The presence of Nkrumah will always be felt not only in Ghana, not only in Africa but also everywhere in the world. Honest historians like Prof. Basil Davidson in his video series “Africa”-Parts 1-8, exposes the savagery of European explorers, their heartlessness, uncivilised attitude, let alone their untutoredness about what their mission ought to be to Africa. Basil Davidson in “Africa and its Explorers” …motives, methods and impact, writes without apology. He is a teacher and teaches only what took place or was or is, or exists, notwithstanding on whose toes he is stepping.
What will his fellow Europeans say? …What have they said on watching his series “Africa”, or watching “The Africans” also produced by the eminent Prof. Ali Mazrui?
“The Africans” make a strong connection between our current economic, political and cultural condition in Africa and the colonial heritage, a connection that is recognised by people who study Africa, but not by the general public. Our problems are usually attributed to our people’s being uneducated or corrupt or socialistic, or what have you. Indeed, not to the fact that we have been exploited or because we inherited certain institutions from the colonial period designed for the benefit of European countries rather than for our own.
The Mazrui’s series is even-handed. It corrects the bias perpetuated by the West on Africans and also shows Africa’s mistakes. The hostile response by some Western critics is only a further demonstration that the West strongly insist that we continue to do things their way, including how we see ourselves and our history.
Livingstone, Stanley, Burton, Cameron, Barth, Thomson, Rohlfs, Baker and Speke were all men who played a significant role in the opening up of Africa to the Western world. Yet European understanding of their own contributions is still only partial. The bibliographical sketches and the accompanying illustrations in this valuable endeavour—a compilation of Davidson examines the ways in which each explorer encountered Africans and Africa. He proves that African destiny ought to be decided by Africans in Africa. A look back…! Whither Africa?
The rise of nationality among African leaders who after all, (most of them) were products of northern schools ought not to be anything else than what Europeans perceived, and therefore put up a veritable machine to thwart Africa’s progress towards self-determination. Many of them were soaked up by the European gymnastics to look up to them for everything even after successfully attaining sovereign status for their nations.
Some of these liberation leaders like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Kenneth David Kaunda, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Felix Moumie, Um Nyobe, Jomo Kenyatta, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Robert Mugabe, Sekou Toure, Modibo Keita, Ben Bella etc. sought independence beyond the formal declaration intended by the colonialist powers to appease the shallow personal ambitions of their black stooges.
African nations owe so much to Nkrumah and all his friends named above. In an earlier commentary we said that the fact that most of them perished in the struggle to develop Africa, by no means in the words of Arthur Nwanko, closes the chapter on their role in the African Revolution. Dr. Nkrumah had aptly labelled the “ongoing struggle for economic as well as political independence of the African continent as a ‘revolution’.
In this write-up we are not poised to examine the Nkrumah anti-ideology for the entire emancipation of the African continent and the projection of the African personality. It cost nothing to make extracts of it before we embrace the folly of his anti-propaganda by Africa’s enemies and their stooges.
On March 6th, 1957, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, leader of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in Ghana led his country, a British colonial territory to independence. This victory won in Ghana upsurged the whole continent of Africa and gave occasion to contemplation and agitation to most British and French, including other backward colonialist territories. The victory won in Ghana also, kicked-off the clock of freedom, for all dependent territories which were to gain impetus in the early sixties.
In 1960, Ghana continued its political revolution, setting the other territories still suffering under the colonial yoke in motion to freedom by becoming a Republic.
Ghana became a sojourners destination with a great zeal to seeing Africa united and free. Ghana became the Mecca for Pan-Africanism.
Before 1965, Ghana had identified herself, through the able leadership of President Nkrumah as champion of the African liberation course. It almost became impossible to talk of African nationalism and idealism without due recourse to President Nkrumah’s efforts and vehement struggle to emancipate and champion the African doctrine of freedom.
