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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 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 energised momentum.

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 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 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 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 plotting police?

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 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 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 comprehensively persecuted.

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 save themselves.

Part Two

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 client-state government.

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 following Nkrumah?

Daily Graphic




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