KWAME NKRUMAH- THE UNSINKABLE
BY: KOFI BENTUM QUANSTON
IF you believe wonders, this surely must be a wonder. If you believe in the cosmic theory of predestination, this would be it. Or if you believe in the communist philosophy of “historical inevitability,” you probably are starring into one.
That after years of calculated, orchestrated, sophisticated stratagem by a consortium of local and foreign detractors to exterminate the man and sink his memory, the name Kwame Nkrumah still bounces back at every turn with energized momentum.
That far from remaining crucified, incinerated and consigned into the darkest bowls of history, Kwame continues to blaze out with brilliance that has dazed and discomfited those swore and relentlessly schemed to destroy him and bury his name and his monumental achievements.
Probably that was what Divine Providence destined it. Because everything about the sustained resurgence of Kwame Nkrumah defies feeble human logic. Indeed, when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) revealed Kwame Nkrumah the Founder of the State of Ghana as the African Millennium Leader, the political slogan, “Nkrumah never dies”, that infuriated sensitive, conservative, religious reactionaries, assumed a more vibrant meaning.
It was mystifying that those “men of God” appreciated “Nkrumah Never Dies” in a mundane physical sense. They were horribly wrong. What was at stake was not the physical human body of Kwame Nkrumah. No, it was the ideas, ideals and principles that the body of Kwame Nkrumah housed. Productive ideas never die.
Evidently, the moment Nkrumah broke away from the elitist leadership of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), to form his Convention People’s Party (CPP), the battle lines were drawn between the progressive forces and the reactionary elements in the Gold Coast, aided by their foreign manipulators and local stooges.
In his letter of resignation from the UGCC, Kwame Nkrumah minced no words. He stated “I am fully aware of the dangers to which I am thus exposed, but firm iii the conviction that my country’s cause comes first. I take the step and chance the consequences. I am prepared if need to be my blood and die if need be, that Ghana might have self-government now.”
Those were the words of a committed patriotic nationalist. Very clear. The battle towards independence between Kwame Nkrumah’s CPP and the opposition parties was fierce, even brutal. Aside the legal and the constitutional obstacles that Kwame Nkrumah had to surmount, he was also confronted with the senseless acts of violent subversive political vandalism that rocked the nation, and which nearly derailed the independence process.
Nkrumah became a marked physical target for elimination. Death stalked him. The first attempt to blow up Kwame Nkrumah at his Accra New Town residence was incredible. That was in 1955. The nation not even independent. It was dastardly act that triggered off the chain of political related violent that necessitated the enactment of the “infamous” Preventive Detention Act (PDA), which, over the years, has ratherbeen selectively and subjectively used to condemn Kwame Nkrumah.
Experts of that very FIRST attempt to exterminate Kwame Nkrumah captured in his autobiography arouses a deep feeling of revulsion against that senseless inhuman brutality.
“During his month, violence took a personal turn. On 10th May I had an exceptionally heavy cold. As there was a lot of work, I arranged for my secretary, personal accountant and several other people to my house in the evening, we were still sitting on our chairs when a bright orange glow suddenly lit up the whole of the back of the house, and there was a violent explosion, followed seconds by another. The house trembled, the widows were blown in and we could hear the screams of women and children. I went downstairs to find my mother whose room was near the explosion. The poor woman was speechless and there were tears in her eyes as she clutched my arm.
‘Oh you are safe,’ she said with relief. I went into her room, there were no widows anymore and the shattered glass was all over the place, even in her bed.
Who at that time wanted to kill Kwame Nkrumah? And why? And they nearly blew up his poor mother too! I recall how in 1966, after the overthrow of Nkrumah, agents of the ruling National Liberation Council (NLC) vainly persuaded, coaxed, bribed, coerced and cajoled Madam Nyaniba to declare that Nkrumah was not her son! Totally incredible, but absolutely true. It was a crazy piece of heartlessness, motivated by mindless political hatred.
I recall also, that in 1958, barely a year into independence, there was exposed conspiracyto a stage a coup to topple the CPP government and assassinate Kwame Nkrumah. The two leading members of opposition party, R. R. Amponsah and M. K Apaloo, were named by a Commission of Enquiry Chaired by Nana Sir Tsibu Darku (OBE), who had once served on the Executive Council of the colonial government.
That was the ugly genesis of coups in this country — 1958. The question that keeps repeating itself is: for what purpose was that coup? Was it in the national interest? Or in the interest of disappointed and disgruntled politicians and their foreign manipulators who regarded Nkrumah as a mortal threat to their economic interests not only in Ghana but also throughout Africa? At that time what had Nkrumah done wrong to warrant that conspiracy to stage a coup against him and assassinate him?
He had seized the political initiative to achieve independence. That was his sin.
Then note this. In August 1962, another attempt was made to blow up Kwame Nkrumah at Kulungugu on his return from Tenkudugu after a meeting with President Vameogo of Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso. Again in September 1962 a grenade exploded near the grounds of Flagstaff House, the office and residence of President Kwame Nkrumah. That was fascist terrorism because Nkrumah was nowhere near.
