RE Kotoka In Ghana’s Political History
BY Abena Pokuaa Atuahene Ackah
Needless to say, Kotoka’s coup d’état of 1966 undoubtedly forestalled the nation’s far-reaching development plans. In that regard, the current reprehensible state of the nation cannot be excused from that most notorious act of treason by Kotoka and his ilk. Most certainly his name will continue to be a hushed subject of discussion but he will forever remain the fall guy in the unenviable sections of the history of Ghana and Africa.
In this regard it is amazing how some fellow Ghanaians continue to demonstrate a strange inability to comprehend and appreciate how the dynamics and the intrigues of world politics are directly linked to international trade and the downfall of Ghana. They have, as a result, misconstrued the much-desired socio-economic and political trajectory of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for Ghana and Africa. Of course, the dearth of knowledge immanent in some Ghanaians – or absolute envy of the man’s influence, underscores the inordinate hatred for Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and his disputed good intentions. For the detractors, Osagyefo’s developmental agenda is considered as “misguided”; an allusion that continues to be inconsistent with the realities of the current conditions, especially, when after 44 years of his overthrow, the nation is far from being guided to the righteous path of development. Indeed, one can only describe Osagyefo’s opponents as obstacles of proper wisdom who lodged themselves in their brains without room for self introspection.
This article is in response to Mr. Larweh Therson-Cofie’s article published in the Daily Graphic of Monday, May 2, 2011, asserting the relevance of Kotoka’s coup d’état and its subsequent significance in the political trajectory of Ghana. His article raises considerable cause for dispute due to its disposition to offer a myopic view of the conditions prevailing at the time and which is focused largely on the premise to serve the parochial interests of the nation’s traitors. Let us examine carefully the key critical issues he raises in his article. He states inter alia that;
1. “In 1964, Dr. Nkrumah transformed the Republic into a one party state. The flag of the ruling Convention People’s Party (CPP) replaced the national flag of red, gold and green with a black star at the center. There were other significant changes. A socialist-communist political system of one –party-elected central government and a parliament elected by the people from candidates of the only political party took the place of the multy-party system.
To properly analyse this statement, it is imperative to highlight the two key issues: imposition of one-party-state and a socialist political system.
The One Party State:
Referencing my position on the article, “New Democracy for Africa”, published in the Daily Graphic on 26th and 28th April 2011, I (myself), explained the varying political systems and their practices in some major parts of the world; and affirmed that the one party state is a recognized and demonstrable democratic political system. It is so because there is demonstrable mass participation in decision-making and people are elected to office through popular votes albeit in a manner which is different from the system bequeathed upon us by those who autocratically ruled us for over 500 years.
The Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, in his undoubted bid to play a major role in the struggle against neo-colonial interests on the continent, recognized the need to apply the most convenient measures and pursue goals that would advance rapid modernization, complete with an Africanized and educated workforce. He believed further that these goals could be achieved faster if it were not undermined by reactionary politicians (the then opposition) who had already compromised with the Western imperialists. This and many reasons explored below necessitated the need for a unitary governance system.
Without any doubt, the one party state came into being through legislature, backed by a popular constitutional referendum on January 31, 1964. In that referendum, 2,773,920 voters representing 99.91% of the electorate voted yes as against 2,452 representing only 0.09%. (African Elections Database). This was unprecedented in the history of this nation. I have heard the opposition make snide comments to the effect that, that referendum was rigged, but then so are all other elections presumed to be rigged including the ones they have won in the past and present. Being that as it may, Nkrumah’s adversaries have not been able, apart from rumour and calumny, to provide any documentary evidence to substantiate their claims. Quite surprisingly, the CIA a known antagonist of Nkrumah admitted to the popularity, the immense influence, and the overflowing admiration that the Osagyefo enjoyed from the vast majority of Ghanaians. They contended that the only way to overthrow his government was to frustrate him and constrict the nation’s main financial resource base (cocoa) in order to curtail and undermine his developmental agenda.
