Nkrumah was no saint, he was human like any of us

Whenever I see people especially the so-called aged ridiculing Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of late memory, I pause, wonder and raise so many unanswered questions in my head! And I wonder which of the leaders since Nkrumah’s time had put this nation at first interest and transformed it?

We had been here deliberating on dead people instead of focusing on building a sustainable future for the people today and the generation coming! And when the young intellects equally write to challenge the basics, they bring in age issues to make maim them!

In my training over the years, I have been taught that the intelligent ones are the ones who ask questions and probe more into issues to establish the facts surrounding a particular phenomenon/matter.

Many professors outside love it when you ask questions and are always curious to know what you think about a decision. Here in Ghana, the young persons who question the status quo is deemed arrogant and radical!

In a post, a man writes in casting aspersions on the leadership of Osagyefo Nkrumah and taints him as corrupt one who sat and supervised so to speak thievery and rots under his watch. He bemoans in a long post, but I give an excerpt:

“I have also educated myself reasonably well on the problems of Nkrumah’s years. Nkrumah corrupted the Ghanaian state through the co-option of all institutions as partners of the tyrannical state. The ones like the clergy that refused to play ball were neutralized, infiltrated or rendered ineffective.

Chieftaincy, the media, army, youth, corporate Ghana..name them…all became part of the administrative jungle that supported the one-man state in exchange for political favours. Then as now, ‘getting into the state’ or the good books of the ‘Almighty ruler’ became the easiest route to self-enrichment.

In mind, character, virtues, and values, therefore, Ghana’s leading lights also became its most corrupt. Till today, the nostalgic recollections of their children and admirers of the first generation of 10 Percenters revolve on the lavish freebies that were rolled out to these pampered babies of the Nkrumah state; at a time most Ghanaians were living and sleeping in darkness and in deprivation of many of life’s basics!”.

Nkrumah’s government in my opinion faced stiff opposition. These were from all sectors – his local people themselves (Ghanaians) and foreign powers which never liked him. He was seen as radical wanting things to be done with speed and alacrity, as opposed to the other side who wanted things to take time.

Nkrumah, being a different thinker who was seeing hundreds of light years ahead his peers at the time was never understood. He was deemed arrogant and someone who wanted to get all things for himself.

He however built and transformed the economy amidst stiff opposition from nepotism; selfish folks who wanted to amass wealth and titles to themselves at the detriment of the ordinary persons; backbiting and stab in the back from his own party members; tribalism; slackers and saboteurs. In his book, Dark Days in Ghana, he recounts many of these and I only provide few excerpts here.

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Excerpt 1 (Nkrumah facing stiff opposition):

“Busia, who led the opposition delegation to London, actually appealed to the British government not to grant independence. He said the country was not ready for it: “We still need you (the British) in the Gold Coast” He found some support among sections of the British press, but there could be no denying that the conditions laid down by the Secretary of State, that my motion for independence should be passed by “a reasonable majority in the newly elected Legislature”, had been satisfied, and at long last a date for independence was fixed—the 6th of March 1957″.

Excerpt 2 (Nkrumah with determination and tenacity to build the economy amidst slackers and saboteurs):

“In most cases, the whole economy of the country has to be reorganised, agriculture diversified, industries started from scratch, harbours, roads, airports built, and crash programmes of education inaugurated to cope with the sudden and increasing demand for skilled technicians and administrators. In this great undertaking there can be no place for slackers or saboteurs”.

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Excerpt 3 (Nkrumah reiterates his firm stands against corruption and makes personal commitments to rooting out the so-called evil):

“Right from the foundation of the Party, as everyone in Ghana knows, I have waged a ceaseless war against corruption. In the “Dawn Broadcast” made on 8th April 1961, I stressed the need to eliminate it from our society. He continues with his resolution: “I am aware that the evil of patronage finds a good deal of place in our society.

I consider that it is entirely wrong for persons placed in positions of eminence or authority to use the influence of office in patronising others, in many cases wrong persons, for immoral favours. I am seeing to it that this evil shall be uprooted, no matter whose ox is gored. The same thing goes for nepotism, which is, so to speak, a twin brother of the evil of patronage”.

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Excerpt 4 (Nkrumah further reiterates his firm stands against corruption and makes further personal commitments to rooting out the so-called evil from his own party):

“My difficulty was to get the police to enforce the principles I laid down. It was only when I personally supervised the direction of criminal investigation against ministers and prominent Party members that anything was done.

For example, a former Minister of Agriculture, F. Y. Asare, was involved with one Kojo Djaba and a civil service accomplice, and was convicted. Even this case would never have come before the courts if I had not personally set up a special body independent of the police to investigate it”.

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Nkrumah was no saint, he was human like any of us. He had his flaws as human, but in all combination, Nkrumah’s legacies will linger on for ages till ends of all times!

By Albert K Mensah

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