President Nkrumah was highly popular and regarded as the architect of the visibly impressive social and economic achievement, which led Ghana out of colonial backwardness to the threshold of a modern State. This was a great pride to most selfless Ghanaians of the pioneering efforts; their country had made in the struggle for African liberation in the field of Pan-Africanism. Above all, Ghanaians were very pleased with the personal reputation, which President Nkrumah had achieved in international politics.
Dr. Nkrumah upheld his 1957 declaration when Ghana became independent that:
“The independence of Ghana is nothing unless it is linked with the liberation of Africa.”
He had since worked tirelessly for the freedom of the continent of Africa, fighting vehemently and stubbornly too for African unity and economic independence. He had declared that:
“There could be no true African independence without economic self-sufficiency.”
His economic performance may have paled before his socio-political achievements but not for lack of trial. It is openly known that President Nkrumah galvanised the governmental machine he took over in 1951 for the expansion of education, the road network and development of health and other welfare services. He bravely combated the fissiparous tendencies in the country’s politics as well as the blight that attacked the main agricultural crop, cocoa. But above these, he inspired the ordinary Ghanaian with a feeling of strength and patriotism that in time made the country the vortex of the African Revolution.
His critics stressed that the State enterprises started by the Nkrumah regime were nothing but white elephants, particularly the colossal £8million Conference Hall which critics described as a monument to Nkrumah’s wasteful ambition. Basil Davidson in his video commentary on this edifice—Parts 5,6,7 said:
“This complex built for the OAU in Accra is a reminder of Nkrumah’s consuming drive for African unity, which was to lead ironically, and even disgracefully to his downfall. His critics were able with increasing truth to accuse him of neglecting or mishandling the affairs of his own country. In 1966 while he was away in the Far East on a mission aimed at helping to make peace for Vietnam, discontented generals rebelled and overthrew his government. He had to live out his last years in silent exile where he died in 1972. Yet his place in modern African history was already assured as certainly controversial but powerful force for liberating change.” (Africa Series, Written & Presented by Basil Davidson)
Nevertheless, Nkrumah’s critics on accusing him did not see less defensible squandermania and stashing away of State funds into Swiss Banks, building of prestige bungalows in foreign capitals practised by heartless African leaders. The f8 million Conference Hall is there for all Ghanaians and this is much to be appreciated than the building of private palaces by Heads of State or of Government in their own country with State funds, purchasing hospitals and castles in Europe, swindling of State funds to swell French, American and Swiss Banks, construction of inflated airport domes etc.
This is what Mokwugo Okoye states in defence of President Nkrumah:
“In fairness to Nkrumah, it should be said his government enterprises helped to stem the tide of mass unemployment in Ghana and laid the foundation for industrialisation and the further development of the national economy under the succeeding “men of Thermidor”, little men of great inheritance, who naively thought they could do better than the architect of their country’s independence and engineered his overthrow.”
It is in irony of fate that those who had described his “preventive detention” of reactionary tribalists and neo-colonialist fifth-columnists as dictatorial, could not even attempt to reform his legacy without claiming thousands of his nationalists-supporters into prison and dismantling the State enterprises and social services that he had established to make real the political independence of Ghana.
Mokwugo Okoye states once more that the truth would be that:
“…The birth pangs of the new Ghana were not ended by the Act of Independence on March 6th1957. The resurgence of anachronistic feudalism in Ashanti and the Northern Territories and the envy of the big bourgeoisie who had been displaced from the position of influence by the Nkrumah’s CPP soon led to a clamour for loosening the bonds that held them in the Ghanaian State, and their resort to violence in an attempt to achieve their end compelled Nkrumah to introduce “preventive detention” legislation aimed against the rightists (including the newly-appointed secretary of the CPP, Mr. Tawia Adamafio and Nkrumah’s old colleague and foreign minister Mr Ako Adjei, who were later acquitted by the Supreme Court) and, ultimately also the one-party system.”
