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Kwame Nkrumah - The CIA Connection (Part 11)

Fri, 25 Apr 2014 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

In the first essay, “Kwame Nkrumah—The CIA Connection (Part 1),” we extracted a segment of Dr. Motsoko Pheko’s provocative yet well-informed essay, “Democracy and Legitimacy in Africa,” a masterpiece published in the “New African” magazine, Sept. 18, 2013, by translating its usance into an epigrammatic introduction of sorts, constituting a moral critique of Western interferences in African affairs as well as of the middling performance of African leadership, particularly in the post-Nkrumah political and cultural dispensations. Again, as was the case with the first piece which dwelled on a giant historical figure, the incomparable Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, one of the world’s greatest leaders of the 20th century, this follow-up seeks to pursue some of the prior posed, though not sufficiently unanswered, questions introduced in Part 1.

Admittedly, it is also unambiguously clear that Dr. Pheko’s essay is factually and analytically forward in many important respects. Importantly, the interior reasoning of Dr. Pheko’s as contained in the essay principally revolves around the aspirations of African peoples, a moral question susceptible to the particularistic cast of Western strategic geopolitical interests. Yet, the geopolitics of Africa loses its philosophical psyche, supposedly, without a relational link to the aspirations of the African peoples and their leadership. The question to ask therefore is, between the peoples of Africa and the peoples of the West, who has the backing of moral legitimacy to elect the leadership of Africa? A corollary question is, how much political sway does Africa wield over the West as far as its electoral politics go? These are, we think, some of the implicit questions Dr. Pheko’s essay raises. As a useful illustration, he appropriates a few salient political characters from Africa to bring home the crisis of African leadership, in the strategic context of external prodding, to the world.


Thus, he invokes the political history of Africa via a few indirect questions: Why did the West prefer Robert Mugabe to Bishop Abel Muzorewa, even after many abortive Western assassination attempts on Mugabe, following the signing of the 1979 Lancaster House agreement? Why did the West prefer Harry Kumbula to Kenneth Kaunda in colonial Northern Rhodesia? Why did the West prefer Jonathan Leabua to Ntsu Mokhehle in Lesotho, even to the extent of carrying out a coup against him and nullifying his investiture as Lesotho’s Prime Minister? Why did the West prefer Mobuto Sese Seko to Patrice Lumumba in the Congo? The following are the other questions he seems to ask on the other side of the political coin: Why did the West laud and protect its African political androids and automatons who ruled for decades, Daniel Arap Moi (Kenya, 24 years), Hastings Banda (Malawi, 33 years), Mobuto Sese Seko (DRC, 32 years), Gnassingbe Eyadema (Togo, 38 years), Omar Bongo (Gabon, 41 years), Felix Houphouët-Boigny (Ivory Coast, 33 years), and Hosni Mubarak (Egypt, 30 years)? Why the double standard on the part of the West?


Alternatively, why did the West, chiefly America, continue to support America’s long-time friend Hosni Mubarak, unapologetically, even after the Egyptian people had overthrown him, yet, as elsewhere, the same America continues to vigorously attack Robert Mugabe, telling him to stand aside for someone else to run the country, someone America can easily manipulate, someone who will turn over the wealth of Zimbabwe generously to the predatory appetite of Western corporations? Meanwhile, to answer the question posed in the second half of the penultimate paragraph, Dr. Pheko writes: “They toed the line. They served Western interests more than those of their own countries. In fact, Mobuto and Mubarak were very close allies of the USA. None of these leaders were ever asked to give in to democracy until their people drove them out.” This brief yet loaded response underlines Dr. Pheko’s logical tilt that, Western conception of “democracy” and “legitimacy” in respect of Africa enjoys political utility only when its interests usurp those of Africa’s, an incontestable position overwhelmingly supported by history and contemporary events.


