Many of Kwame Nkrumah’s haters have always looked at the man and all they could say about him are, “he was a dictator”, “he was brutal”, “he was heartless.” and a whole lot more.
In heated political discourses that center on Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, I find it so amusing that those who still hate the man always avoid certain incontestable truths and would only talk about unsubstantiated reports – invariably, disinformation from so-called “knowledgeable people.” Of course people they had come to respect highly or, people on their side of the political spectrum. These Nkrumah haters would, either intentionally or ignorantly fail to explain the reasons that led to the outcomes of actions they label as BRUTAL under the rule of the great statesman the country ever had.
Hypocritically, they would ignore those outrageously evil activities of his distractors – the insidious moves to make him unpopular and especially the spate of bomb throwing in Accra in 1962 which killed many innocent people at CPP rallies. The dates for these shameful events are furnished elsewhere in this article.
Some people are quick to demonize our first president, Kwame Nkrumah, and never want to see the positive outcomes of the steps he boldly took to put Ghana on the world map to become the star of Africa. It’s worth mentioning that at the time of his overthrow, Ghana was ahead of countries like Romania, Pakistan, North Korea, Malaysia, and a host of other countries. Today, some of those countries have become pillars in Ghana’s efforts at socio-economic revival.
I believe in results, results from actions that BENEFIT an entire community rather than results from actions that benefit only a selfish few in a community. Nkrumah was a leader who saw Ghana in a future where survival of Ghana and Africa would largely depend, NOT on our past colonial masters from whom we had to FIGHT, SACRIFICE AND SHED BLOOD to gain our independence.
In his avowed intent to pursue the larger goals, some of his peers, ignorant about the machinations of Western imperialists, surprisingly were still trusting our former colonial masters and their allies and playing into their manipulative games. Nkrumah was not one to be easily fooled. He had lived in the United States and studied their political and economic systems and he knew without a doubt, that Africa’s emancipation could not be attained if we depended entirely on the capitalist West whose modus operandi had always been a divide-and-rule tactics, ideological domination, economic penetration and even subversive activities.
In their efforts to stop Nkrumah’s growing popularity with the masses and internationally, his political opponents sought to bring him down by any means fair or foul. Malicious attacks, along with subversive activities by his distractors, including the use of thuggery to intimidate his followers were some of the schemes employed. Also the activities of certain members within the party led Nkrumah to introduce the Preventive Detention Act of 1958 by which saboteurs could be detained up to five (5) years without trial.
The following are excerpts from an article culled from the “Ghana Palaver” newspaper and published on Saturday, June 2, 2012 by GHANAWEB. Reproduced unedited:
“You want the evidence? You will find it in “A source book of the Constitutional Law of Ghana, Volume II (part 1): The Cases: 1872 through 1970”, authored by S.O Gyandoh, Jnr and J. Griffiths and cited as 2 G and G. at page 209.
“The evidence before us is to the effect that a “plot” was hatched at Lome, who called themselves a “Committee of Ghanaian Refugees”. The third accused Joseph Adotei Addo was in Lome when several meetings were held by the said committee. When eventually the third accused decided to return to Accra, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, a prominent member of the committee, asked Addo to secure a room or rooms in Accra, to be used by certain unspecified persons, who were to come to Accra for purposes known to Obetsebi Lamptey and others, which turned out to be “The Bomb Outrages” in the country including the attempt to assassinate the President of the Republic of Ghana, at Kulungugu in the Upper Region of Ghana. Addo returned to Accra on 27 January 1962.
“The evidence of overt acts in furtherance of the common purpose to overthrow the government by unlawful means may be summarized as follows: 1. Procuring and producing hand grenades and pistols for the purpose of being used in the intended overthrow of the government. 2. Preparations to assassinate the President, a) at Tema, b) in the precincts of parliament house in Accra, and c) at Kumasi in the month of July 1962. 3. The attempts to assassinate the president at Kulungugu on 1 August, 1962 where a hand grenade was thrown at him, resulting in the death of some people and serious injuries to many others. 4. The throwing of a hand grenade on 9 September 1962, into a crowd assembled at Dodowa villas, near flagstaff house, the residence of the president, killing and injuring many people. 5. On 6 September 1962, a hand grenade was thrown at the residence of Mr Abavana, a cabinet Minister. 6. Hand grenade thrown on 20 September 1962, near Lucas house, Accra, into a procession of members of the Convention People’s Party, the government party in connection with the celebration of “the President’s birth Day”, known as “Founder’s Day”, killing and injuring many people. 7. Hand grenade thrown at Chorkor in Accra, on 6 November 1962, at a rally of the Convention people’s Party where some people were injured. 8. Hand grenade thrown into a crowd of merry makers, after the close of general get-together of the Convention People’s Party members, at the stadium in commemoration of the positive action day that is 8 January 1963. 9. On 22 January, 1963, when Teiko Tagoe, the first accused was arrested, he was armed with a hand grenade at Bukom Square in Accra, at a rally held by the Convention People’s Party.
Truth is, nothing happens by chance. Where there’s an effect, there’s always a cause. Nkrumah became dictatorial and he was BRUTAL. Yes, he had to. Every great leader in their times had often had to take certain bold decisions that, at the superficial level might seem unjustified, but which posterity eventually would come to acknowledge were crucial and therefore, justified.
Suppose you were constitutionally elected a leader to serve a nation. Your political opponents, inspired by a strong dislike for your chosen political direction, and believing that their line of thinking alone was the best option capable of moving the nation forward; consequently, they employed all forms of malicious attacks and subversive activities in order to stop your forward march to progress, why would you not get tough with them? This is where I sympathize with Nkrumah and understand the wisdom in the steps took.
For those who may not know, my own maternal uncle, H H Cofie Crabbe, was imprisoned under Nkrumah’s rule. He was one of the three arrested, trialed and jailed in connection with the Kulungugu bomb attack on Nkrumah. The other two were Tawiah Adamafio and Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey. I was an Nkrumah HATER as a youth, having swallowed all of the lies and propaganda hatched to bring the man down at all costs until I finally came to know the real truth and understand who the man really was. And I must say that, if I were in his shoes, I would have done the same, not for my personal gains, but SOLELY for the benefit of the country of my birth, Ghana my motherland.
What difference is there between US President George W. Bush’s Patriot Act of 2001 and Kwame Nkrumah’s Preventive Detention Act of 1958? Both of these Acts were designed to strengthen security and make the two countries SAFE. So what’s all the fuss about Kwame Nkrumah being BRUTAL? If the heinous activities of his political opponents could cost the lives of INNOCENT PEOPLE the way Al Qaeda’s activities threatened the US, why would a leader constitutionally elected to rule allow himself to be tamed by self-seekers?
It is said that, “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.” If political opponents have ideas and policies they consider better than a ruling government, all they need to do is present their agenda to the citizens, who alone have the choice, through the ballot box, to choose the party whose manifesto they consider to be a better option. To resort to violent intimidation of followers of a ruling party or engage in clandestine operations aimed at turning the mass of the people against an unbeatable leader they’re unable to defeat, simply undermine the weakness of that opposition. In a competitive arena, it’s always the smartest and well-organized ones that win.