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Feature Article of Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Kwame Nkrumah Died of Lung Cancer

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

The vehement demand by prominent Ghanaians like Prof. Agyeman-Badu Akosa, former director of Medical Services, and Mr. Sekou Nkrumah, son of the country's first postcolonial leader, for full disclosure of the cause of death of President John Evans Atta-Mills, on July 24, 2012, is not open to debate (See "Sekou Ignorant of What Killed His Own Father - Ato Dadzie" Radioxyzonline.com/Ghanaweb.com 7/27/13). The fact that the deceased president was Ghana's most powerful and prominent public figure at the time of his demise, makes such disclosure all the more imperative.

But what makes such disclosure absolutely undebatable is the abject failure of the Mahama government to provide any plausible moment-to-moment details about the immediate events leading to the death of President Mills, including the mysterious narrative bordering on his mode of conveyance from the Osu Castle to the 37th Military Hospital. We have been told by several media reports, for instance, that the dying President Mills had not been transported to "37" in a siren-equipped motorcade, or convoy, as it ought to have been the case.

Then also, we have been publicly given to understand that the vehicle conveying the dying president to the military hospital had, somehow, ended up at the maternity ward, instead of the emergency ward. And then, finally, we have also learned that the presidential limousine was being driven by some of his relatives to an unspecified destination in the dying president's home enclave of the Central Region, instead of being parked at the Castle and ready for use, at the time of the death of President Mills.

In sum, all these media-bruited rumors ought to be put paid to once and for all by the Mahama-Arthur government. Of course, what has further complicated matters is the apparently woeful failure and/or deliberate refusal of salaried presidential aides to responsibly let on about the true state of health of the visibly dying president. Instead, we had President Mills comically paraded around the vicinity of the Kotoka International Airport in a jogging suit, barely going through the motions of jogging, to criminally deceive the well-meaning Ghanaian public into believing the patently absurd.

In other words, there is clear and incontrovertible evidence of an act or acts of official criminality leading to the death of President Mills; and the latter state of affairs ought to be promptly resolved. Now, as to whether Mr. Sekou Nkrumah is privy to the true cause of his own father's death in Romania, Eastern Europe, on April 27, 1972, or not, does not in any way, whatsoever, invalidate the former president's son's call for full disclosure of the forensically verifiable cause of the death of President Mills, as Nana Ato Dadzie is reported to be claiming.

We know for a fact that President Kwame Nkrumah died of Lung Cancer, because that was the official report broadcast by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), as I vividly remember. And, of course, it made quite a lot of sense at the time, because Mr. Kwame Nkrumah was widely known to be a chain-smoker. Almost every official photograph that I have seen of the man addressing the nation from the national studios of the GBC, both radio and television, has President Nkrumah seated beside an ash-tray sporting a smouldering cigarette, or with the man clutching a cigarette between his index and middle fingers.

The arrant nonsense about him having died of a Kulungugu-related skin cancer is just that, pure hogwash! Indeed, even as Maj.-Gen. Ocran meticulously detailed in his eyewitness version of the Feb. 24, 1966 putsch that auspiciously ousted the extortionate Convention People's Party (CPP) regime, the very ordnance, or weaponry, used in Nkrumah's assassination attempt in August 1962, came from the arsenal of the Ghana Armed Forces, rather than having been imported into the country by Nkrumah's political opponents.

In fine, the persistent propagation of the apocryphal narrative of Nkrumah's having died of Kulungugu-related skin cancer has no factual historical basis and/or value, other than luridly serving the self-righteous interests and ego-massaging needs of diehard Nkrumacrats.

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*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Department of English
Nassau Community College of SUNY
Garden City, New York
July 27, 2013
E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net
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