On the other hand, regarding the relationship between Kwame Nkrumah and the West, Dr. Pheko believes the British did not particularly like Nkrumah, but grudgingly gave up control of the colony to “the demands of Nkrumah’s CPP” only when the Gold Coast had become ungovernable, a deplorable situation occasioned by the terrorism of an Asante-based organization, the National Liberation Movement (NLM). It should be recalled that this terrorist organization, founded by Okyeame Baffour Akoto, an Asante “linguist,” and headed by the Oxford-trained sociologist Dr. KA Busia, was launched in Kumasi in 1954 by the Asantehene of that period. Admittedly, the formation of the NLM, though out of material existence now, predates the Lord’s Resistance Army, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Ansaru, and Al-Shabab. Among other reasons, Busia, Danquah, and others had hoped to use the organization to prevent Nkrumah and the CPP from obtaining independence and, thus, to return the colony to its ex-colonial masters, the British. Accordingly, the organization’s terroristic acts and sheer magnitude of barbarism pushed Ghana’s independence from 1956 to 1957.

Once again, Dr. Botwe-Asamoah has written to that effect: “Nonetheless, judging from the threats of Danquah and the NLM, the 1966 coup was the culmination of the Opposition’s long struggle to topple the Kwame Nkrumah government by any means possible. Certainly, the coup was designed to return Ghana to the claws of its former imperialist Britain and its allies, as desired by Dr. JB Danquah.” Relatedly, Danquah himself had also written eloquently in view of this very same question: “I am sometimes much surprised when I see many of my countrymen terrified by the use of that word, ‘self-government.’ They are terrified of it because they think it means the desire to break away from the British Empire and become independent of the British. If it comes to that, if it comes to a decision to break away from the British connection, I would be the last person to express such a terrific wish (See “The Historic Speeches of J.B. Danquah”). Hence, total decolonization of the Gold Coast was not Danquah’s primary objective. This also meant that the NLM would give him and others, Busia, etc., the opportunity to frustrate efforts aimed at completely decolonizing the Gold Coast, as Nkrumah and his close colleagues saw it.


More importantly, however, there is also hard corroborating evidence that Busia obtained financial and, possibly, logistic support from external sources, primarily the West, for the organization, the National Liberation Movement. In one case, for instance, Busia reportedly secured £50,000 from foreign sources to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Nkrumah (See Nelson’s and Gyamerah’s essay “The Origins and the Case for Preventive Detention in Ghana”). Elsewhere, Dr. Botwe-Asamoah has authoritatively written, “Interestingly, the biggest contributor to the cause of the NLM was Cadbury and Fryer of Britain (See “The Fallacies of Danquah’s Heroic Legacy,” Part 111).” In actual fact, JB Danquah was integral to the formation of the National Liberation Movement after having lent his physical presence to the organization via his active membership and after having lent a philosophical hand to the Movement, this, because there is a moral need to counter the revisionist claim making rounds that Danquah was not a member of the NLM. Actually, Danquah was one of the NLM’s respected leaders!


On the former, a USA-based Ghanaian historian, Prof. David Owusu-Ansah, of James Madison University, writes: “Danquah lost in the elections of 1954 and 1956. During this period he belonged to the National Liberation Movement (NLM) and then the United Party (UP) (See the book “Historical Dictionary of Ghana,” p. 111).” On the latter, however, Prof. Kwame A. Ninsin maintains: “For example, Danquah had, on the question of independence for Ghana argued passionately for the colony to assert its ‘residual political sovereignty in the chiefs and people’ to set up a constituent assembly. He had argued that this act of rebellion to ‘dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another’ was justified whenever citizens are convinced that the end of government has become destructive of their inalienable rights.” Prof. Ninsin then writes emphatically: “The declaration that gave birth to the NLM was nourished by this philosophical claim,” concluding: “For the Opposition, it signaled the resumption of this residual political sovereignty which is presumably inalienable (See the book “The Life and Work of Kwame Nkrumah,” edited by Kwame Arhin, p. 221-222).”


