Kwame Nkrumah - The Unsinkable
Kofi Bentum Quantson
If you believe in 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
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 energised
That far from remaining crucified, incinerated and consigned
into the darkest bowls of history, Kwame Nkrumah to blaze
out with brilliance that has dazed and discomfited those who
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 Millenium
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, ideas and
principles that the body of Kwame Nkrumah housed. Productive
ideas never dies.
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 in the conviction that
my country's cause comes first. I take the step and chance
the consequences. I am prepared if need be to shed my blood
and die if need be, that Ghana might have self government
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 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
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 was not even independent. It was a
dastardly act that triggered off the chain of politically
related violence that "infamous" Preventive Detention Act
(PDA), which, over the years, has been rather selectively
and subjectively used to condemn Kwame Nkrumah.
Excerpts 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 this 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, my 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 violence explosion, followed within seconds by
another. The house trembled, windows 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 windows anymore and the shattered glass
was all over the place, even on her bad.”
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 overthrown of Kwame 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 conspiracy to stage a coup
to topple the CPP government and assassinate Kwame Nkrumah.
Two leading members of the 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 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 Kwame 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 President Yameago 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 in January 1964, a Police Constable on guard
duties at Flagstaff House attempted to assassinate Nkrumah.
He fired five rounds. He failed but his loyal body guard,
Salifu Dagarti was murdered. It is my firm professional
judgment, that considered 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 aspects” of the coup. Coup
These events 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
reactions to the diabolically engineered security situation
to make the country ungovernable, and maybe, “invite” the
colonial masters to stay put.
Actually it will be an eye-opening exercise to align the
P.D.A of the CPP government and a Protective Custody Decree
of the ruling N.L.C. The result 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 the N.L.C.’s human right record was
totally abysmal. Fortunately for the N.L.C., because of the
extremely orchestrated hostile anti- Nkrumah propaganda
master-minded by foreign expects, there was a clearly
manipulated total silence over the brutal way the decree was
applied. True historians ought to set the record 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 officer guarding him in the cage. That was
Kwame Nkrumah suffered a lot. He survived a lot too,
physically, psychologically and spiritually. But in 1966,
the consortium of foreign political and economic interests,
through their intelligence operatives and local stooges,
exploited local political problems they had fuelled to boot
out Kwame Nkrumah.
And then began 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 the 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 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 disenfranchised, looked up, chased out and
It even 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. Others shamelessly did so to
The economic infrastructure he was staining to provide for
our economic independence was vandalized and looted as the
spoils of cold was 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 Refinery near Tarkwa, almost completed,
was abandoned, so we could remain forever the cheated
victims of the global gold refinery monopolists. The
national airline, Ghana Airways, was totally sparred the
axe, but eventually in 2005, that too was decapitated and
dismembered parts sold to family circles, 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 enterprises Nkrumah established
were 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
adjudged “Socialist”. The patriotic thing to do was to
ensure proper management, and effective oversight.
But the ruling N.L.C. could not, because they were incapable
of realizing that they were being used as pawn to destroy
Ghana. There was no doubt that the N.L.C. was a puppet
In some cases, Soviet-trained doctors and other
professionals from ‘Eastern Bloc’ nations were pronounced
unqualified and humiliated. I recall that even crude oil
imported from the Soviet Union waiting at the port of Tema
was not sparred the raging political madness.
The Ghana Academy of Sciences which Nkrumah founded was
manipulated to sack him. Some bogus academics and
compromised intellectuals suddenly were made to discover
that Kwame Nkrumah was illiterate and could not have written
the books he authored.
Indeed the powers behind Nkrumah’s overthrow commissioned a
special group to rubbish Kwame Nkrumah’s intellectual
credentials and a number of books and publications he
authored. And so were the complicit Western media like the
ECONOMIST whose April 6, 1966 issue proclaimed in a classic
case of neo-colonialist short-sightedness that; “It is
questionable whether Dr. Nkrumah should have invested in the
splendid motorway to Tema which is virtually unused but
still requires expensive upkeep against the day it will
eventually be needed!”
That was total rubbish. Where would Ghana be without that
vital link between Accra and Tema? It was huge wonder that
the ruling N.L.C. that overthrew Kwame Nkrumah, attacked
him, that the motorway was a “prestige project”. Indeed!
Of all the books published in the post-Nkrumah era, the one
I consider most intriguing and mystifying was “Kwame
Nkrumah, the Anatomy of an African Dictatorship”, by Dr. T.
A Omari. Those who consider Kwame Nkrumah as a “frustrated
illiterate “, a crook, a fraudster and intellectual bankrupt
“who consistently, bribed his way out of difficult
situations” will find the “evidence” to satisfy their
perception or impression.
Likewise those who believe that the nation’s history has
been mischievously but cleverly falsified as part of the
huge stratagem to sink Kwame Nkrumah, will find the
“evidence”. It is a must read book for every true patriot,
and I strongly recommend it in the national interest.Over
the years I have been persistently confounded by the bold
claim in the book that “Nkrumah was, intellectually
speaking, a frustrated man at the time he returned to
Africa. He had achieved nothing substantial in America. His
first degree was in divinity although he was going to be a
Minister of Region, and later, when he got his Master’s
degree in political science, he did not feel he had attained
the measure of his ambition, and preferred to go to London
to get a law degree. In this he was not successful, while a
doctorate degree in philosophy eluded him.
Scholars who heard him at rallies those days, and even to
the end of his rule, wondered what could be the secret of
his success over crowds and many came back ridiculing the
verbose expression and the bombastic English which he used,
and the halting shouting and screaming in which he addressed
the masses at his gathering…..
Educated or not, and there were some who thought he was
downright illiterate, Nkrumah knew his audience, and talked
to them in the language they understood; and in a manner
that was novel to them and which they appreciated, and they
accepted him as one of them. That was something 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, and an unconcealed
rabid opponent of Kwame Nkrumah.
But the huge question is, was Kwame Nkrumah really
illiterate? Was Kwame 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 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 intellectuals must set the records straight.
Especially the noisy opportunists so-called Nkrumaists. You
are even at liberty to consider that bewildering
contradictory assessments. So were the masses wrong in