All-Afrikan People’s Revolutionary Party, Alkebu-Lan, and South-wark Black Parents’ Forum were behind a number of Nkrumah@100 events, ranging from discussions, an inter-faith service to dedicated radio and cultural programmes.
Being one of the fast diminishing coterie who worked directly with Nkrumah, I was invited to participate in some of these events. One such event, focusing on Nkrumah’s vision and legacy, was organized by Ghana First and voluntary organization BTWSC as part of its monthly Ayekoo sessions at Mission Dine Club Centre in north-west London.
Community broadcaster Brother Omowale’s interview with me focused mostly on Nkrumah’s work at home and in Africa, whilst Veteran journalist Marc Wadsworth’s interview highlighted Nkrumah’s importance from a diasporic perspective.
The Ayekoo sessions are held on the first Saturday of the month to remind us all that great ideas have to be pursued all the time, and not once a decade or a year.
As Ghanaians prepare for the great surge in the economy from future oil revenues, they should not, as Nkrumah urged, abandon their Africanness for that of individualism and selfishness, which breed greed and corruption. They should be mindful of their fellow Ghanaians, and they should put Ghana first.
While some in Ghana have begun celebrating Black History Month (BHM) in February, as is done in the US, in the UK, preparations have begun for BHM in October. One hopes the name of Nkrumah will reverberate in some of their BHM events, particularly as there is a tendency not to link our history to contemporary issues.
It is for this reason that BTWSC is launching an accessible. OCN – accredited African History course in October, where students will be made to understand why modern – day countries such as Ghana, Mali and Zimbabwe took their names from great empires that existed on the African continent many centuries ago.
Nkrumah’s anniversary is being rightly commemorated in Ghana. But what should we concentrate upon? Nkrumah tried to do everything and how he did a lot. He built schools and hospitals. He created industries and established services. But where are they now?
We have allowed many to collapse on the altar of free market ideology. We have not succeeded in replacing much of what he created with alternatives to advance the welfare and aspirations of the people.
We have allowed not been able to do much of what we would like to do, because we have been short of imagination, determination and confidence. This is me time to be inspired by the vision of Kwame Nkrumah.
Africa has been weighed down in body, mind and spirit by enslavement and colonialism. Nkrumah defied the burden of the past and asked Ghanaians to envision themselves as casters of their destiny.
He rekindled the self-confidence and the self-reliance of the Ghanaian, who he felt was the equal of any other people. It was not an empty assertion of equality. The self-confidence was to be expressed in the rapid building of a prosperous nation. “Work and happiness” became the national slogan. Emancipation of the African body and mind was the objective.
This emancipation was not to be restricted to Ghana. Nkrumah felt that Ghana could not prosper in an Africa of many states ruled or tele-guided from outside. He organized Ghana to be in the forefront of the liberation of the rest of Africa.
Nkrumah saw the unavailability of an Africa of many pseudo-independent states struggling to maintain the semblance of independence. He saw African unity as the answer to the total liberation of the African unity. The African Union is a legacy of his vision. Nkrumah bids us to make the union real for our total liberation.
One of Nkrumah’s friends. June Milne, recorded in the “Conakry Years” that even in his last day, Nkrumah reiterated that, “The solution is the political unification of Africa. When Africa is a united strong power, everyone will respect Africa and Africans will respect themselves”. These commemorative celebrations should make the dark days in Ghana visible and inspire us.
Daily Graphic Page: 7 Monday, September 21, 2009