At this point, it is proper to also take cognizance of two chronologies: One, the June 15, 1954 elections organized under British supervision which saw the electoral rejection of Danquah, and, two, the September 19, 1954 founding of the National Liberation Movement. In other words, the National Liberation Movement came into material existence barely three months after the people had rejected Danquah and the Opposition at the polls. This bit of history is telling because it directly eats into Danquah’s artful nature, bitterness at the people’s rejection of him, the same people he had kept at elitist distance, questions Dr. Kwame Botwe-Asamoah has exhaustively treated among others in a series of provocative essays (See “The Fallacies of Danquah’s Heroic Legacies,’ (1)-(1V).” Further, Dr. Botwe-Asamoah has also dealt with Busia’s and his grisly, subpar legacy (See “K.A. Busia: His Politics of Demagoguery, National Disintegration and Autocracy”). Arguably, Busia represents one of the most important standout autocratic leaders in Africa’s entire political history, though he served Ghana only for three years as Prime Minister. Finally, Dr. Botwe-Asamoah has covered the special case of Kwame Nkrumah, Busia’s and Danquah’s staunchest enemy, as the unquestioned Founding Father of Ghana (See “Kwame Nkrumah: The One and Only Founding Father of Ghana,” (1)-(111).”

In another useful context, Lang T.K.A. Nubuor has also thoroughly treated the same subject as Dr. Botwe-Asamoah’s vis-à-vis Nkrumah as Ghana’s undisputed Founding Father (See “On the Question of Who Founded Ghana: Constructing and Executing the Strategy for the Attainment of Sovereign Nation-Statehood”). Once again, these background historical facts are essential to an understanding of the historical archeology of Ghana’s political history as far as the National Liberation Movement, the terrorism of JB Danquah, a CIA mole and a power-hungry stooge of the colonial system, as well as of KA Busia, Obetsebi Lamptey, and others, the 1966 coup d’état, the political ascendency of Kwame Nkrumah, and the clandestine roles of external intelligence agencies in destabilizing Ghana are concerned. That said, we should mention that Danquah’s association with the CIA is not in doubt. The point is that the combined threat of international communism and anti-colonial agitators put the West on the alert, a complex situation compelling its intelligence agencies to recruit anti-communists and elements generally sympathetic to the West, men such as Busia, Danquah, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Mobuto Sese Seko, Inocencio Kani, from among the African peoples to do its bidding.


In the context of the ongoing discourse, let us take the special case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), about which Le Stylo, a reviewer of Mobuto’s son-in-law Pierre Jenssen’s biography of Mobuto Sese Seko and his family, “A La Cour De Mobuto,” writes: “A year before the Congo’s independence he [Mobuto] had been head-hunted by the director of the CIA in the country. Two years later he was given the US Legion of Merit by President Kennedy. Then he met George Bush, just before Bush became the head of the CIA and agreed to make Zaire the headquarters for all operations in Central Africa.” Stylo adds: “Mobuto was hooked and absorbed huge quantities of CIA money in return for his services. The Americans used him as an intermediary in channeling money to Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA in Angola (See Stylo’s “Inside Mobuto’s Court”). It is equally worth noting that, according to Gamal Nkrumah, George Bush, Sr. orchestrated the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah, his father, after closely examining declassified documents related to events of the time. Ironically, America’s Ronald Reagan once described the anti-communist leader of UNITA Jonas Savimbi, a very close friend of the CIA, as a “freedom fighter,” in much the same way he described the Taliban leader (See Sean Jacobs’ “The Guardian” article “Call of Duty: The Recall of Savimbi,” Nov. 27, 2012).


