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Opinions of Friday, 4 November 2011

Columnist: Akosomo, Kwadwo Nyantakyi

Pt#2: Nkrumah’s Image Will Continue To Haunt CPP.

Soon after Ghana attained independence on March 6, 1957, Nkrumah’s government legalized the imprisonment without trial in 1958 of those it regarded as security risks. The dastardly act committed under this legislation makes his reign period of infamy.

TURMOIL: Nkrumah unleashed mayhem on Ghanaians in his attempt to secure himself as life president of Ghana. He used the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) to oppress and suppress Ghanaians.

With the PDA people were often held without trial, and the people held were mostly bread winners of their families bringing untold hardship to families and communities. There was no method of recourse. The detainees were put in dark Rooms in prisons with no chance of seeing light or day for years. Many died in detention; some were hanged; others suffered permanent eye damage and some detainees have been missing till this day.

BIG SIX: J.B. Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebe Lamptey, Ako Adjei, Akuffo Addo, William Offori Atta, Kofi Baako and Kwame Nkrumah known as the big six were amongst the pioneers who championed the cause of our independence but Nkrumah did not leave them in peace, he victimized each one of them due to his insecurity.

Dr J.B.Danquah: Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey and J.B Danquah were tortured to death in detention. Nkrumah’s controlled news papers and radio reported J.B. Danquah died of heart failure on Feb. 8, 1965. However, in near bye Nigeria, the Times reported the gory details of JB’s torturing and death. When J.B Danquah’s death was reported, Nigerian President Namdi Azikiwe in his tribute, publicly rebuked Nkrumah, “I am of the considered opinion that if Independence means the substitution of alien rule for an indigenous tyrant, then those who struggled for independence for former colonial territories have not only desecrated the cause of human freedom but they have betrayed their people”

Ako Adjei: During the inauguration of UGCC, Ako Adjei was offered the post of General Secretary of UGCC, he accepted but informed the committee that he knows someone, a close friend, who can actually help in the cause to achieve Independence. He was given the chance and he invited Kwame Nkrumah from London to assume the position of General Secretary of UGCC and he stepped aside. It is safe to say that without Ako Adjei, Ghana’s Independence might have taken a different turn. However, on August 1, 1962 while Nkrumah was returning from a meeting at Tunkudugu in Upper Volta, a bomb was thrown at him at Kulungugu in Upper Region. In striking back, Nkrumah arrested scores of Ghanaians, including three of his top aides: Information Minister Tawia Ada-mafio, Foreign Minister Ako Adjei, and Convention People's Party Chief H. H. Cofie-Crabbe. A special court constituted by Chief Justice K. Arku Korsah, Justice vanLare and Justice E. Akufo Addo found the treason charges circumstantial and fraudulent and absolutely discharged the three. Despite the Special Court’s decision the three were not allowed to leave Nsawam prison. Nkrumah declared the judgment null and void, dismissed the Judges of the Special Committee including the Chief Justice. A second Special Committee led by the newly appointed Chief Justice of Ghana Mr Justice Sarkodee Addo as a sole member sitting with a jury of twelve young-men, recruited from the Kwame Nkrumah ideological College sentenced the three to death. The Chief Justice wept openly while sentencing the three. The trial took place at Christiansburg Castle, the head quarters of Nkrumah’s CPP. Ako Adjei had no lawyer because the one who had defended him in the first trial was already detained at Nsawam.

William Ofori Atta: Detained under the Preventive Detention Act for no reason because Nkrumah felt insecure with him being around.

John Akuffo Addo: Dismissed and detained for discharging Ako Adjei and others on treason charges.

Plunder of the Nation: As he himself was immersed in wanting to become the president of united Africa his followers went on uncontrolled plunder of the nation. They required ten percent of every contract signed. In a period of 9 years after independence, most of them had become owners of multiple buildings, even one person had as many as 22 houses (Story buildings) while it took a well paid civil servant 10 years to build 3 bedroom house. When one of Nkrumah’s cronies was questioned about his exorbitant lifestyle, he replied, "Socialism doesn't mean that if you've made a lot of money, you can't keep it." Nkrumah lost touch with realities in Ghana while he concentrated his attention on his dreams of controlling all of black Africa. His administration became involved in ruinous development projects, so that a once-prosperous country became crippled with foreign debt. Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian novelist, thought “the new democracy allowed the wrong people to take control”.

Instead of political reforms to abate the general discontent in the country, Nkrumah continued to hit the people harder with his position as president for life, but the will of the people is mightier than oppression and suppression. Detention therefore became an exercise in futility because the more people Nkrumah detained the more enemies he made for himself. The people fought back with tooth and nail and Accra was the battle grounds against tyranny. So grave was the situation that a long-scheduled visit by India's Prime Minister Nehru in 1965 was called off for the humiliating reason that Ghanaian police could not guarantee his safety. Troops with guns and light tanks guarded the approaches to Flagstaff House where Nkrumah, afraid to appear in public, had made himself a virtual prisoner.

Nkrumah toppled: Whoever thinks Nkrumah’s ouster was engineered by misguided few could be naive; Nkrumah himself suspected everybody was against him. He unleashed his special branch security cops to comb government offices, frisked members of Parliament for arms outside the Assembly building. Even the troops he had called in to guard the city were suspect. Accra was in a state of emergency. Thousands of steel-helmeted soldiers in full battle kit ringed the city while rifle-toting security cops raced from house to house in search of arms and explosives. By day, reconnoitring army helicopters whirred at treetop level. In February 1966, while Nkrumah was on a state visit to Vietnam, Ghanaians breathed a sigh of relief; the military overthrew him in a bloodless coup. The tumultuous celebration that followed his ouster has never been seen in any part of the world. Ghanaians celebrated in the streets as they cheered in the demise of a person who started with them as veranda boy and after he had won power changed into monster.

In conclusion: It must be noted that when Nkrumah took over as Prime Minister in 1952, the nation was enjoying prosperity; foreign and domestic reserves were healthy; cocoa prices were excellent and stable and, in general, the prospects for the country's future were outstanding. But in the end Nkrumah led a country enjoying favourable balance of trade, with a reserve of £650,000m to a debt of $1. 5 billion and bankruptcy. Also Ghanaians were betrayed because the former political prisoner of deep nationalist conviction they had run to for safety turned out to be narcissistic, self absorbed dictator. This is indelible blight which is plaguing CPP and will continue to decimate CPP for many years to come.

Kwadwo Nyantakyi Akosomo

Toronto