The first national assembly of the republic was dissolved in 1965 and a general election in which all the one hundred and ninety-eight (198) members from the amalgamated national party were elected. Clearly, it was the people of Ghana who opted for the one party state and not the negative propaganda that Nkrumah had installed himself as Life President. There would otherwise not have been the need for the decision by the Central Committee of the CPP to nominate Nkrumah on Saturday, May 29, 1965 as the President of the Republic. It was rather Mr. Larweh and his UP tradition - the latter-day democrats, who failed to accept the will of the majority in 1951, 1954, 1956, 1960, 1964 elections and whose inordinate desire to win power by all possible ways and means resorted to violence and extreme provocation.
Socialist Political System:
Our imperialist muddled concept of “socialism” has made the ideology seem repugnant, resulting in all manner of warped analyses. Most people have therefore come to perceive socialism as an undemocratic system because they are incapable of distinguishing political systems from economic tools. Capitalism is usually described as “an economic system where resources are owned by an individual or a group without any government intervention or interferences of the dealings of the individual or group. Socialism on the other hand is an economic system where resources are owned by the state or the public and believes that cooperation is the best way for people to coexist and the fastest route to development. The main thrust of capitalism is therefore the freedom for everyone to work for his own wealth, while in socialism everyone works for a comprehensive wealth which is proportionately distributed to all”. (wiseGeek “Capitalism and Socialism, www.wisegeek.com)
The two definitions of capitalism and socialism are influenced by two opposing views for which the latter reflects a presumption of equal wealth distribution to everyone from everyone’s hard work. This view of socialism cannot be true, because of the very distinctive nature of creation which God himself placed on human existence and there cannot therefore be an absolute equality in the distribution of wealth where our varying backgrounds augment our ability to acquire different status in life; and therefore the infantile assertion of equal distribution of wealth can certainly not be true; and it is a blatant perversity to vulgarize and belittle the benevolence of the socialist concept in the manner that is championed by imperialists and their local lackeys. Likewise, the superficial glamour of capitalism has also been applied to erode the obvious values of socialism as a distinctive development tool, and it is indeed, saddening to realize how peoples’ minds have been so manipulated and brainwashed to believe that democracy is synonymous with capitalism.
The consequences are what we are experiencing in the world toady – the inordinate and pervasive corruption, the greed, and the underhand dealings. A US President - Arthur Kennedy was conscious of the need for human-centered focus in our political endeavors and affirmed this in a speech that “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich” - Barrack Obama, (2006) quoting President Kennedy. This very statement fulfils the socialist concept, and addresses sufficiently, the capacity of the concept to accomplish the socio-economic problems in society.
At this instant, I am tempted to align my thoughts with the two concepts - socialism and capitalism with those of Allan Gregory who asserts that “Capitalism approves, authorizes, sanctions and regulates greed in what its proponents see as socially acceptable ways. Capitalism says that greed as a motivator, is a social utility and without it there would be no progress in human development. Socialism, on the other hand views greed as a fundamentally flawed and denies any inherent social utility of greed. Instead of merely regulating greed so that the greedy can have free competition to acquire as much as possible, socialism sees that the desire, attempt, and actions to acquire property beyond what is actually needed for health and comfort are all causes of a multitude of social problems, not the least of which is the basic fact that, when property is finite, the more one person has the less is available to others” (Allan Gregory “The difference between capitalism and socialism” Turning the wheels of wonder, Monday, July 17, 2006. Wonderwheels.blogspot.com/2006/07).
