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Opinions of Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Columnist: Addai-Sebo, Akyaaba

Tsikata, Rawlings and the Fate of the CPP

The Convention People's Party (CPP) is struggling to pick itself up by its own bootstraps in Ghana. This has not been easy as the Rawlings regime crippled and destroyed the businesses and initiatives of Nkrumaists who would have been in a position to finance the revival of the CPP. In order to survive and hold on to that little dignity they had some Nkrumaists had to serve the purposes of Rawlings/Tsikata and so joined their ranks with some harbouring the hope of turning the National Democratic Congress (NDC) into an Nkrumaist party. The P/NDC drained the Nkrumaist front of its human resources and also paid lip-service to Nkrumaist ideals.

It has become apparent that for any regime to survive in Ghana they have to at least pay lip-service to the ideals of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. No one knew this better than Captain Kojo Tsikata and he exploited it to the full. Unknown to most progressives around the world, no one also knew Kojo Tsikata better than Nkrumah and his immediate family. While Nkrumah was living in Conakry, Guinea, Tsikata tried to associate himself with Nkrumah but Tsikata was denied audience. Nkrumah did not want Tsikata anywhere near him. It is the flaunted myth of Tsikata's perceived association with Nkrumaism that has rather betrayed the Pan-African cause and its roots in Ghana and almost succeeded in interring the CPP with its founder at the mausoleum in Accra. How else could one explain why it took the regime of Rawlings under the thumb of Tsikata to render Nkrumah's wife, Fathia, stateless by taking away her Ghanaian passport? When Rawlings seized power in late 1981 who did he appoint as his ambassador to the US, but Eric Otoo? Who was Eric Otoo? In Nkrumah's book, DARK DAYS IN GHANA, Eric Otoo is exposed as the compromised civil servant who was the link between the coup plotters and the Western intelligence community. Every Ghanaian should read Dark Days In Ghana.

There is a saying in Ghana that the insect that will bite you is found in your clothes. Franklin Williams, a mate of Nkrumah at Lincoln University, was appointed US Ambassador to Ghana in January 1966, at a critical time in the life of Ghana and the liberation process especially where Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Congo were concerned. Ghana hosted the OAU summit despite attempts by the west to get it boycotted and make it insignificant. The significance of Ghana hosting the OAU summit right after the heels of Nasser?s Egypt was that Nkrumah became the chairman of the 1965-66 period. Accra became the voice of Africa.

Meanwhile, Ian Smith had announced a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in Rhodesia and Nkrumah had asked British prime minister, Harold Wilson, to intervene. Wilson ridiculed Nkrumah by demanding if Nkrumah expected him to go and attack his 'kith and kin' in Africa? Nkrumah started to sensitize and mobilise Ghanaian troops to intervene with other willing states. It was during this critical period when Franklin Williams was placed in Accra some few weeks before Eric Otoo?s betrayal primed the coup plotters to strike on 24 February 1966 when Nkrumah had been importuned to go to Vietnam on a peace mission.

Until the CPP is purged of the influence of the traitors of the Pan-African revolution, its revival will take a longer time and by a far younger generation. But the veil of treachery that has crippled the CPP is being lifted by the tremendous impact of the 50th anniversary of independence celebrations in 2007 (which was incidentally boycotted by Rawlings). Ghanaians and especially the youth started asking questions to examine themselves in relation to the struggle for independence.

When people cast their eyes across the skyline of Ghana, whatever that gives them a sense of national pride and accomplishment is what Nkrumah and the CPP established. They then began to ask themselves as to what the successive regimes had done and especially during the twenty years of the ?absolute power? reign of Rawlings. Some of the youth kept asking why they knew so little about Nkrumah and his books are not prescribed text books? Ghanaians are now waking up to the fact that it was rather the Rawlings/Tsikata regime that asset-stripped their national wealth, destroyed the education system, heightened institutional corruption and ethnocentric politics and monetised electoral politics. The irony of it all is that Ghanaians have had to be contented with the fact that the very forces who opposed Nkrumah and the CPP?s 'Self-Government Now' rallying call for independence were now in power, in the person of President Kufuor, to celebrate 50 years of independence. The power and glory of Nkrumah electrified the air and caught the imagination of Ghanaians. President Kufuor, the patient listener, assessed the mood of the nation well.

As 6 March 2007 approached, Kufuor sent a delegation to Rawlings to invite him to participate in the celebrations but Rawlings turned him down and boycotted the historic event. But the Pan-African world, recalling the dedication of Ghana's independence to the Pan-African struggle, turned up in Accra to give meaning and honour to Nkrumah and Ghana. Much often the instrument through which Nkrumah and Ghana had used to effectively advance the cause of the Pan-African revolution is hardly given any credit or officially recognised. But it was to take the death of Nkrumah's wife, Fathia, to revive the fortunes of the CPP instrument.

