Nkrumah’s vision on freedom and unification of Africa

Kwame Nkrumahcpppppp Kwame Nkrumah, First President of Ghana

Wed, 16 Feb 2022 Source: Joel Savage

Kwame Nkrumah is the Prime Minister of the first independent state of Ghana in Tropical Africa in 1957. He was one of the most prominent ideologues of the national liberation movement in Africa.

His philosophy belongs to such works as "Autobiography, I'm talking about freedom, Africa must unite, as well as Consensus - Consciousness and Class struggle in Africa ." His political philosophy, his vision of the past, present, and future of Africa, he detailed in the work "Africa must unite."

Speaking about the past of Africa, Nkrumah resolutely denied the colonial myth of "inferiority" of Africans, that they "did not invent the wheel or writing", that they "have no mathematics or art," and never had statehood. Nkrumah recalls that it was Africa that was the birthplace of man, it was in Africa that emerged and for several millennia a great Egyptian civilization developed.

Referring to written documents, he said that Ghana was already a centralized state, and in the XIV century. in the state of Mali, the successor of Ghana, some universities exchanged scientists with Spain and the states of the Muslim world.

One of the most famous Islamic writers, Ibn Battuta, committed in the middle of the XIV century, the journey through Mali left an interesting testimony (Nkrumah cites him) about the Malians' character and their political life: they "are rarely unjust and have a greater disgust for injustice than any other people.

Their Sultan is merciless to those who are even to the slightest degree guilty of this evil. In this country, there is total security. Travelers and residents do not need to be afraid of either robbers or rapists.

They do not confiscate the property of a white man who died in their country, even if they were untold riches. On the contrary, this property is deposited for trustworthy White people, and it remains with them until the legal heir enters into possession of it "

"Is it possible to say the same thing about the European contemporaries of that era?" - asks Nkrumah and responds negatively to himself. The European conquest of Africa was accompanied by monstrous atrocities. But the most tragic consequence for the development of Africa was the slave trade, which lasted three hundred or more years.

The number of Africans taken to slavery was from 20 million to 50 million people, and in their homeland, in Africa, everywhere it was possible to see inscriptions "Africans are not admitted" or "Only for Europeans". Nkrumah emphasizes that many Africans began to reconcile themselves with the idea of their "inferiority."

And when this theory was called into question, the whole system of colonialism was under attack. He notes with satisfaction the fact that in liberated Africa, most political leaders strongly reject racial discrimination. "We have suffered too much from racism to seek to perpetuate this evil," Nkrumah wrote.

A chapter on "How Ghana Became a Sovereign State" contains a very political instructive. Nkrumah immediately emphasizes that the colonial powers do not voluntarily give up political control over any country. Before they leave, they seek to cause in it a split and rivalry between different forces and groups by the old "divide and conquer" strategy.

Nkrumah talks about how the British government sought to impose a "democratic" constitution on independent Ghana, many of whose provisions severely limited its sovereignty and freedom.

Speaking for the socialist path to the progress of Ghana, Nkrumah sought to translate abstract ideological formulas and appeals to a simple and understandable language. He wrote: "We are achieving full employment, the provision of well-organized homes, and equal opportunities for the entire people to receive education and develop a culture to the highest level.

This means that: the level of prices for goods must match the level of wages, apartment, the fee should be commensurate with the means of all population groups, social services should encompass all, means of education and culture should be accessible to everyone.

Speaking about the need for industrialization, he referred to the experience of the USSR, but the most suitable model for Ghana considered countries such as Japan, China, and India.

Kwame Nkrumah was an ardent supporter of the unity of Africa. "For us, Africa with its islands is a single Africa," he stressed. - We reject any partitions. From Tangier and Cairo in the north to Cape Town in the south, from Cape Guardafui in the east to the islands of Cape Verde in the west, Africa is one and indivisible.

Nkrumah was the first to put forward the idea of the formation of the Continental government for Africa. In his opinion, this government, embodying the political and economic unification of the African continent, should pursue three main goals. First, it will carry out general economic planning on the continent.

This will require thinking and be finding ways and means to create a common market for United Africa (without tempting ourselves with the dubious benefits of association with the European Common Market), to introduce a common monetary system and currency area, to establish a central issuing bank.

Secondly, the Continental Government will ensure the establishment of a common military command by all the land, sea, and air forces of Africa, the development of a common defensive strategy to fight against a possible imperialist aggressor.

Thirdly, the Continental Government will pursue a unified foreign policy and diplomacy. This will allow the African states not only to unanimously speak in international organizations but also significantly alleviate the burden of a separate diplomatic mission outside Africa.

Developing his vision of the political formulation of African unity, Nkrumah also expressed the idea of creating a Continental parliament consisting of two chambers. One chamber, ensuring the equality of the associated states, is formed by equal representation from each of them regardless of the size of the territory and population.

It is designed to formulate a common policy on the most important issues of security, defense, and development in Africa. In another chamber, the representation of states is constructed in proportion to the size of their population and discusses all other problems of the daily life and development of Africa.

In concluding his book, Kwame Nkrumah wrote: "What unites us is much stronger than what is currently dividing us, and our common goal should be the dignity, progress, and prosperity of Africa." His call for the unification of Africa has found understanding in many African countries. In 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was created.

According to the adopted charter of the OAU, the supreme body of the OAU is the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, which meets annually. The supreme executive body is the Council of Foreign Ministers. Several committees and commissions on special issues have been created in the system of OAU bodies.

In particular, there is a special commission on mediation, conciliation, and arbitration, which helped to resolve several conflicts in African states. Remarkably, decades after Nkrumah's idea of African Unity was realized in 1963, the European Union was formed in 1993.

Columnist: Joel Savage