Gregory’s claim of socialism is consistent with Jesus’ own demonstration in His desire to help the poor in the parable of separating the sheep from the goats, and in doing so; Jesus remarked that those who feed the hungry and clothe the poor will be rewarded on the judgment day. Even Jesus, recognizing the distinctions in creation by His Father in heaven, preached the compelling need to create equal opportunity for all irrespective of class status in society. It is in this direction that extreme poverty can be eradicated from society; that the reasonable availability and or the accessibility of quality education, good health care delivery, decent accommodation and accessible participation in the decision-making process can be realized; and it is the realization of improved socio-economic and cultural conditions that consent to free and equal practice of political self determination. What socialism seeks to do is to create equal opportunity in order to close the gap between the rich and the poor; not to forcibly bring artificial uniformity between them. It aims to assist individuals/groups - particularly the vulnerable in society to enable them acquire basic skills that will extricate them from the shackles of crass poverty.
Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah only sought to achieve this and in his bid to shape a unique political system for the ultimate benefit of our exclusive needs, he recognized the possible dangers of interference from the imperialists and wrote to President Johnson of United States on 26th February, 1964, and I quote, “Mr. President, the ravages of colonialism and its effect upon the territories now emerging from colonialism, make it difficult and almost impossible for us in Africa to follow the traditional path of capitalist development”. This letter was to prepare the mind of the US president of his unwavering resolve to shape the destiny of our nation based upon the principles of Self Determination, Social Justice and Pan-Africanism. This determination reflected in his independence speech in which he appealed to Ghanaians for the needed support to shape the destiny of this country. But, some Ghanaians, so blinkered in their thinking could not, for their selfish ends, foresee the long-term benefits of Nkrumah’s policies, and therefore rejected his efforts and condoned with the imperialists to destroy the nation’s rapid growth process.
2. “There was a judicial system. But the judiciary that existed then was such that the President could dismiss a judge because he appointed him or her. A good example was the dismissal of Justice Arku-Korsah for giving a verdict that displeased the president”
Perhaps, it is appropriate to define what a constitution is at this juncture. A constitution is “a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is. Generally, every written constitution confers specific powers to an organization or institutional entity, established upon the primary condition that it abides by the said constitution’s limitation”. (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia). And so the prevailing constitution was the constitution written by the people of Ghana - including the vicious members of the opposition. The provisions in it empowered the President of Ghana to appoint and dismiss judges as and when the specific need arose. That was the constitution of Ghana at that time; and even though constitutions are subject to amendments and reviews; there was no such amendment or a review to the constitution which Osagyefo violated; and therefore the people of Ghana were bound by the dictates contained in that document; therefore the prescriptions of the constitution and the actions of the Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah were mutually complementary. Mr. Larweh perhaps should put himself in the shoes of the President where his life was continuously threatened with assassination attempts; where many people were maimed and school children killed; where the perpetrators of these crimes had eluded justice on flimsy technical grounds; and where you have the power to appoint and dismiss judges; what line of action would Mr. Larweh have taken in this matter?
Nkrumah never sacked civilians; rather, immediately power was handed over to Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia by his military cohorts, he dismissed many senior officers in the civil service and this marks the beginning of our current woes where every new government sacks existing officers or subverts their effective operations at work. The consequential effect is what seemingly, is happening in all our government institutions today. It was this act of mass dismissal of civil servants that the Sallah case became a case law. Mr. Sallah contested the government’s decision in court and the court ruled in his favour and the others. Busia ostensibly defied the court ruling and went on ahead to dismiss those he deemed were pro-Nkrumaist. Ghanaians who were old enough can recollect Prime Minister Busia squeaking in his falsetto
voice “No Court! No Court”! Over the years Nkrumah’s detractors have attempted to conceal this event by rather directing greater attention on Nkrumah’s dismissal of Justice Arku-Korsah in order to obscure this unprincipled event that occurred during their time.
