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Opinions of Monday, 10 April 2006

Columnist: Abdul-Rahman

Economy of Ghana: Yesterday, Today - A Review.

While I do subscribe to most of the arguments of Dr.Nii Thompson's arguments and will not attempt to excoriate any of his claims. I do believe that such a cogently written submission must be subjected to a form of review if not a rejoinder. Even though much of the Doctor's facts and figers are economic in nature and therefore not within my purview as a student of politics, however, I do think that some of his argument espercially those relating to Dr. Nkrumah needs careful consideration by any serious observer of Ghanaian politics and world affairs.

Central to the theme of his article is the idea that the over throw of Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1966 was the bane of Ghana's economic development. While I do not intend to challange such an entrenched political stand, I do believe that this idea must be subjected careful analysis. The question therefore is would Ghana's economy be any better than it is now if Nkrumah had not been overthrown? or Would Ghana be at the economic levels of South Korea supposing the 1966 coup which overthrew Nkrumah never happened? I hope I do not offend Dr Nii Thompson and my Nkrumaist comrades, but I do think that Ghana's economy would not be any better. Giving Dr Kkrumah's own economic and politcal records by the time of his overthrow, and his position in East-West political rivalry that led to his final demise as Ghana's leader.

For this purposes I will divide Nkumah's tenure in two: From 1957 to 1962, and From 1962 to 1966 wehn he was overthrown. The latter period was Nkrumah's best in terms of economic development. It was during this period that he was able to put the resources Ghana obtained from the departing British colonialist in financing his major programs. Many Nkumah observers, including Professor Adu Boahen, and Professor Ali Mazrui have identified this period as Nkrumah's pick period. Most if not all of his major projects were actualized during this period. By 1962 those resources have began to dwindle and Nkrmah himself saw the implications on his projects hence he was quick to seek outside assistance. Dr Nii Moi alluded to this claim in part II of his article. It is also important to state that before 1962, Ghana's per capita income was higher than $190. By 1966 when Nkrumah was overthrown our per capita income fell even lower. As Nii Moi Thompson explained, falling prices of cocoa and gold in the world market marked the genesis of his economic problems. Also, having taken a very entreanched position against the West bloc of the cold war, Nkrumah relied very heavily on the Eastern bloc for most his assistance. Thus puting his government at the centre stage of the East-West political rivalry. All geopolitical observers of the time are conversant with the manner the United State and it allies treated governments percieve to be at the wrong side of their Bloc. Most of the successful countries in Asia, with the exception of China belong to the Western Bloc of the Cold War. We can not speak of the success of South Korea without mentioning the importance of Western investment in that country after the Korean War. In fact, after the war it became a matter of national interest of the United States and it allies that South Korea succeeds. This however is not to down play the strong nationalism and the sense of purpose of the South Korean leadership to their success.

Nkrumah's internal political policies and his attempt to entrench himself and the CPP as the only political party in the country, the passage of the Prevention Detention Act and the subquent imprisonment of his opponents without any due process of the law are all contributors to his overthrow. It is the considered opinion of this writer that by the time Nkrumah was overthrown he had vertually become a cult in Ghanaian politics. In fact the subsequent political instabilities and various military intervention in Ghanaians politics could all be attributed to him. The reason is that Nkrumah met Ghana a democratic states, and by the time he was overthrown the country was a defacto one party state. All institutions of state revolved arround him and the CPP. I will urge readers not confuse the one system of India during Ghandi's era with that of Nkrumah. Ghandi's one party is a dominant one party system. By this we mean a process where a single party continously win every elections in a country. Nkrumah's one party is a defacto and dejury system. He outlawed every political party (except his CPP) in the country through a refrendum, and effectively made himself the president of Ghana for life. For these and many other reason that time and space will not allow to digress on, I humbly submit that it is therefore less likely that if Nkrumah had arround Ghana would achieve the kind of Economic success of South Korea.

During a public lecture at the University of Ghana in 2001 Professor Ali Mazrui made a very interesting observation about Kwame Nkrumah. He postulated that President Nkrumah was a better African than he is a Ghanaian, and I concorded to that. Although many Nkramaist may disagree or even get upset with Professor Ali's position, it hold's true that most of Dr Nkrumah's achievements revolved arround his concept of Pan-Africanism. Nkrumah was the first Africa leader to advocate for African Unity, and African "domestication". But whiles he was busily promoting his loudable vision for Africa, Nkrumah totally neglected the national cause. A cause that made him the Ghanaian leader in first place. It is now common knowledge that days before the 1966 coup he was adviced against travelling to China. This position was also confirm by Mr. K. B. Asante on Joy FM's Front Page recently. Either for right or wrong reasons Nkrumah seem to have putten his African agenda far ahead of Ghana's national agenda, to the extend that he was prepared to virtuall sacrifice his government for that cause.

I will conclude by reiterating that Nkrumah's Ghana could not be liked to South Korea. From the on set Ghana was at the wrong of the international political divide. Our then leader had taken a position bigger than our country and himself. "Monkeys, they say, dance in sizes" If you are not of equal size you do not attempt dancing with bigger monkeys or you will cause your own demise. Sadly, that was exactly the faith of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah. His internal politics also made him no good. Having said all these, I still believe that Nkrumah is one of Africa's greatest sons.

He scrificed himself for the cause of the continent. He championed the philosophy of African personality, he urged Africans to speak with a common voice on the international stage, and more importantly he admonished us to learn to find solutions to our problems without recourse to foreign solutions. His only problem is that his vision out lived himself, hence he saw what others could not see.

May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Abdul-Rahman
Ontario, Canada


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