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Check out Nkrumah’s letter to Busia, telling him he was a ‘complete failure in politics’

99792815 A photo of Kwame Nkrumah and Kofi Busia

Thu, 19 Jan 2023 Source:

They may not have been the closest of friends, but one unique thing puts them in the same room of similarities: they both experienced military overthrows of their governments.

And while that should have served as a reason for them to be able to share ideas and interact on the same level, Ghana’s first president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, rather found a cheeky, mocking way of ‘consoling’ Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia after the latter tasted his overthrow.

In 1966, Kwame Nkrumah was the first to experience a military takeover while he was away in Hanoi, Vietnam, on national assignment for Ghana.

His government had, until then, been suffering from criticisms from the likes of Dr. Kofi Busia, many of which had led to the army taking over power from Nkrumah when they had the chance.

Having completely lost faith with the people of Ghana, the overthrow of Nkrumah was received across the country with a lot of joy, and so when Busia, one of the major critics, also experienced the same surprise of a coup d’état much later, Nkrumah could just not hold back speaking about it.

In a letter that Kwame Nkrumah wrote to Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia in 1972, right after the 1972 overthrow, he reminded Busia of all the similarities in their plights.

Nkrumah wrote that “It is rather significant that most of the evils of which my government and I were accused and which were the main reasons for the overthrow of my administration were apparently the same reasons that motivated the army takeover of your regime.

“I am sure that you realize that those who criticise other people without bothering to assign good reasons for their criticisms eventually end up as victims of their own circumstances.

“You will also appreciate the fact that those who sow a wind reap a whirlwind, and after you have finished spoiling other people, you will be surprised to find out that you have spoiled yourself.”

As if to add more fuel to the fire, Kwame Nkrumah went on to detail some of the exact things that he felt Busia and other critics used against his administration and that have come back to haunt him.

He also detailed some of the observations he had made of the Busia government and why he believed that the people of Ghana had lost affection for their style of rule.

“Since my government was overthrown six years ago, and since you assumed the reins of authority in the latter part of 1969, I have been watching closely events in Ghana and I often felt that the way you were handling the affairs of the country, that is relying so much on colonialists, imperialists, capitalists and neo-colonialists, you will one day end up in the gutter with the same imperialists and capitalists nailing your coffin.

“Your handling of the Aliens Compliance Order in which, for the first time in the history of Africa, a neighboring government drives out of its country fellow Africans like cattle and oxen in open trucks, your so-called DIALOGUE with the Apartheid regime in which you seek to create the impression that you are the only black man on earth who is capable of bringing pressure to bear upon the racists in South Africa and other diabolical policies too numerous to mention here,” he added.

Deepening his mockery of Busia, Kwame Nkrumah reminded him of something that he said he championed because he knew its outcome.

Referring to how he (Nkrumah) had campaigned for Busia to be voted for as Ghana’s Prime Minister, he reminded the freshly-ousted politician that he knew a day like that was definitely going to come.

“You will recall that just before the general elections in 1968, I broadcast on Conakry Radio to my people in Ghana, exhorting them not to vote for any other candidate for the Premiership but you.

“I do not know how you took this exhortation, but I could conjecture that you probably assumed that by exhorting the people of Ghana to vote for you, I was placing you above other candidates. If this was your way of thinking. then I am sorry to say you miscalculated and misconstrued the motivation of my exhortation.

“I had imagined that you would have realized that the reasons for asking the people of Ghana to vote for you was not so much because I thought you were better than any or all the candidates involved in the electioneering campaign. My reason for exhorting them to vote for you was that I knew that being a political weakling, you would sooner or later expose your shortcomings,” he added.

Before concluding his letter, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah stated that he would have wished to have met Dr Busia so that in his face, he would have told him how well he was sure that he would not succeed at politics.

In his own words, he wrote that: “It might be a good idea if we were to meet face to face as we did in Monrovia last year: then I would have told you, ‘Kofi, I told you that you would be a complete failure on the political scene,’” he said.

Read the full letter below:


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