That is, Nkrumah’s clash with the West and subsequent overthrow with Western assistance must be seen in the larger context of the Cold War, because, for one, the American government blacklisted Nelson Mandala for his alleged communist sympathies, so, too, were Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Sekou Toure, Maurice Bishop, Salvador Allende, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Daniel Fignolé, Jacobo Guzman, Daniel Ortega, etc. Reportedly, Western intelligence agencies, chiefly the CIA, assassinated some of these leaders and failed to assassinate others simply on the basis of their leftist leanings (See Ludo De Witte’s book “The Assassination of Lumumba”; John Stockwell’s lecture “The Secret Wars of the CIA,” published on the website of “Information Clearing House,” Oct. 1987; Noam Chomsky’s book “Latin America: From Colonization to Globalization”). Another author has also suggested that “An analysis of the texts of Nkrumah and the US de-classified files reveal the lack of strategic clarity and strategic realism on Nkrumah’s part, which constituted a pragmatic that aided and abetted the US agenda to remove the threat that he posed to their agenda for Ghana, West Africa and Africa as a whole (See Daurius Figueira below).” Nkrumah’s friend, Geoffrey Bing, a British politician and barrister, made similar arguments in his book “Reap the Whirlwind: An Account of Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana from 1950 to 1966.”


In effect, economics, greed, militarism, desire to control the world, and profitability define the hallmarks of Western foreign policy. Nevertheless, the long hand of communism threatened to take its share of the global pie but capitalism would have none of it. Technically, this historical path of political analysis leads to Nkrumah’s somewhat lose entanglement in the dragnet of ideological factionalism—capitalism versus socialism/communism. Daurius Figueira, a social researcher, captures this phenomenon when he wrote: “…the US was seeking to prevent the Soviet Union by dint of their cordial relations with Nkrumah and Sekou Toure of Guinea from exploiting the bauxite deposits and hydroelectric potential of both states (See his book “Tubal Uriah Butler of Trinidad and Tobago/Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana: The Road to Independence”). Our simple argument, a theory we introduced in Part 1, is that internal Ghanaian conditions, a theory advanced by Nkrumah’s ideological opponents, do not convincingly support the latter conviction as the principal motivating reasons for Nkrumah’s overthrow. They only provided a ready-made exculpatory cover-up for the coup plotters and, as a matter of fact, concealed the machinating fingerprint of the West in the whole affair—for obvious reasons. Besides, that shaky theory extends moral cover and social legitimacy to the partisan descendants of the NLM!

The other contention comes from the proven view that, the West’s support for human rights has been morally facile and wintrily hypocritical at best, exemplified by its unflinching support for the Taliban, Apartheid, slavery, Jim Crowism, colonialism, Charles Taylor, Al-Qaeda, imperialism, annihilation of native peoples, and destabilization of functional democracies around the world, among others, represent a few examples (See Adam Hochschild’s “Kind Leopold Ghost”; “The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism”; and “Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination”). In other words, Western public infatuation with human rights issues, as we said before, is conveniently attired in sartorial trinket of moral legitimacy only when its strategic interests in the non-Western world, particularly Africa, are not threatened or challenged, a view Dr. Pheko carefully explains, for it has been established that the British, Americans, and Israel brought Idi Amin to power in Uganda, given Western wobbling apprehension of Milton Obote’s ideological driftage toward leftist politics (See Andrew Rice’s book “The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda”).


Further, America’s collaboration with the late Saddam Hussein, including provision of sensitive intelligence to his regime during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War in complete violation of American and international laws, is public knowledge, more so because the political import of the Iran-Contra Affair has not been lost on the world yet. It has also been claimed by some sources that the CIA provided Saddam Hussein with intelligence, highly-classified information that helped him target Kurds and Iranians around the time of the war with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) (See Shane Harris’ and Mathew M. Aid’s “Foreign Policy” article “Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam Hussein,” August 26, 2013; see also Alex Newman’s “New American” article “Amid Syria Uproar, CIA Files Show U.S. Helped Saddam Gas Iranians”). Yet again, Western clandestine appropriation of the United Nations to help it get rid of Patrice Lumumba is an acknowledged fact.


