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A Death of Nkrumahism?


A Death of Nkrumahism?A Death of Nkrumahism?

WHY CPP Is A Broken Home (I)

A Comparative Study of Ghana Without Nkrumah


Ghana; according to National Reconciliation Commission Final Report (Oct. 2004, Vol. 1 Chp. 3), is an artificial political entity comprising four distinct components woven together around the time of Independence. It comprises...

the following: (1) the Gold Coast Colony consisting of the coastal states, Akyem Abuakwa and Akwamu, which were under British colonial rule as a result of the Bond of 1844; (2) the Kingdom of Asante, that was annexed by the British at the end of the Yaa Asantewaa War in 1901; (3) the Northern Territories, which comprised kingdoms that came under British influence by reason of treaties of friendship executed between the British Government and the traditional rulers via the Northern Territories Ordinance of 1901; and (4) the Trans-Volta Togoland – a British Trust Territory originally, a part of the German colony that was lost to the Allies after the WW I and that was split up between Britain and France ((here, 1894 until 1914? )) and administered under a mandate of the League of Nations. These were the known forces to the Osagyefo, so what went wrong?


Perhaps the kindest verdict on Nkrumah ((overthrow)) in the Western press, per Irving Markovitz (Ghana Without Nkrumah, Africa Report, April 1966), was that he tried too hard and was in too much of a hurry. "He was called a "clown" in the London Observer, and "Stalin-like" in the New York Herald Tribune', The New York Times made his 1961 proclamation of compulsory education appear to have been a totalitarian act." Yet, we agree with Markovitz that to interpret Nkrumah as a ruthless totalitarian leader- a kind of sub-Saharan Hitler is yes, to misunderstand both the sources and the loss of his power.


To have the broader picture, we need the insight- we must look beyond the "news". The events leading to the Gold Coast becoming the Independent State of Ghana on 6th March, 1957, according to the GNRC, have had a great impact on the course of our country’s history- human rights, political and ideological tensions, as well as economic and social problems, that had either been ignored or poorly addressed in the Gold Coast, continued to impinge on and define, the character of the independent state of Ghana.

At independence, Nkrumah said something like this: "Once upon a time, Marcus Garvey looked around the world if he could see a government of ‘Black People’. He did not find one. So he said he was going to create one but he did not succeed….Today, the words of Garvey, the words of Aggrey, and the words of Caesly Hayford… have come to a reality…" The Osagyefo, who proclaimed that there is "A New African" in the world ready to fight his own battles so as to demonstrate the capabilities of the "Blackman", also told the cheering Gold Coaster that at long last, the battle has ended and your beloved Country is free forever. He reminded the Ghanaian that she is no longer a "slave" and that her country’s freedom would be hollow, unless it is linked up to total liberation of African.

For the benefit of thousands of those Gold Coasters who could not understand him in English Language, Nkrumah asked permission to abridge his independence declaration speech into Fante Language, rather than Nzema, where he thanked the Nanamom, the distinguished guests, an indeed all segments in the New Ghanaian society, appealing to every conscience- for change of attitude and hard work. In the opinion of the "New African", this could be the only way for a prosperous Ghana which will in turn revered our spirit ancestors that their quest, toils and struggles to be freed, had not been in vain.

The political roots of Kwame Nkrumah and the support he had from various ethnic groups in forming his own Convention Peoples Party on 12th June 1949, and his overthrow in 1966, are well documented by historians and biographers, so we labour not our readers.

But if the NRC final report were to be seen as accurate on its facts, then it could be said that at independence, there was indeed one strong party– the CPP – and several others of varying strengths, all of whom were in a relationship of antagonism against CPP rule.

So, the period thereafter heralded what the report reveals as the nurturing of bad blood between the leaders of the two parties. Attacks in the Evening News on the leaders of the UGCC, especially on Dr. Danquah, as well as a whispering campaign of bribe-taking and allegations of other dubious activities made against the leadership of the UGCC, did a lot to embitter their relationships. But with energetic and good organizers such as Komla Agbeli Gbedemah and Kojo Botsio, who Nkrumah converted for the formation of the new political party, CPP grew from strength to strength. Praises go to these cadres for their individual abilities and high organizational skills- CPP under Nkrumah was said to be virtually a youth movement at its inception. Thus with its slogan "Self-Government Now", rooted in the youth, it had the energy and strategy to match the UGCC, foot-for-foot.

Yes, we are not here to trace Nkrumah’s political roots but to dispel the lurking temptation of academic dishonesty or bias, it worth noting also that UGCC- the first known political party in Ghana- formed at Saltpond in August 1947 under the chairmanship and financial sponsorship of Paa George Grant and had as its slogan "Self-Government within the shortest possible time", per the NRC report, also attracted a huge following among the chiefs, farmers, educated persons such as the Man Kwame Nkrumah as well as WWII veterans- who had fought in other lands for freedom on behalf of their masters but had, as NRC put it, neither been given training in civil life with appropriate income-earning skills nor any financial package to ease their transition into civil life.

These, coupled with the rapid urbanisation and expansion of social amenities and infrastructure in the urban areas, it is submitted, produced a class of politically-conscious young men and women who began to appreciate the anti-colonial posture of the intelligentsia. Nkrumah’s organizational abilities linked up with his political youth groups that he bred- the Committee on Youth Organisation (CYO) and the established Evening News paper became his trump cards and indeed the beginning and perhaps, the end of his political dream as conflict over strategy soon developed between him and other leaders of the UGCC on the question of promoting himself and his personal agenda at the expense of the party that employed him, for the final onslaught on colonial(ism) rule?

In January 1950, the CPP had organized an action of civil disobedience, termed "Positive Action", consisting of boycotts, strikes and sit-downs, in order to compel the colonial government to grant immediate self-government. Although planned as a non-violent action, NRC reports that CPP eventually turned violent and so its leadership was arrested and imprisoned. Nkrumah for example, was in prison when CPP woo the decisive majority of seats in the 1951 elections held under the 1951 Constitution (Coussey Constitution). And being the leader of the party that had won majority seats in the elections, he was released from prison to head the government as the "Leader of Government Business". At this point, we might have been fairer in tracing the true political roots of Nkrumahism.



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