TODAY, March 6, 2019, marks the 62nd anniversary of Ghana’s (political/flag/anthem) Independence from alien rule by the Government of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth-II. Formerly known as ‘Gold Coast,’ independent Ghana started out as a British Dominion on March 6, 1957– and became a Republic within the (British) Commonwealth on July 1, 1960.
For what it is worth, Ghana is reputed for being the “first Black country” to be granted ‘Independence’ from foreign rule–with Kwame ‘Osagyefo’ Nkrumah the Dominion’s first Prime Minister, and the Republic’s first President, Head of State and Government. At the time of Independence, Nkrumah declared, “My first objective is to abolish from Ghana poverty, ignorance, and disease.
We shall measure our progress by the improvement in the health of our people; by the number of children in school, and the quality of their education; by the availability of water and electricity in our towns and villages; and by the happiness which our people take in managing their own affairs.
“The welfare of our people is our chief pride, and it is by this that the government will ask to be judged.” [See ‘Ghana: Problems and Progress’ by Leonard S. Kenworthy, Professor of Education, Brooklyn College, New York].
However, before our Nkrumah could attain all those lofty ideals, military officers overthrew the fellow in a February 24, 1966 coup d’état dubbed ‘Operation Cold Chop,’ and placed Ghana under the National Liberation Council authority.
That was at a time when the Osagyefo was gallivanting in far-off lands, namely China and North Vietnam. Thereafter, Nkrumah never returned to his motherland, living in exile in Guinea as the guest of President Ahmed Sékou Touré, who proclaimed him ‘Honorary Co-President of Guinea.’
That was where the Osagyefo continued to live his dream (daydream, really) of African Unity–but always living in fear of his life, of being abducted/assassinated by his Western antagonists. He eventually died at 62 years from otherwise manageable prostate cancer in a Romanian hospital.
After Nkrumah’s ouster in 1966 followed a series of alternating military and civilian governments up to 1981 when one Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings of the Provisional National Defense Council grabbed power.
Rawlings suspended the national Constitution, banned political parties and “negotiated a structural adjustment plan, changed extant economic policies–and economic growth recovered during the mid-1980s.”
The Rawlings Administration restored multi-party politics under a new Constitution, leading to his being elected President in the 1992 elections– and again in 1996.
Meanwhile, strongly pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) was awarded (together with Spanish-born Pablo Picasso, Hungarian Istvan Dobi and Pakistani Faiz Ahmad Faiz) the “International Lenin Peace Prize’ for 1961 (read ‘75,000 rubles’) in recognition of outstanding services in the struggle for the maintenance and strengthening of peace.”
Sheesh! [Google for ‘Milwaukee Journal,’ April 30, 1962].
Originally named the ‘International Stalin Prize for Strengthening Peace among Peoples,’ the award was renamed the ‘International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace among Peoples.’ This was a result of vigorous de-Stalinization by the Soviet Government under Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) as First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party (1953-1964).
Nkrumah was so beloved of Soviet Russia that the Soviet Government issued a postage stamp in 1989 to mark the 80th anniversary of Nkrumah’s birth.
But, that cold war stuff is a tale fit to be told another day...
The lucubration here today is about Ghana and Nkrumah, the self-styled ‘Osagyefo,’ Akan lingo for ‘Redeemer.’
Nkrumah defined neo-colonialism, saying “the essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent–and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality, however, its economic system – and, thus, its political policy–is directed from outside.” [‘Neo-Colonialism: the Last Stage of Imperialism;’ (1965)].
In 1961 Nkrumah delivered a speech titled ‘I Speak of Freedom,’ in which he talked about “how Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.”
He mentions how Africa is a land of “vast riches, with mineral resources that range from gold and diamonds to uranium and petroleum.”
However, he noted that “the reason Africa isn’t thriving right now (1961) is because the European powers have been taking all the wealth for themselves. If Africa could be independent of European rule, then it could truly flourish and contribute positively to the world.”
At the end of this speech, President Nkrumah called upon Ghanaians to action, saying: “This is our chance. We must act now. Tomorrow may be too late; the opportunity will have passed – and with it the hope of free Africa’s survival.” [Google for ‘Modern History Sourcebook: Kwame Nkrumah: I Speak of Freedom, 1961.’ Fordham University, New York]. Would a United States of Africa (USAf) have materialized if Osagyefo Nkrumah had not been...
Ah, well; never mind!