3. “The economy was stagnating and the national coffers were almost empty – as prices of gold and cocoa, major sources of foreign exchange, began to fall on the world market”
We are yet to witness any comparable record of successive presidents of this nation since Kwame Nkrumah. Again, the refusal to appreciate the challenges at the time betrays the irrational judgment by those Ghanaians who hold Kwame Nkrumah in bad light. Clearly, the Osagyefo incurred the displeasure of the western powers because of his nationalistic pursuit, as a result, the imperialist cabal willfully brought down the price of cocoa to starve our source of income in order to frustrate our developmental agenda. Is it therefore not surprising that immediately after the coup, the price of cocoa shot up? It is therefore imperative for any well-meaning Ghanaian to be familiar with the maneuverings of international politics - particularly that of the imperialist nations. In Barrack’s Obama’s own book - “Audacity of Hope” (2006), he depicts the peculiar disposition of his own people when it comes to international politics and I quote “In our zeal to protect the patents of American drug companies, we discouraged the ability of countries like Brazil to produce generic Aids drugs that could save millions of lives” This revelation reveals the typical exploitative misdemeanours of the West in negative actions they take against other countries irrespective of its adverse socio-political effect on that country.
For Osagyefo, his dream was to change Africa for good and he therefore projected Ghana as an example for the rest of Africa to follow. He recognized the need for the survival of the African continent and contended that it was only through African unity that the continent can make any headway. In his book Africa Must Unite, he affirmed that “In the industrial sphere, our aim has been to encourage the establishment of factories where we have a natural advantage in local resources and labor, or where we can produce essential commodities required for development or for domestic consumption. During 1961, over 60 new factories were opened in the country. Among them were a distillery, a coconut oil factory, a brewery, a milk-processing plant, and a lorry and bicycle plant. In addition, agreements were signed for a large modern oil refinery, an iron and steel works, a flour mill, sugar, textile and cement factories. For unless we attain economic freedom, our struggle for independence would have been in vain and our plans for social and cultural advancement frustrated”
The list of factories that were established in addition to the aforementioned is as follows: The Jute Factory, Rubber Plantations, and The Bonsa Tyre Industry - we started producing tyres before Brazil, Korea and others; they are now major producers and exporters. A Shoe Factory, a Glass Factory, a Tyre Factory, a Meat Processing Factory, Two Canneries for Fruits and Tomatoes, a Chocolate Factory, the Daboase Paper Processing Industry, Food Processing Industry, Tema Steel Industry, a Radio and TV Assembly Plant, a Gold Processing Factory which was abandoned after his overthrow and many others were all established and firmly grounded in this country.
In addition to building the huge Hydro-electric plant at Akosombo, Osagyefo established the Energy Commission for the exploration of nuclear, solar and wind energy to generate electricity and also commenced the building of the Bui Dam for which the Russians had brought down their machines at the time of the coup d’état. He developed a lot of infrastructural projects, built the motor way from Accra to Tema which was only few years younger than Britain’s stretch of motorway. Sadly after his overthrow his plans for the “Golden Triangle” motorway to linkup major cities and towns of Ghana were shelved by the military junta, on the advice of an IMF team that visited the country soon after the coup (An IC publication New African Magazine). The Tema Harbour and Tema Industrial Integrated City was supposed to be an economic industrial enclave with excellent facilities to attract foreign and local investors to the place. We started this before Singapore, Malaysia, China and Vietnam. Now they have all managed to attract huge investments whereas Ghana lost thrust after the 1966 coup.
All these industries were strategically meant to boost development in a more comprehensive form. At the time, individuals could not have established them due to lack of capital and the absence of entrepreneurial skills. However, there were several private businesses in Nkrumah’s time like foreign timber merchants, foreign commercial houses and contractors, private cocoa farmers, good private schools, many private businesses etc. So it is never true that Nkrumah’s era did not allow private participation and therefore operated communism. In a communist state, all means of production belong to the state. No exploitation by man which means no private person can employ and this never happened during the epoch of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He did not rule out the benefits of foreign investment, but he also believed in developing local capabilities as the bedrock to facilitate industrialization.