Another fascinating yet ironical aside is Busia’s servile accommodation of Apartheid, which his followers mistakenly believe vindicate Busia, a view debunked by Nelson Mandela himself (See Mandela’s and Castro’s book “Cuba and Angola: Fighting for Africa’s Freedom and Our Own”). Moreover, guerilla warfare, symbolized by the crushing defeat of the army of Apartheid South Africa at the March 1988 Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, in Angola, international diplomacy, and international sanctions were the primary forces behind the dissolution of Apartheid, not exclusively Busia’s political and economic accommodationism. However, it should not be forgotten that Busia, an advocate of democracy and the man behind the “Certificate of Emergence (Urgency),” fired the editor of the Daily Graphic for criticizing him on his accommodationist position on Apartheid, yet it was Nkrumah who would be recognized by both the United Nations (gold medal, 1978) and good people of South Africa for his untiring efforts at dismantling Apartheid.


Notably, the National Heritage Council of South Africa in conjunction with Ingwe Mabalabala Holdings posthumously awarded Nkrumah its prestigious SATMA Awards (or Founders Award) for his important contributions to the struggle to free South Africa from the colonial claws of Apartheid. Further, Mr. Enoch Ampofo, who represented the event organizers, had this to say: “Gaining perspectives into how Dr. Kwame Nkrumah has affected the lives of people in South Africa, I found out that in the days of Apartheid, the oppressed people went to school and were taught about the principles of Kwame Nkrumah or Nkrumahism (See Gifty Owusu-Amoah and Raissa Sambou’s “Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Awarded Posthumously”).” This international acknowledgment is important to counter those revisionists who deny Mandela’s signal role in the decolonizing efforts in Southern Africa. On the other hand, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr., to mention but two individuals of global stature, had been given this award, too. Nkrumah has also posthumously been awarded the 2000 “Personality of the Century” “Millennium Excellence Award.”

We invoke these historical data to establish the possibility of Nkrumah’s stepping on the toes of Western imperialists and colonialists whose economic and industrial livelihoods were irreversibly tied to African dehumanization and continued subjugation to white supremacy. In fact, Nkrumah had established the Bureau of African Affairs to effectuate his progressive agenda on decolonizing the continent. At a point in time he also asked the Ghanaian military to prepare for an engagement with the racist government of Rhodesia. This presidential request may not have appealed to the morale of the ring-wing elements in the military, another essential variable completely excluded from discussions dealing with the political reasons for Nkrumah’s overthrow. At this point we may have to shift the focus of discussion to alternative explanatory theories on Nkrumah’s overthrow. Explo Nani-Kofi writes in this context: “In UK, Nkrumah became a leading member of the West African Secretariat (WANS) which worked closely with the Communist Party in Great Britain. This brought him to the notice of the intelligence services whilst he was in UK (See “Kwame Nkrumah: 24th February 1966 Coup and the International Progressive Movement”).


On the other hand, Daurius Figueira continues from where Nani-Kofi left off. He maintains: “The British de-classified a series of files of the Security Service of Britain on Kwame Nkrumah. De-classified file KV2/1847 reveals that Nkrumah first registered on the radar screen of the American security apparatus on the 6th December 1942 as a result of a speech he made at Houston Hall, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia titled ‘Africa at War.’” What this piece of information connotes is the clandestine sharing of intelligence on Kwame Nkrumah between America and Britain prior to his departure from the former to the latter in 1945. He continues: “The US 2nd Service Command would report to the Security Division of British Security Co-ordination in the US. On 31st December 1942 the Division wrote the Security…” Figueira further explains that “Sir Sillitoe would inform Ballantine of the Gold Coast on 16th August 1947 that Nkrumah had accepted the offer to return to the Gold Coast.”


“By November 1947 Nkrumah’s stature as a security threat to the British colonial state now merited Special Branch monitoring specific sea ports to confirm Nkrumah’s departure and his destination,” adds Figueira.


We shall return…

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis