Nkrumah was overthrown on February 24th, 1966. He was the first President of Ghana, but the whole story of his overthrow lies in the secret files of shadowy Intelligence outfits of foreign Governments, which desire to develop and keep their interests and fiefdoms in?Africa.
As time has gone on, trickles of information reveal cloak and dagger schemes by the CIA,?France?and?Britain?to effect his overthrow. John Stockwell, a CIA renegade, in 1978, revealed how agents within the?Ghana?military and Police were bribed to effect the coup which overthrew Nkrumah.
Before the coup, assassination attempts on Nkrumah’s life increased. Aid and financial credit to?Ghana?were withheld. The price of cocoa, a powerful foreign exchange earner for?Ghana, fell. It is said that by 1965,?Ghana?was producing twice the volume of cocoa she produced in 1958, and earning less money for that effort.
In an attempt to raise the international cocoa price, Nkrumah began to build silos at the port city of?Tema, to store cocoa and restrict output. These days, you read of the Washington-based World Cocoa Foundation, complaining that the supply of cocoa on the world market has gone down, and they need more of?Africa’s youth to go into cocoa farming.
In schools, Teachers and Professors were lecturing against Nkrumah’s Communist leanings, as an African dimension of the Cold War. Christian preachers painted him as Godless.?Ghana’s educated elite, raised in the image of the British aristocracy, saw it as their duty to give the country back to the British Queen and the?Westminster?Palace. Colonel Afrifa, a coup maker, wrote in ‘The Ghana Coup’ that he was raised in the best of British traditions, and was out to join his friends in?Canada?andAustralia, to fight and defend the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth is an Organization of former British colonies, loosely held together by a shared British history. You hardly ever hear of ‘the Commonwealth,’ if you live inChicago.
At base, what was at stake was a deep-seated interest to cheaply control and exploit?Africa’s agricultural and mineral resources.
At the time, Nkrumah’s overthrow was rationalized as an attempt to bring sanity to the world, but it was also an attempt to tighten the screws on?Africa?by a world which sees any attempt by a Black person to lift himself up as an ‘insurrection.’
Of?Africa’s triumvirate of most compelling leaders, Lumumba was killed, Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, and Nkrumah was overthrown. Nkrumah lived in?Guinea?after his overthrow. The enemies of a self-dependent?Africa?chased him there, spied on him, and ‘poisoned him through his Cooks’—according to a former Chicago African Taxi Driver who says a passenger revealed that to him. In April in 1972, Nkrumah died in Bucharest, Romania, where he had gone for medical treatment.
Since his death, Africa has had a string of nameless and colorless figures as leaders. Many of the unstated factors which conspired to undermine Nkrumah, still prevail–doing Africa in, in her attempt to build herself up.
Colonization itself was not meant to develop those parts of Africa where Europeans did not intend to settle permanently. Last week was very bad for Ghana and Africa. Accra-based Ghanaian journalist, Kwasi Gyan Apenteng, took a flight from Accra to Kumasi, in the hinterland of Ghana. On that flight, biscuits came from Malaysia, and a soft drink was from Bangla Desh. It made Gyan wail on his Face Book post: ‘….What are we good for?’ he asked the wind.
There is a woeful lack of technical development and Black business ownership in Africa. If the idea of the colonial white man was to keep Africa dependent on Europe in matters of technology, Africans have perpetuated that mission, in retaining schools which parrot social studies.
African States are an agglomeration of tribes, with different languages and loyalties. Nkrumah is credited with defeating tribalism, but I am of the school of thought which teaches that Independence swept that issue under the rug, in providing a national focus and consensus. My version of the truth is that, in many of the African countries, any peaceful or violent change in Government brings the nation closer to the edge of a tribal conflict. How you rule a nation with some eighty languages and tribes is a question no one has sufficiently answered, although that never stops critics from blaming the endemic shortcomings on Nkrumah.
Perhaps, it was his writings and commitment to an ideology of African unity, Pan-Africanism and Anti-imperialism– meant to motivate and inspire the African– which made some people regard him as ‘a threat.’ Since his death, Africa has staggered, and his writings and predictions have moved him to the top pedestal. In his time, ‘Nkrumah Never Dies’ became a mantra. In its origins, the rallying cry came from a play by high life music composer EK Nyame, who was among the first to see and embrace what Nkrumah stood for.
When Nkrumah took on the Osagyefo title, Bishop Roseveave, then Anglican Bishop of Accra, joined the country’s Christian Council in castigating him for comparing himself to Jesus. Today, the Akim Abuakwa King goes by the same ‘Osagyefo’ title, and nobody complains.
This was a country where the effigy of the British Queen had been embossed on the currency. It was also a country where people gave names of the British Monarchy to their children. And the British ‘Empire Day’ had been her most glorious of days. Nkrumah tried to put his own stamp on Ghana, and critics got hysterical.
The one-party State Nkrumah created in the CPP, and the imprisonment of opponents without trial, are some bad side Ghana stills reacts to– in her attempt to craft a nation guided by constitutionalism and multiparty democracy.
I am an Ashanti man, raised in a 1950’s Ashanti which saw Nkrumah as an opponent from an upstart tribe. At school, I was against his dictatorship. I was pro-British and pro-America. February 24th 1966. “Kwame Nkrumah is overthrown, and the myth surrounding him is broken,’ the coup-maker announced on the radio at dawn. It brought me joy. Three Russian teachers at our Secondary School were rounded up and shipped away. The little book in French, ‘Kwame Nkrumah de la Nouvelle Afrique,’ was withdrawn, and set on fire. And there was widespread jubilation, as the new regime tried to establish its legitimacy. From Guinea, Nkrumah would broadcast to Ghana, and speak evil of his enemies. That did not move me.
It was not until the end of 1969 that I began to change, and began to call myself a follower of Nkrumah. I still do not know what made me change, although some of it were in my earlier roots. This means I am latter-day convert to Nkrumah, following him at a time he was no longer in power.
Several schools of thought have emerged, claiming to best interpret what Nkrumah stood for. It is an ideological landmine. All I want to say is that he was the greatest of us all. All I can say is that Nkrumah brought depth to my being. Together with my parents, he helped humanize me. I like that man.