All the factories were sited at appropriately planned locations where raw materials were accessible to feed these factories and gave employment to the people. The creation of the Ghana, Guinea, and Mali Union was meant to expand the market for the advancement of Ghana’s industrial programme. We could not have waited to go round the world begging foreigners to come and invest such as we now do without any meaningful results. We needed to start our national development ourselves. Osagyefo intention was to build a welfare state which considered the human resource element as the most vital resource. Some of the industries were to be run by the state and gradually divested to local investment consortium or investors. His speech at the commissioning of the Atomic Commission, outlines his programme for the Commission, UST and Agriculture in Ghana. The industries were set up using state funds, and so for a tradition that claimed most of the intelligentsia it would have been easier to form better competent management to ensure that the industries survived. But of course the neo-colonialist mentality was to ensure that the local industries collapsed while Ghana was targeted as a ready-market by their paymasters, for their finished goods. It is this behaviour that has landed us thus far.
Under the nine-year rule of Nkrumah, 68 state enterprises and 100 industries were established across the country. This generated vast employment opportunities to the people of this nation. Each industry employed between 250-1000 persons putting vast numbers of Ghanaians in employment. Each person employed automatically took care of several members of his/her family, an action that is synonymous with our traditional principles. Each industry also had a gestation period of about five years and none of these industries even used the abundant availability of raw materials.
Under Nkrumah, Ghana had a continental radio station that broadcast throughout Africa and beyond. The objective was to facilitate the African liberation struggle with relevant pro-African news. Nkrumah developed infrastructural projects by opening up Ghana with new roads, housing and telephone services. Those days it was possible for one to phone from village Post Offices. Ghana Airways was booming and at the time of the coup, there were about 15 Russian planes that had been acquired for Ghana Airways. They were sitting on the Tarmac yet to be taken over by Ghana Airways. That would have made Ghana Airways the biggest carrier in Africa. At that time there were few national carriers in Africa. Ghana could have firmly secured the African market. We missed the opportunity and since then Ghana Airways never made it until its eventual collapse.
In the field of education, he built secondary schools, technical schools, training colleges through out the country, some of which have turned into universities; built three universities; two from the scratch and one (university of Ghana) was expanded to a befitting status giving it a medical school for which he used local personnel in establishing and within a matter of 10 years turned out to be one of the best medical schools in the world. Nkrumah declared free education to ensure that every Ghanaian gets access to education and free medical care which made Ghana the icon of Africa.
Those Ghanaians who must have been young adults must have known how Ghana was after over 150 years of British Rule. Ghana had very few primary and secondary schools, clinics which was the reserve of the colonial administrative workers and a few of the elite who towed their line. Our railway system and road network were to serve the exploitative interest of the colonial authorities. Employment Opportunities for Ghanaians were limited. It is clear that the opposition never believed that Osagyefo could achieve so much from 1957 to 1966 that they really could not bring themselves to accept the fantastic achievements which they then set out to dismantle immediately after his overthrow. For Osagyefo to have provided employment for every Ghanaian desirous of working was a master stroke of ingenuity. Obviously if these developments left the national coffers empty, it is far better than where so much money is sunk into the system
by international donors and yet we see a continuous reversal of national development and the avaricious looting of government coffers.
4. “The crux was that there was no lawful means to change a government that
the People found distasteful and unworkable”
This statement is fundamentally corrupt and reflects a mere demonstration of mischief that is consistent with the tradition that overthrew Osagyefo. Mr. Larweh, by the disposition of his article, which seemingly suggests a conviction in the rule of law and by extension democracy; could by any stretch of imagination think that the only way to do away with the constitution of one party state, established by the people and powered by the legislature could only be done through the gun. The question one will therefore ask is that are Mr. Larweh and his ilk real democrats as they profess to be? Their resentment to the constitution could have been expressed in several other ways without violence as follows:
• People could express their dissatisfaction through demonstrations for another referendum.
• The citizens could call for a constitutional review/amendment as is happening currently in the nation.
5. “The change that came on February 24, 1966 was a welcome one. It restored
Ghana to a multi-party parliamentary system of government. Ghanaians began once more to enjoy fully the fundamental human rights that Nkrumah regime denied them”.
The critical issues raised in this statement are – multi-party democracy and human rights abuse and I will deal with each issue in its own context.