Fathia Nkrumah died on 31 May 2007. President Kufuor had dutifully visited her in hospital a few days before she died in Cairo. It must be recalled that president Kufuor had restored the status of Fathia by returning to Fathia, her passport seized by Rawlings/Tsikata. Kufuor had also handed back the residential property in Accra seized from Fathia by Rawlings/Tsikata. (Imagine that just before Nkrumah left on that fateful journey to Hanoi in February 1966, he had prepared his will and left all he had to the CPP with the proviso that the CPP would take care of his family?

And Kojo Tsikata knew that the Nkrumah family had nothing and the property in question was provided to Fathia during the regime of General Acheampong.) President Kufuor withstood protestations from within his own party and went with public mood and accorded Fathia a memorable state funeral. Rawlings attended but Tsikata was remarkably absent. The CPP was accorded full respect and recognition at the state funeral and the media added their voice. What was significant was that Gamal Gorkeh Nkrumah, Fathia's eldest son, in his tribute, failed to acknowledge Rawlings and went on to state categorically in a booming voice that: ?President Kufuor will go down in history as the Ghanaian leader who presided over the burial of Fathia Nkrumah. Nobody can take that singular honour away from him.? Kufuor saw to it that Fathia was buried close to the husband at the mausoleum.

The CPP is going to congress on 15 December 2007 to select a presidential candidate to contest the forthcoming 2008 elections. Because of the lack of resources the congress has had to be postponed several times. It is hoped that who ever emerges would be a true Nkrumaist candidate who would truly advance the cause of Nkrumaism. The CPP shall be consigning itself to a relative state of obscurity if the delegates allow themselves to be manipulated to choose an executive team with a presidential candidate who owes an iota of allegiance to Tsikata and/or Rawlings. The conspiratorial and perfidious hands of those who have kept the CPP down all these years must be severed in the national interest.

Ghanaians are demanding change and some have been urging all 'Nkrumaist' forces, especially those who circumstances forced them to cross over to Rawlings? NDC, to return ?home? and rally behind the CPP. Such is the wish of Ghanaians that the CPP could pick itself up and challenge purposefully to win state power. The demand for change is palpable and what has become obvious is that the handicap of resources is real as wining state power is a very expensive business. Those who have the resources are those who have held state power recently like Rawlings/Tsikata and also the incumbent. And both the Rawlings and Kufuor parties are of similar historical background but divided along micro-ethnic lines when they fought over state power after their accomplices in the police and army overthrew the CPP regime in 1966. Rawlings and Tsikata see as their hero, Lt. General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka who is credited for staging the coup against Nkrumah. Kotoka was killed in a failed counter-coup on 17 April 1967. The Accra airport was named after Kotoka and a statue was erected at the forecourt in his honour as an affront to Nkrumah. Rawlings and his party members marched on to the village of Kotoka on 17 April 2007 to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of their hero who overthrew Nkrumah, exposed the liberation camps to the western diplomatic corps, arrested and paraded the freedom fighters before the imperialist press and handed some over to the enemies of the Pan-African revolution.

Can Kojo Tsikata explain to the world how and why he found common cause with those who see traitor Kotoka as their hero? Why did Nkrumah refuse to have Captain Kojo Tsikata anywhere near him when he was in Guinea? Who were the military officers who teamed up with the police to overthrow Nkrumah? Were they not the very same officers who had served in Congo and betrayed Lumumba and the cause of the Pan-African revolution when they prevented Lumumba from broadcasting to the nation at that crucial moment when Lumumba needed to speak to his people and expose the treachery of Mobutu and thereby rally the population to counter the on going American CIA operation to seize the heart of Africa? It was Nkrumah who warned us all that to allow the imperialists to seize the Congo was tantamount to seizing the heart of Africa as the Congo is the heart of Africa.

A case in point here is the role of Eric Otoo. Just before Nkrumah left for Hanoi, on 21 February 1966, he had handed over to Otoo a dossier on the alleged diamond smuggling activities of the then Chief of Police and also head of the CID. Nkrumah had instructed Otoo to work on the dossier as he was going to deal with it on his return from Vietnam. Otoo went and passed on the dossier to the very senior police officers concerned. Who were these officers? They were respectively, JWK Harley and A K Deku who plotted the 1966 coup together with Col. Kotoka and Major Kwasi Amankwaa Afrifah. And who were Harley and Deku dealing with in diamonds but the *Israeli intelligence? And when Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966 who jubilated the most but Ian Smith, Roy Welensky and the Israeli community in Salisbury (now Harare), Rhodesia? Was Harley not alleged to be one of the ?midnight? advisers to the Rawlings/Tsikata regime? Where is Deku now? Is he the one who has been honoured by the Kufuor regime as a member of the august body of The Council of State? May be it is the death of Harley that denied him such a singular honour/reward. Such an honour/reward was certainly not denied Eric Otoo when he was appointed as ambassador to the US by Rawlings/Tsikata. But more anon!