It was in demand for a return to the ancient days of separate and warring tribes and chiefly pomp that cannot be justified in the modern world, even if one experiences a transient feeling of guilt in sweeping away the impotent feudal and bourgeois forces not all of whom may be intrinsically evil. And we know that people are more tempted to hold fast to their practices than readily accept new ideas and practices alien to them even if in the end they would gain immensely.
Development in whatever form is SAM or MAS if reversed, because it invariably involves in its execution: (Subtraction, Addition and Multiplication) that is why Mokwugo Okoye summarises thus:
“The price of progress must be paid in the hard currency of destruction and suffering, and change must often result in the elimination of much in the old order that may be good (subtraction) and the introduction of a new (and progressive) order that may be painful.”
And, indeed, ‘there no pain like the pain of a new idea… it is so upsetting’ yet history is every day drumming dialectics into our dull heads and urging us to refit our social system in order to survive in the modern world.
And as the tough-minded Eric Hoffer contends (1951):
“…The difference between the conservative and the radical seem to spring mainly from their attitude toward the future. Fear of the future causes us to lean against and cling to the present, while faith in the future renders us receptive to change. Both the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, they who have achieved much or little can be afraid of the future. When the present seems so perfect that the most we can expect is its even continuation in future, change can only mean deterioration. Hence men of outstanding achievement and those who live full, happy lives usually set their faces against drastic innovation.”
And it is not because a few conservatives refuse to accept the need for change that the suffering majority should be allowed to perish. Jawaharlal Nehru had this to say:
“Only life itself with its bitter lessons forces us along new paths and ultimately, which is far harder, makes us think differently.”
Even President Nkrumah has in concluding his autobiography “Ghana: The Autobiography of…” stated:
“I have never regarded the struggle for the independence of the Gold Coast as an isolated objective but always as apart of a general world historical pattern. The African in every territory of this vast continent has been awakened and the struggle for freedom will go on. It is our duty as the vanguard force to offer what assistance we can to those now engaged in the battles that we ourselves have fought and won. Our task is not done and our own safety is not assured until the last vestiges of colonialism have been swept from Africa.”
Is there any way one can genuinely talk of the African Revolution without mentioning Kwame Nkrumah? No! It stinks to hear people argue about how a human being ought to be perfect. This shows how ignorant some people are about their own very nature, let alone generalising it… the nature of man! No man is beyond the commission of error. Man has to make mistakes and it is one of his birthrights. Man’s very imperfection is a requirement in our existence because by every human standard, a perfect world would be too near hell for any human to live in, contended Rabindranath Tagore. According to him,
“man has to live in an imperfect world, learn from the negative side of it, and the knowledge gained should add another dimension to his being.”
A few shallow Western and African critics demanded perfection from Nkrumah. Professional faultfinders were set loose on him and advertised any fault he made no matter how trivial. The Western Press especially the American sector, unleashed an avalanche of propaganda about Africa since before the overthrow of Nkrumah.
Charles P. Howard in commenting from New York published by “Africa & the World”, August 1966, stated that:
“The New York Times particularly had been giving an incredible amount of space to diagnosing and analysing a large number of African countries. As a matter of fact, it had sent one of its older correspondents (surely a professional liar and propagandist), Drew Middleton, who had spent most of his later years in Europe, on a swing around Africa, purportedly to interview Africans to show how dissatisfied they were with current African leaders and their policies and to point up all that was wrong with African countries, the economies and their policies. These articles, rather left-handedly, paid great attention and tribute to the military take-over leaders, and to as nearly as possible, divest them of the aroma of being tools of the West, who had been victimised by the C.I.A. M16 and other Western organisations then actively subverting African governments.” (Vol. 2, No. 23, pp.11-12)
It was an open propaganda machine; supported by the United States’ tops, otherwise there would have been fear that these articles which hardly gave more than the official USA line in various black African countries, entirely overlooking the views of those who took an independent pro-African stance, should have been controlled.