The nation lost its potency emanating from the 1966 coup and for any Ghanaian to have seen this as a welcoming event is surely an ignominy not only on the nation but the continent as a whole. We have failed as a people to identify what is right for us, and continue to ape our survival in this imprudent Western democracy aim to subjugate, divide, infiltrate and exploit us. The multi party democracy is ensued by so much electoral contentions with the tendency of the opposing minority being oppressed by the tyranny of the majority. This multi party democracy is nothing but oligarchic system controlled by corporations and this view is furthered in Allan Gregory’s argument and I quote, “Since the time after the US civil war, the people behind business corporations have succeeded in eroding every major limitation on corporate wealth and power and have used corporations as the economic vehicle to amass wealth and control society hiding the damaging corporate greed behind spin control and capitalist propaganda” (Allan Gregory “The difference between capitalism and socialism” Turning the wheel of wonder, Monday, July 17, 2006. Wonderwheels.blogspot.com/2006/07). Barrack Obama (2006) also viewed multi-party democracy as bringing no return to prosperity and I quote, “Democracy has not brought any return to prosperity, for example after the democratization and explosion of independent news papers and political parties in Indonesia, per capita income is nearly 22% less than it was in 1997. It is this putrefied Western Democracy that some Ghanaians want to use to Judge Osagyefo Dr. Kwame.
Human Rights Abuse:
It is difficult for me to understand why terrorist activities that subverted not only the sovereignty of this country but the peace and tranquility for development is seen by some Ghanaians as good; and in trying to vilify Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah posit this very action as a result of his unduly arrest of people without trial. Let us see the various events that lead to peoples’ arrest and I am sure after Mr. Larweh’s critical introspection this assertion will be debunked forever.
There was an attempted coup as early as 1958 a year after the independence. This should tell you the character of the opposition at that time and the inordinate desire for power at all cost. On 01/08/62 there was a bomb blast at Kulungugu dabbed “Kulungugu bomb”. Weekly Spectator issue July 29, 1972 with the caption “VIOLENCE – THAT IS BUSIA’S CUP OF TEA”. It affirmed that “Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia will find a place in the pages of history, but it will certainly not be on the list of men to remember for their contribution to civilization or human progress. In one year alone, 1962, in pursuit of his ambitions, Busia directed the mass bombing campaign from Accra to Kulungugu in which at least a dozen persons, including 5 children and two mothers were killed and several hundreds injured – many of them maimed for life”
On 09/09/62 there was another bomb blast, three people were killed and several hundreds injured at Dodowa Villas. On 20/09/62, there was another bomb blast one girl killed and several wounded at Lucas House. On 6/11/62, there was another bomb blast two children injured at Chorkor. On 20/09//62, there was another bomb blast and one girl was killed and several people wounded at Flagstaff House. On 08/01/63 there was another bomb blast and 5 were killed and 85 people wounded at Accra Sports Stadium. On 22/01/63 Tieko Tagoe arrested carrying a bomb at Bukom Square. Dr. JB Danquah was seriously engaged with the CIA to subvert Ghana “his beloved”. What a patriot he was? These were uncountable attempts to physically eliminate the President and clandestinely overthrow the sovereignty of Ghana.
All these events took place when the country had not voted for a one party state. The big question is why people should justify such terrorist activities under the pretext of one party state and undue arrest; when indeed the terrorist activities preceded these two events. It is in this direction that the parliament of Ghana enacted the use of Preventive Detention Act that arrested suspected terrorists to save this country from collapsing. The president could not freely engage in any public event and it is therefore regrettable that we have allowed our parochial interest to obscure the truth and realities of the time.
It will interest you to know that immediately after the overthrow of Osagyefo, the military junta and their cohorts who supervised the transition from military rule to civilian, quickly established a law that arrested and jailed thousands’ of people without trial. This included many inhuman atrocities for which one of such was where Mr. Boy Moses was put in a cage like a dog and paraded in the streets of Accra just because of his loyalty to Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. What act is more inhuman than this? If we juxtapose the thousands that were jailed against four hundred (400) prisoners in the whole of Nkrumah’s reign which included many prisoners who have been jailed for civil and criminal offences; Mr. Larweh and his ilk have no moral right to accuse Osagyefo of human rights abuses.