Elsewhere in the country, bombs were exploding. In particular January 1964, a Police Constable on guard duties at Flagstaff House attempted to assassinate Kwame Nkrumah. He fired five rounds. He failed but his loyal body guard, Salifu Dagarti was murdered. It is my firm professional judgment, that considering the perfidious role the police played in the coup of 1966, that assassination attempt could have been organized by the police.
Indeed in 1966, one of the top police commissioners on the ruling National Liberation Council, publicly claimed that he planned the “intelligence aspect of the coup. Coup plotting police?
This event should have educated Nkrumah’s blinkered detractors who almost exclusively and mischievously judge his performance by the P. D. A considered by objective security experts as the unfortunate, but inevitable reaction to the diabolically engineered security situation to make the country ungovernable, and maybe, “invite” the colonial masters to stay up.
Actually it will be an eye- opening exercise to align the P. D. A of the CPP government and the Protective Custody Decree of the ruling N.L.C. the results should be enlightening. In my professional experience, the brutal vengeful application of the N.L.C.’S Protective Custody Decree, was everything to be ashamed of.
I can declare that N.L.C.’s human right records were totally abysmal. Fortunately for the N.L.C., because of the extremely orchestrated hostile anti- Nkrumah propaganda master- minded by foreign experts, there was a clearly manipulated total silence over the brutal way the decree was applied. True historians ought to set the records straight.
Was not Boye Moses, one of Nkrumah’s security men, chained in an iron cage built at the police workshop, and paraded through the capital like a zoo animal? There was even a senior police official guarding him in the cage. This was outrageous.
Kwame Nkrumah suffered a lot. He survived a lot too, physically, psychologically and spiritually. But in 1966 the consortium of foreign political and economic interest through their intelligence operatives a local stooges, exploited local political problems they had fuelled to boot out Kwame Nkrumah.
And then begun that strategized vicious campaign of anti-Nkrumah, anti-CPP, anti-socialism and anti-non-aligned. Nkrumah’s proclamation that “the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with total liberation of Africa,” was considered a dangerous threat to those imperial powers and their allies who callously carved up the African continent for their economic and geo-political spheres of influence. Kwame Nkrumah became a strategic danger.
So the vicious campaign to sink Nkrumah and erase his name from history flew higher and higher. His CPP was banned and members are disenfranchised, locked up, chased out, and comprehensively persecuted.
It became an offence to mention Nkrumah’s name or display his pictures and effigies anywhere. That was complete madness. How can you legislate Kwame Nkrumah’s name from history? A huge reward was offered for his capture DEAD or ALIVE. Some of his close supporters were forced, bribed or threatened to condemn him. Other shamelessly did so to save themselves.
The economic infrastructure he was straining to provide for our economic independence was vandalized and looted as the spoils of cold war politics. Lucrative state enterprises were sold to friends, cronies, family circles and stooges.
In particular the national shipping line, the Black star Line, was capriciously dismembered and sold to friends, cronies, family circles and stooges.
The Atomic Energy Project was, teleguided by hostile foreign nations, disorganized and expensive equipment imported from the Soviet Union was hauled away to the United States as trophies of war.
The fantastic Gold Coast Refinery near Tarkwa, almost completed, was abandoned, so we could remain forever the cheated victims of the global gold refinery monopolists.
The national air line, Ghana Airways, was tactically sparred the axe, but eventually in 2005, that too was decapitated and its dismembered parts sold to family circle, friends, cronies and stooges. If we are not vigilant the Ghana Commercial Bank and the Agricultural Development Bank will go the way the social Security Bank went.
Admittedly some of the state enterprise Nkrumah established was in distress due to undue political interference and bad management. But the honest solution was not the blanket ideological reaction of destroying anything that was “socialist”. The patriotic thing to do was to ensure proper management, and effective oversight.
Educated or not, and there were some who thought he was downright illiterate, Nkrumah knew his audience, and talk to them in the language they understood; and in a manner that was novel to them and which they appreciated and accepted as one of them. That was somethmg that the established elite could not or would not do, for they held counsel with their own kind... They were more at home with fellow Oxford graduates than with the common labourers of their own country.
This is a fantastic, intriguing and incredible contrasting assessment by, intellectually speaking, an unconcealed rabid opponent of Kwame Nkrumah.
But the huge question is, was Kwame Nkrumah really illiterate? Was Nkrumah uneducated? In the blinkered eyes of his local historically sworn enemies, maybe yes. That he was both illiterate and uneducated.
But not in the unjaundiced eyes of many hundreds and thousands of people worldwide, including some of his foreign implacable ideological foes.
Kwame Nkrumah was certainly not illiterate. Kwame Nkrumah was not uneducated. The many books he authored, and the brilliant speeches he delivered without notes could not be the product of an illiterate, uneducated mind. True historians and honest intellectual must set the records straight. Especially the noisy opportunistic so called Nkrumaists. You are even at liberty to consider that bewildering contradictory assessments. So were the masses wrong in following Nkrumah?
DAILY GRAPHIC PAGE 5 FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2009.