Drew Middleton went down into Rhodesia and South Africa where he came out singing the praise of white-dominated parts of Southern Africa where blacks Africans had no human dignity.
Following the production of that series, three of a series of four other articles generalising about Africa had been written and produced. The point of all three articles was to play down all independent, black-loving African leaders, and warn them that their days were numbered if they did not give up their African freedom and dignity and come over and apply for second-rate citizenship on the “LBJ”-Lyndon Barnes Johnson Ranch.
However, it is only normal, if not usual, to let a white man talk long enough if you let him to talk about Africa. He will give you sufficient information, said Howard, with which to bat his brains out, and Drew Middleton had done just that in several instances.
The underlying theme of all Western propaganda then
was to justify the vicious act of subverting the Ghana police and army, getting to oust Kwame Nkrumah in his absence. The propaganda line against Nkrumah had been that his prestige spending including the general economic policies had brought the Ghanaian economy to the brink of disaster and its people to near starvation. They reported imaginary protest campaigns to justify their act.
In this connection, there is no record of any protest of the people of Ghana under Nkrumah, by way of a “hunger protest march” of any demand of the people for more food, nor any speech in parliament, against starvation, nor any other kind of public expression by the public of dissatisfaction of the masses with economic conditions.
As a matter of fact, all these economic claims were then being rolled off the propaganda machine by White propagandists, and were mouthed by the so-called “National Liberation Council” then ruling Ghana under the puppet, Joseph Ankrah.
Herewith an honest economic report of the Ghana situation at that time and it states that:
“…Ghana’s economic problems did not stem from prestige spending nor from wrong economic policies but from manipulation abroad of cocoa prices, Ghana’s principal product of its economy, which accounts for 75% of the country’s export earning, and thus its foreign exchange reserves…”
Indeed, it is worth pointing out again that the price of cocoa, manipulated primarily on the New York and London stock market, dropped from 72 cents a pound in 1954 to 12 cents a pound in 1965, and this item alone, was responsible for the great struggle that Nkrumah had to keep the Ghanaian economy afloat, which in spite of it all, he succeeded in doing.
In an article released on May 10, 1966 in the New York Times, Drew Middleton said:
“Most African countries are primary producers depending on Western markets. A small change in the price of one commodity can ruin an African country’s economy for a year.”
The question squares up: If “a small change in the price of one commodity can ruin an African country’s economy for a year” what do you think that eight years, not of a “small change in the price” but a sharp drop from 72 cents to 12 cents would do to the economy of a country?
Drew Middleton should have been made to realise what 600% DROP could do or mean to the economy of a country!
May 2, 1966, the London Times also had this to say:
“In the eyes of the Western diplomacy the change that has come over the political aspect of West Africa in the past six months looks encouraging. In the long struggle for influence in the emerging societies of the most sophisticated region of Africa, the East has been in retreat since the downfall of Ben Bella last June. The overthrow of President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana on February 24 may well not be the last in a series of coups and shake-ups, which have filled so many aircrafts with Russian and Chinese technicians or diplomats.
“Less than a year ago the map of West Africa from the Congo to Dakar and Algiers was a chessboard of what are inaccurately, but conveniently, described as ‘east-leaning and ‘west-leaning’ or ‘moderate’ and ‘militant’ states’—though the formal stance of them all, is non-alignment and pan-Africanism.
“Today the lynch-pin of African moderation on political attitudes—the group of French-Speaking States led by President Houphouet-Boiny of Ivory Coast which includes Upper Volta and Niger, and is flanked with American orientated Liberia—is no longer sandwiched between militants actively plotting subversion. Now a solid block of States under the control of moderate leaders stretches from the Congo to the frontier of Guinea”
No one doubted among the African leaders except the conscientiously foolish ones, who had ignominiously rejected with exemplary contempt, the unmerited counsel of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah that, what Western propagandists would have them believe was that their struggle was aimed at keeping African countries from “Communist domination.”
