Feature Article of Thursday, 3 November 2011
Columnist: Akosomo, Kwadwo Nyantakyi
Pt # 1
The election of Samia Nkrumah to the leadership of CPP gives credence to our nation Ghana as liberated and non-discriminatory state that has respect for differences, accepting every citizen as equal regardless of tribe, gender or religious affiliation.
As we congratulate Samia we also have to caution her that organizing CPP with his father’s image would be an uphill-battle, because, “the evil that men do lives after them”. One will ask, why this? Well, we idolize leaders, many do their due diligence, yet, have their low-downs and the later generation needs to be made aware of both their merits and demerits. Of late, many stories have been told by the media and online outlets during Nkrumah’s 102th anniversary about his vision, inspiration and what he did for Ghana, however, it comes short of what he didn’t do well. It is about time we set the records straight for the sake of the later generation.
Writers own the reading public an obligation of being independent without favouring a character or the protagonist and telling a story about both sides of the coin. Anything short is negligence and disservice to the people.
This article is an unbiased history about Nkrumah out sourced from many well documented existing articles that are available for verification. The rise and fall of Nkrumah is also well documented in Ebony 1966. (Ebony is a revered Black Peoples Journal). The story about Nkrumah in Ebony is peer reviewed and well authenticated whose facts cannot be disputed by myopias. Of course, those with myopic views and wearing horse blinders only see Nkrumah and do not care what he did to others.
Vision: When Nkrumah took office as Prime Minister on 10 March, 1952, Ghanaians buried their differences and united behind him. There was a vibrant national passion for development and self-reliance. Throughout the nation, in every region, in every Chiefdom, the population was enthusiastically and earnestly engaged in Nkrumah sponsored and supported self-help schemes; building schools, clinics, village and town centers, roads, drains and irrigation systems.
Nkrumah's government also embarked upon a very costly nationwide infrastructure improvement scheme. The Accra to Tema Motorway was built to near Autobahn proportions. Medical services were greatly improved and expanded. Positive steps were taken towards implementation of the vast and extraordinarily costly Volta River hydro-electric dam at Akosombo-Tema township and world class harbour were built.
Dictatorship: So what went wrong? What went wrong is, Nkrumah was afraid of his own shadow, became his own enemy by waging war with both opponents and his own stalwarts. Nkrumah saw every political aspirant as an enemy regardless of party affiliation, tried and succeeded in eliminating all aspiring leaders. He imprisoned some and hanged some; others were chased to exile in foreign countries. The surprising thing is Nkrumah started the hostility when no one had even thrown a pebble at his direction. Therefore the excuse that Nkrumah did what he did because civil rights conflicted with rapid industrial development is absurd.
Like a true dictator, he had that sense of entitlement to absolutely control every where he surveyed, he denounced the old chiefs as primitive and backward - and asserted himself as modern and progressive nationalist, created various ideologies and grandiose titles, such as Osagyefo, which means "redeemer."
Absolute Power: When Nkrumah took office as Prime Minister on 10 March, 1952, Foreign affairs and the Ministry of Defence remained in the control of the Colonialist, but after Ghana achieved Independence in March 6, 1957, these two powerful Ministries were transferred to the government. Nkrumah took this chance to consolidate power by adding both Foreign and Defence Ministry to his portfolio as Prime Minister, and then raised himself above the laws of the country. For instance, he could now remove members of the Supreme Court at his discretion. In 1958, Nkrumah introduced legislation to restrict various freedoms in Ghana. After the Gold Miners' Strike of 1955, Nkrumah introduced the Trade Union Act, which made strikes illegal. When the railway workers went on strike in 1961, Nkrumah ordered strike leaders and opposition politicians arrested under the Trade Union Act of 1958. While Nkrumah had organized strikes just a few years before, he now opposed industrial democracy because it conflicted with rapid industrial development. In 1958 Nkrumah wrote the Preventive Detention Act that made it possible for his administration to arrest and detain anyone charged with treason or suspected as anti-Nkrumah without due process of law in the judicial system. Nkrumah proposed a constitutional amendment in 1964 making the CPP the only legal party and himself president for life of both nation and party in a heavily rigged referendum.
Conclusion: After Nkrumah became the leader of Ghana; the country never saw peace anymore, he unleashed turmoil and turbulence on country. Also he and his followers went on uncontrolled plunder to destroy the economy of the country. A prosperous Nation was brought to its knees and one wonders how our nationalist leaders managed to find a wandering actor in the diasporas to come home and cause mayhem.
Kwadwo Nyantakyi Akosomo