If there’s a word that humanity does not really appreciate then it’s no other but the word dictatorship. Is dictatorship good for a country’s development? I will leave that for you to decide..
This however, is not exactly what we discuss today but in a way, it inspire today’s piece of writing. Precisely, it is to remind all of one eventful day that is celebrated in silence though a relevant historical milestone of Ghana; the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
It remains a fact that Africa’s young generation do not understand the full implications of the events of the 24th February 1966 vis-à-vis her continent’s political, economic and cultural revolutions.
Now, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was noted for his vision for a united African continent. On March 6, 1957, after ten years of campaigning for Ghanaian independence, Nkrumah was elected and Ghana gained independence from British rule thereby taking on the mantle as Ghana’s President.
Besides been a visionary, Nkrumah was not just passionate about African unity but stood for the absolute development of the African continent. It thus comes as no surprise that in 1965, Nkrumah published the book “Neocolonialism” which revealed how foreign companies and governments were enriching themselves at the expense of the African people.
This publication was said to have attracted a harsh protest from the US government who consequently withdrew its economic aid of $35m previously earmarked for Ghana.
Being a tough personality to deal with beside his incredibly deep seated ambition, intellectual capacity and zeal to rule; he was overthrown in 24th February 1966 in a Military Coup d’état while on trip to Hanoi, North Vietnam. He left for Conakry Guinea on being told of the overthrow.
He lived in Conakry as Co –President of Guinea. He died on 27th, April 1972 of natural causes in a Romania.
But for our enlightenment let’s ask ourselves just this one question – What actually led to the overthrow of Dr. Nkrumah?
Dr. Nkrumah was over thrown by the National Liberation Council (NLC) led by army Generals, Afrifa and Kotoka 49 years ago.
Though the cause of his overthrow was scanty at the time, it later emerged that the military junta was sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), France and the British governments at the time, when it became glaring that Dr Nkrumah was a strong advocate against neo-colonialism.
John Stockwell, a CIA renegade, in 1978, revealed how agents within the Ghana military and Police were bribed to execute the coup, which overthrew Nkrumah and subsequently led to his demise.
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.
It is widely believed that the introduction of the Prevention Detention ACT (PDA), which stifled opposition politicians of open and legitimate ways and means of registering their protest against his regime made it easier for the CIA and its cohorts to infiltrate the ranks of the security agencies.
In response to an earlier strike by gold miners’ strike, Nkrumah in 1958 introduced the Trade Union Act which made strikes illegal. That same year, he unilaterally introduced the PDA, after suspecting that his opponents were plotting against him.
The Act offered his government sweeping powers to apprehend and detain anyone charged with treason or otherwise deemed a security threat to five years without trial.
As a result, there were widespread of violence as some top government officials, including his advisers used the law to witch-hunt innocent people.
In 1962, three younger members of the CPP were brought up on charges of taking part in a plot to blow up his car in a motorcade.
The sole evidence against the alleged plotters was that they rode in cars well behind Nkrumah’s car. When the defendants were acquitted, Nkrumah sacked the chief judge of the state security court, then got the CPP-dominated parliament to pass a law allowing a new trial.
Dr Nkrumah desperate to send opponents to political oblivion, in 1964 proposed and passed a law which subsequently made his political party – Convention People’s Party (CPP) the only political party and himself president for life, sparking anger and extensive uproar among the citizenry.
To conclude, as we remember this day, I challenge and look forward to the emergence of the next Kwame Nkrumah; one with the heart, mind and like passion of Ghana’s first President, who stood for Africa’s total liberation.1 Comment