There was no such thing! To maintain a capitalist economy there must be a constant flow of raw materials and ever-expanding market for manufactured goods. And that if African countries were permitted to industrialise, to build their own factories, to modernise their agriculture as Nkrumah had advanced, they could take their raw materials, manufacture them into needed consumer goods and not have to buy them at terribly inflated prices from outside sources. If this were permitted it would mean breaking the flow of cheap raw materials from the African producers to the Western manufacturers, thereby halting the ever-expanding market for manufactured goods.
This was the reason for staging all the coups that then occurred across Africa. There was no wonder why the hysterical joy over the overthrow of President Nkrumah. This was what Drew Middleton and other Western propagandists such as Rita Hinder (author of “Seeing Africa Without Tears” in ‘Insight’ a quarterly review of current affairs– The World Today, page 20, 1966—published by the British High Commission (62/64 Campbell Street, Lagos-Nigeria), and Dame Margery Perham both of the Fabian Bureau.
They were so fanatically engaged or rushing about Africa, trying to warn African leaders such as Dr. Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Sekou Touré, Modibo Keita, Dr. Milton Obote, Emperor Haile Selasie and Massamba Debat of Tanzania, Guinea, Mali, Uganda, Ethiopia and Congo (Brazza) respectively. They were asking them to hurry and take space on the “LBJ” Ranch in the USA. And Lyndon Barnes Johnson was then the 36th President of the USA.
The frantic propaganda drive was laid out in an East versus West pattern, designed to show how Russia and China were responsible for all the problems of African leaders. This was not true! Africa’s problems were simply too much intoxicating advice, too much domination and too much exploitation by the thievish West. And experience has shown that those who complain most are just those to be most complained about. The West was chief complainant against the East and did this most of the time to justify why they employed dirty acts against an African country by calling it names or its leader, communist!
Nkrumah had warned against all the foregoing but had been suspected by his peers, many of whom were intoxicated with Western propaganda into thinking that he was canvassing for a union government in Africa in order to be elected the President of the United States of Africa. Africa’s raw materials are needed by the Western economy which also needs Africa’s millions as a market for her manufactured goods.
In the past the West got these raw materials for nothing… practically free, because Africa was colonised by the Western powers. Besides, because of the independence of the African countries, this was upset making the acquisition of essential raw materials difficult. And in order to recapture them on the most favourable terms possible, they decided on setting up puppet regimes wherever possible, through the use of uncouth, and unpatriotic and untutored elements they could lure on with bribes, to execute their infamous coup d’etats against those in power who would not give in to them.
It was clear from the foregoing that accusing Dr. Nkrumah of ambitiously craving to become foremost in all of Africa was a mere smokescreen put up by imperialists and neo-colonialists, including their stooges. This was envisaged to cover the neo-colonialist plans, which could have been frustrated by a solid African unity, then becoming a springboard for economic reconstruction. No wonder why Africa’s enemies went rejoicing on the overthrow of the Nkrumah’s regime in Ghana. They were now convinced that their permanent obstacle to the complete employment of all the tools of economic and political exploitation of Africa had been uprooted. There would be no continuous preaching of the doctrine for the security and unity of Africa against the onslaughts of imperialists and neo-colonialists.
Dr. Nkrumah had envisaged that if Africa became united she could easily become the Third World force in international politics including the indisputable acquisition of economic sufficiency. And this is just what frightened the Western powers. They knew that Africa through Dr. Nkrumah’s enlightenment would long cease to be a looting ground for alien powers. In order to sustain their catalogued predatory vandalistic programmes in the continent of Africa, to salvage their collapsing economic situations, these imperialists and neo-colonialists decided upon evil propaganda through a vile campaign against Dr. Nkrumah.
Unfortunate for Africa, these vilified campaigns accompanied by pecuniary inducements, caught the whims of some easily influenced African leaders and stooges through whom they passed to destroy legitimate African governments.