6. “Today, the story would have been different if the CPP founded by Dr. Nkrumah was in power and if Ghana had remained a one-party state”
Obviously, if we had supported Nkrumah’s efforts our country would have witnessed a massive improvement in industrialization; our infrastructure would have been one of the best in the world; the motorway would have been the “Golden Triangle” of motorways linking up the major cities and towns of Ghana and West Africa. Of course, the story would have been even better if we had the atomic reactor to supplement our energy needs, three (3) state universities better than any in Africa, of which by now we would have seen universities in all our regions. Of course, Nkrumah’s story would have progressed into a flamboyant Ghana which was far ahead of Malaysia even at the time of his overthrow; the story would have made Singapore, Malaysia, China, and so on and so forth look like castles made of sand.
These countries practice their own systems of governance without any interference from the West; and today we witness enormous development which can only be attributed to the tenacity and the political will of the people to transform their nations. These countries started with industrialization at the time when nobody had any regard for their products and now they are producing all sorts of consumer products including cars. This has come about because they religiously pursued what they believed, could transform their nations.
Of course, the story would have changed to a more pleasant political system devoid of divisiveness, ethnocentrism and extreme greed. The spirit of nationalism would have been at its peak, and the picture would have been definitely different from today. Our airwaves will not be full of empty, petty, vulgar debate and noise without any corresponding debate on real developmental issues. The country’s developmental pattern will not be undermined by Western manipulative influence. Indeed, the story would have been very different and beautiful.
I would like to conclude with an excerpt from Martin Luther King’s sermon preached at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on April 17, 1957 and I quote, “Nkrumah started thinking about Pan-Africanism and the problem of how to free his people from colonialism, for as he said, he always realized that colonialism was made for domination and exploitation. It was made to keep a certain group economically for the advantage of another. And he studied and thought about all this and one day he decided to go back to Africa. He got to Africa and he was immediately elected the executive secretary of the United Party of the Gold Coast. And he worked hard and he started getting a following. And the people in this party, the old, and the people who had their hands on the plow for a long time, thought he was pushing a little too fast and they got jealous of his influence. So finally he had to break from the UGCC, and in 1949 he organized the CPP. It was this party that started out working for the independence of the Gold Coast”
Dr. King went further to give a descriptive account of the struggle that, “He started out in a humble way urging his people to unite for freedom and urging the officials of the British Empire to give them freedom. They were slow to respond, but the masses of the people were with him, and they had united to become the most powerful and influential party that had ever been organized in the section of Africa. The persistent protest, the continual agitation on the part of Prime Minister Nkrumah and those who worked along with him and the masses of the people who were willing to follow made the realization of that independence possible”
It is not coincidental that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah founded modern Ghana, for it was his wish that the black race as a whole is rescued from dire poverty, deprivation and the clutches of imperialism. Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah will continue to confound his critics in the development of this country and Africa as the years go by. Increasingly, a majority of well meaning Ghanaians and Africans will concede to his thoughts on colonialism, its implication on the continent and the necessary steps he took to address these problems. In order to placate the malicious perceptions by some ungrateful Ghanaians against the Osagyefo, there is the need for some national introspection exercise to awaken our consciousness.
Without any fear, I humbly ask the President of the Republic of Ghana – His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills to name the International Airport after Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. We cannot continue to keep the name of the traitor who overthrew the greatest African of the millennium and the nation’s development on our International Airport; which is the gateway to Ghana of which the Osagyefo founded. This act in itself reflects the deep rooted deception perpetrated by his opponents; and the lack of political will in setting the records straight in this country. It is an indictment on our national conscience so long as we keep the name of Kotoka on our International Airport.