Opinions Mon, 7 May 2007

Nkrumah's Gravest Mistake

There is no doubt that after independence, Kwame Nkrumah continued to build the country in the image of the White Man as already stated by the British. That - was a mistake, perhaps his greatest. But Nkrumah’s gravest mistake was his failure in perceiving the uselessness and the inherent evil of the military in Ghana and Africa as a whole, at the time of independence.

Revenue, export, import, legislation, judiciary and internal peace (police), Ghana needed and every country indispensably needs; and defense if one pathologically distrusts ones neighbors.

But when Ghana achieved independence, what kind of foreign invasion or aggression did Nkrumah envisioned? An invasion from as yet to be founded Togo, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Mali? Or did he fear another White man’s invasion?. In short, Ghana and Africa did not and still do not need standing armies.

Professional armies originated when the occupation of man in times past were war and pillage.

Plato idealized the professional army in his Republic, the Romans realized it in their Republic and now the World, including the African, upholds it. Suffice to say, we all know what is still unfolding.

The condition and the ideal of mutual distrust which had inspired the White man to perpetually prepare for war (defense) was not foreign to the African. It just existed implicitly. Many an African, in his pre colonial community, was very much aware of threats and in danger of constant attacks from without. Yet the idea of a professional or standing army ever training, and ever ready to spring into action to defend (kill) their fellow men was never encouraged. And still in Africa, no Country actually maintains a professional Army, Navy or Air force as a deterrent.

However, when the African achieved independence, he looked in the mirror and the reflection was that of the White man. No condition in pre colonial era was worth considering. The Black man was eager to shed his blackness. Thus, without thought and consideration, he hurriedly and explicitly adapted everything that the White man had taught him; including the most dangerous of his traits: the military.

So here we have, a beast with a destructive forces of corruption, Malaria, AIDS and illiteracy combined; ready to prey on the hand that feeds it anytime it gets bored. The most destructive because unlike AIDS, Malaria and illiteracy, the military strikes with intent and purpose. And no one can dispute the pain and trouble these trained killers had caused and continue to cause in Africa.

Today, the African still looks in the mirror and still sees a White Man, so we continue to regard all White man’s acts (even his cough) as divinely inspired.. A recent illustration out of many:

When the European formed the European Union, the African hurriedly formed the African Union, without pausing to realize the necessity of the EU; the centuries that has passed and the numerous wars that has brought the European to this realization. So once again, the necessity of the actuality has been totally lost on the African. Even the US, a White man’s country, realized that not all things suited them. After independence, the US made a few fundamental changes which assured it’s success and stability and thus eternally established its identity; namely, its foresight not to establish a Monarchy and the separation of Religion and State.

The EU, ( with or without NATO’s approval) would soon create it’s so called peacekeeping force and so would the AU. ( merely fulfilling its artificial impulses). Sadly, here is a prediction; a very ambitious soldier would one day take this force and sweep through Africa for one reason or another or for no reason at all (as would his European counterpart someday). Do not even try to imagine the consequences.

Nkrumah’s true gift to Ghana and Africa should have been total demilitarization; that would have spared the African, at least, half the problems he faces today.

Today, no condition exist in Ghana or Africa that still requires the military; not for peace keeping or for anything else. Idealist you can brand me, but Ghana must once again show the Black man the way and rid itself of the military. That would be a crucial step towards true independence.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Columnist: Afrifa, Akwasi