Again, the question can be posed: How was Dr. Nkrumah dictatorial? It would be recalled that his CPP had won the first elections conducted right under the British colonial government. The colonialists could no more be disposed favourably to him. They had preferred tribal regionalists and self-seeking men like Dr. J.B. Danquah who were in favour of the balkanisation of Ghana.
If history is to be believed, it is only when he dealt with this dirty , unprincipled opposition that Nkrumah incurred the wrath of Western colonialists and their lackeys.
Before Ghana became a republic, a referendum decided this where he again won an overwhelming majority of over a million votes for president, against 125,000 for Dr. Danquah, the candidate of the coalition, representing the professional elite and certain ethnic groups. How then was he dictatorial?
Should Nkrumah have declined to be the first President of Ghana after he had won in the elections? Or, was it dictatorial because he advocated fighting for a true independent Africa? Or, to condemn the nazi-inspired apartheid South Africa and racist white supremacism then in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) was dictatorship?
Before Nkrumah’s arrival on the scene, Africa was little more than a vast slave plantation for the Western colonialists. Provocative enough, most of the people were content to live as spineless worms and lackeys of the overlords, panderers of fraud and defeatism. Many were even clamouring to gain elbowroom in the colonial system of exploitation and race-cum-class division. But thanks to his efforts and those of a conscious minority of nationalists, who were on the stage before he came. In fact, a veritable transformation was beginning, which culminated in independence for 38 African States by 1966.
Above all, Nkrumah was a fearless man. He was largely borne by his convictions. Without doubt, he stood for the total liberation of Africa and no African leader was more committed to this cause than he. To the question: Whom did Kwame Nkrumah anger? The Tanzanian President, Julius Nyerere told a London magazine:
“Certainly not Africa and not even friends of Africa. Now that he is removed,” he added: “Naturally, there must be rejoicing from right quarters.” (Africa & the World, London, Vol. 2 No. 19 – April 1966)
We had earlier observed that Nkrumah took-over power in Ghana in the same conditions that created authoritarian regimes, (read chapter 3) a conclusion also reached by Beatrice Webb, wife of the famous British Fabian Socialist Sydney, in a study of Soviet Russia written in 1942. According to Mokwugo Okoye:
“In fairness to Nkrumah, then, one could say that it would have been cowardly on his part to avoid acting in a revolutionary situation for fear of making mistakes or stepping on some people’s toes. For there is no progress without action, and a streamlined revolution is an event of which our world has no example. Struggle is the essence of life and development, as Marx insisted, is the struggle of opposites. Without political crises, the people will never know the truth of what is involved in the social struggle and fictions will be paraded to them as the gospel truth. Socialists, therefore know that they must sometimes stir the hornet’s nest and arouse the masses from stupor not only by words but by a ‘propaganda of the dead,’ There is a place of course for leisurely argument with the factions of the right, but as a role ‘positive action’ is the thing that heralds change in the basic structure of society.” (1980)
Because Nkrumah was a great threat to the manoeuvres of people in Washington, Salisbury, Lisbon, London and Pretoria, they invested enormously in propaganda to destroy him. Pretoria was very much troubled because Nkrumah forced her out of the Commonwealth in 1961. She fought day and night to blacken Nkrumah… his image while whitewashing the images of people like Moise Tshombe of the then Zaire (today The Democratic Republic of Congo), who were an asset to the perpetuation of Caucasoid racism. The West even initiated economic sanctions against him that were more effective than the ones it had initiated against Ian Smith’s Southern Rhodesia (now Mugabe’s Zimbabwe).
Ironically, the issue of strangulating freedom was hoisted against him so strongly, but those who shouted much on this were the same shameless ones who never seriously raised an outcry against Rhodesia and South Africa where the suppression of freedom had been proved to be a fact. These were not genuine advocates of freedom. It would be necessary to ask Nkrumah’s accusers: Why is it freedom fighters were welcomed from Southern Africa and the United States, in Ghana, if Nkrumah was an enemy of freedom?