Why would Tsikata be so silent when stalwarts of the CPP like Krobo Edusei and Kwesi Armah were hauled to jail for nearly eight years while Tsikata handled national security? Was it not through the sterling efforts of Krobo Edusei and Kwesi Armah that propelled an Nkrumaist party, the People?s National Party (PNP), to win elections in 1979? Who overthrew the PNP government on 31 December 1981 but Rawlings/Tsikata? True Nkrumaist forces have always been democratic and contested to win state power through popular elections and have not sought to seize state power by force of arms or threat of violence.

Now, all begin to fall into place and make sense when we try to unravel what Dr. Amical Cabral, leader of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), meant when he said at the funeral of Nkrumah in Conakry that Nkrumah was killed by the cancer of betrayal. Can Tsikata explain to all progressive forces, from Cuba, through Venezuela to South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Libya why no funeral of Nkrumah has been conducted in Ghana? Of all the regimes after 24 February 1966 who were in a position to do so than that of Rawlings/Tsikata? When Rawlings and Tsikata found it in their interest to remove the mortal remains of Nkrumah from Nkroful to Accra (before Rawlings could mutate into a Mufti President in 1992) why did they have to abandon all cultural protocol due the Nkrumah family and instead chose to use military force and intimidation?

If Cabral was not properly heard in April 1972, he should be heard loudly now for Nkrumah was downed by the cancer of betrayal. It was Nkrumah?s insistence, as OAU chairman, that Africa has to collectively act decisively and quickly in Rhodesia against UDI that hastened the machinations of the west to destroy Nkrumah and the CPP. There is a Jewish saying that even the termite knows that in order to bring down a building you have to penetrate it. If we do not learn from history we are condemned to repeat the errors of the past. And the nightmare of Zimbabwe may be understood better when Pan-Africa wake up to the parallel with Ghana?s nightmare under a British Labour party government. When Harold Wilson came into power in October 1964 Nkrumah was as elated at the possibilities as Mugabe was when Tony Blair?s New Labour assumed power in May 1997. It was the British Labour party, the Anglican and Catholic churches that became the nemesis of both Nkrumah and his CPP and now Mugabe and his Zanu-PF both of whom have the cockerel as their party symbol. And who has President Bush just appointed as his ambassador to Zimbabwe but an African-American, James D. McGee? Has McGee been programmed to do to Mugabe what Williams did to Nkrumah? Lest we forget, Nkrumah never forgave Ambassador Williams, his mate at university and a fellow African. In his book, Dark Days In Ghana, Nkrumah said Ambassador Williams' ?treachery provides a sharp reminder of the insidious ways in which the enemies of Africa can operate. In the US, the Uncle Tom figure is well known. We have mercifully seen less of him in Africa.?

It is uncanny but there is a saying that if you want to know about death look at sleep. Mugabe refuses to sleep buoyed by the hindsight of Nkrumah and how Chiluba, a trade unionist, was used to dispose of president Kaunda in Zambia.

The future of the CPP has become the responsibility of all those surviving Pan-Africanists who still understand the sacrifices made by the CPP when its leader on the eve of independence declared that the independence of Ghana was meaningless unless it was linked to the total liberation of the African continent. The true ?liberation? parties have come under constant attack and the RED COCKEREL is sounding a wake up call to all Pan-Africanists!

For the CPP to survive, the myth surrounding Kojo Tsikata must be broken and especially in the minds of those who have been deceived into believing that Tsikata is the best thing that happened to Ghana. Come December 15, the CPP will have to demonstrate to Ghanaians and other well-wishers that they are in readiness to contest for and win state power. The delegates will demonstrate this when they vote into office a truly Nkrumaist machinery and a standard-bearer, chairman, general-secretary and a central committee exactingly independent, self-confident and inspiring whose deeds would do honour to our national motto of Freedom and Justice. The new leadership should then be guided by the teachings in Dr. Ephraim Amu?s rallying anthem, ?YEN ARA ASASE NI? (This Is Our Land).

The delegates have an obligation to Ghana and Africa and they should use the congress floor to cleanse the CPP of those who Nkrumah aptly referred to as 'quislings' and to make Nkrumah proud. A reborn CPP will have every opportunity to either win state power or hold the balance of power in Ghana. It has become a national and Pan-African interest that the CPP rises up again!

Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, Independent Consultant of National and Pan-African Interest ?1 December 2007 25 Azania Mews, London, NW5 3BW, UK addai@37.com

*Israel's Military Aid to Africa, 1960-66 Abel Jacob The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Aug., 1971), pp.


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