And, in fact, reactionaries in Ghana who were opposed to him gave as one of the reasons, the point that much money was being wasted on these freedom fighters at the expense of the Ghanaian taxpayer. Indeed, Nkrumah was being attacked for his cardinal belief in social justice.
It is true that Nkrumah put many people in jail. But let us remember that there were more than six attempts on his life. He was everywhere haunted. By the American terrorists… styled Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.). These were spies, and others, from imperialist countries that were plotting to get rid of him. Hence, what is called freedom suppression was justified– Nkrumah had to impose a semi-martial law on Ghana in order to survive. These activities against a lawfully elected Government of a country deserve more condemnation than what Nkrumah did to curtail them. It would have been foolish of Nkrumah not to increase the security measures of his country.
Tone Mwenifumbo of Blantyre writing in the column “Forum” of Africa Magazine, (No.24, August 1973. Page 99) defending Africa’s foremost statesman, Kwame Nkrumah, had this to say about freedom… that:
“It is a very philosophic thing to understand, and it is better if we liberate ourselves from the mechanistic interpretation of it as we have from the West. In the Western world, the thinking of very conscientious individuals is never transplanted to the ears of the people by the commercialistic press. It is only the half-baked thoughts, hasty conclusions and rationalisation for the status quo that reach the ears of the people. Journalists with very limited knowledge of Ghana’s Nkrumah are the ones called upon to tell the people the truth. The voice of the conscientious man is drowned in the flood of propaganda in favour of the establishment.”
Nwenifumbo, therefore, regarded it as immaterial if Ghanaian journalists were not allowed to open their mouths as much as they wished. After all, many African journalists are also mere smart alecks like their Western counterparts. One should be disturbed to think that citizens who thought conscientiously about their country’s development were unable to have their views through to the right quarters… sabotaged! The views of Ghanaian journalists ought to be sought.
Ghanaians like the Jews must regret their folly towards Nkrumah as the latter did to Jesus! When Nkrumah was overthrown, even the master minders of this masochistic act, knew that the unpatriotic Ghanaians had brought a curse to themselves and to Ghana. Today, they know that it will take Ghana centuries to produce another Kwame Nkrumah… someone who will lead Ghana the way he did. African imperialist stooges who for the benefit of a toothache, had disparaged Nkrumah’s prophetic visionary counsel for the development of the continent, should regret wherever they are for plunging Africa into the throes of predatory and vandalistic or wanton exploitation by aliens.
Also, there was that foreign-inspired scepticism about the quality of his American education resulting in some questioning his ability as an intellectual. What was most ridiculous about this scepticism against an American educated person was the fact that dishonest American university professors, championed this campaign.. The question they may wish to answer will be for anyone to know whether Americans doubt their educational system or the academic credentials they deliver to their students?
As an American student in 1935 having worked through college and graduating as a Bachelor of Arts from Lincoln University in 1939 with a major in economics and sociology; he later obtained a Bachelor of Theology in the same university. In the University of Pennsylvania, he obtained the Master of Science degree in Education including a Master of Arts from the same university. Should this not baffle anyone evaluator of the academic attainments of Kwame Nkrumah and to confirm that he was an outstanding bookworm?
It is also on record that Kwame Nkrumah was offered assistant lectureship in Philosophy at Lincoln University which he accepted after he had graduated here. After his postgraduate studies, he became associate professor of History and Philosophy at Lincoln, where the student body voted him as “the most outstanding professor of the year (1945). Besides, at this time, Kwame Nkrumah was also president of African Students’ Organisation of North America All these facts would not convince Professor Manfred Halpern of Princeton University, who prejudicially declared that he had read nothing really original in Nkrumah’s thoughts.
Nkrumah then left for England where he commenced law studies at Gray’s Inn, attended lectures at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also worked on a thesis on “Logical Positivism” under a Professor Ayer and to Prof. Manfred Halpern; this does not proclaim him an insatiable, knowledgeable and indefatigable academic.
No one had a right to doubt Kwame Nkrumah’s academic eminence, or doubt his writing skills for he had also obtained a diploma in journalism in 1943 before he began to teach in the University of Pennsylvania. It was Lincoln University, where he had done part of the course in his student days, which awarded him his first honorary doctorate in 1951, and he received many more from other reputable universities.
Disgruntled colonialists and neo-colonialists made all sorts of slanderous utterances against his towering intellectual ability… trying to cast doubts here and there… pent up ghost writers for his works.
Many even wondered why he was not spotted early enough as dangerous in future, during his student days in the schools he attended and eliminated there. A certain Prof. Manfred Halpern, earlier mentioned (Chapter 4) in this book distinguished himself among the hired Nkrumah detractors to utter what he could not defend.
Prof. Halpern’s emotional and racist conclusions based on the foregone bias and academic or scholastic inferiority did not matter. Being against or pro-Nkrumah was too early to make an objective assessment of him as an intellectual monarch. Men like Manfred Halpern; a dishonest academic moron, needs two centuries to digest his own argument.
The truth is, however, that while he had a team of researchers working for him, (like a Winston Churchill or Josef Stalin committed to a revaluation of his country’s social history), especially in connection with the abstruse philosophical work “Consciencism” for which he relied much on the researchers of Accra Philosophical Club, Kwame Nkrumah wrote his own books most of which appeared either before or after his rule in Ghana.
It is a great tragedy, regrets most African intellectuals who followed on his footsteps, for Africans… their consciences that Nkrumah could not live longer in exile so the world could benefit from his wisdom. There is no doubt that while in Guinea for six years, Kwame Nkrumah must have garnered immeasurable wisdom, part of which we can admire in his last three books. And these are: “The Challenge of the Congo,” (1967) “Dark days in Ghana,” (1968) and “Class Struggle in Africa” (1970).
Lastly, Western people would not come over their jealousy of the display of self-pride by Africans everywhere. They wore so enraged why Ghanaians called Kwame Nkrumah “Osagyefo” which simply means “Our Captain.” According to Nwenifumbo again, he argues that if by calling Nkrumah ”Our Captain” Africans offended the European values of egalitarianism, they should have also been angered when Britain’s former Foreign Secretary became “Lord George Brown”.
To understand Nkrumah’s odds and how he faced them is to first of all take into account what it takes to deal with a country that was mentally colonised, who could not adapt themselves to the ideals, which he was committed. It was not easy to implement what he thought was best for Ghana. He did not even have enough time to experiment with his thoughts because, at the time, his bourgeois opponents, envious of the position they had lost, were uneasy with any of his successes.
Leslie Alexander Lacy puts it succinctly in “The Rise and Fall of a Proper Negro”, thus:
“… Many of the academics were much imbued with emulation of senile political ideas of the West… the educators of Ghana’s youth wanted Nkrumah out of the way in the very beginning so that they could have a proper society: British passports, British university standards, multi-parties in government.”
Certainly, there were such people who aimed at sending their children to Eton, than were more concerned with their country, and that looked forward to being honoured with a Knight Commander of Saint Michael and George (KCMG). How could such people be expected to appreciate the ideas of Nkrumah? We may not be very surprised with the manner in which Ghanaians treated Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
The Bible says:
“A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.” (Luke 4:24).
*Dr. Awah-Dzenyagha is a retired civil servant, Journalist, Political Scientist, Corporate Member of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Transport, London and an independent writer, poet and critic. He is author of several articles and books and is based in Wum in Menchum Division, North West Region of Cameroon. Formerly, the Executive Director at the Foundation for Community Development, Wum. He is presently the Regional Coordinator of Commonwealth Gentlemen’s Club International Cameroon for the North West Region, with Headquarters in Wum, Menchum Division.