Kwame Nkrumah

Do you know that the soldiers who in 1966 overthrew Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s government launched a disappointing attack on the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), describing the then ongoing serious move underlying it as “a nonsensical ideal and dirty preoccupation infused with Nkrumah’s dictatorship”? And unfortunately Dr. K. A. Busia endorsed this attack with even a more destructive pronouncement that Kwame Nkrumah was seeking to be the President of Africa, thus using Ghana’s financial resources to organize the OAU!

What do you think the other African leaders would feel? Ghana was the architect of the Africa Union movement, calling for conferences, explaining the economic, agricultural and industrial, and military gains of such unity, and the respect and charisma this union would give to the African personality!

Busia unrelentingly attacked Kwame Nkrumah for showing charity to Guinea by way of giving some money to her to rebuild her administrative apparatus (including desks, files, typewriters, A-4 sheets etc) which her colonial master, France had taken away on the eve of her ( Guinea’s) independence? To Busia it was sheer wastage of Ghana’s money, and Busia himself was known to be a good Christian who knew the essence of Christian assistance! Unfortunate eh? Those of us who personally witnessed these sordid events which negated the enthusiasm and interest that the whole African continent was showing towards the achievement of African continental union government saw them as the beginning of the gradual destruction of this OAU which was dynamically spun off by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah! And our impressions became real as the OAU began to die out. Dr. Nkrumah, its motivator, had been kicked out by his political opponents and who was to keep the OAU moving and inspirit it towards the achievement of the African Union government goal? Certainly, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Nasser of Egypt, Habib Borguiba of Tunisia, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Sekou Toure of Guinea, Modibo Keita of Mali, Azikiwe of Nigeria etc. who were his liberation ‘classmates’, admiring and supporting his leadership in prosecuting the African Unity programme, felt overwhelmingly betrayed by the overthrow of Dr. Nkrumah.

And none of them had the verve and inspiration to continue stoking up the OAU fire; hence OAU became stultified, with its dying embers becoming more drenched with Ghana’s disappointing vituperations against her own one-time leader, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah!

If Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s concern for the dynamism of the OAU was for his selfish and ambitious interest of becoming the leader of Africa, (as pronounced by Dr. Busia) which President was to seriously continue to instigate the growth and promotion of OAU activities to be condemned later as a self-centred politician? Yes, President Jomo Kenyatta was reported to have expressed such sad fears in 1969 in one of his speeches in Kenya, and President Kenneth Kaunda was also heard furtively repeating them in 1971.

After all, which President desired to be called ‘self-seeking’? It can therefore be seen the kind of serious damage the 1966 coup-makers and Dr. Busia did to the life of the OAU in the mid-60s and early 1970s. Thus the OAU became a mere talking-shop, as each year African leaders met to deliberate on certain issues, and the resolutions on them merely became balderdash thereafter! The lukewarm attitude of the rest of the African leaders mostly concerned what happened in Ghana- the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who was the architect of the OAU, and the often bruising condemnations put on him and the OAU.

Under the circumstance, it was only by dint of good luck that the President of Libya, Muammar Al-Qathafi, had the serious urge to transform the OAU into a more dynamic organization by calling for the Sirte Conference (an OAU Summit) in Libya on September 9, 1999 (dubbed the 9/9/99 Summit). This gave OAU leaders strong catalyst for the inauguration of the African Union (AU) on July 12, 2002 which has eventually given birth to the seemingly important institutions, namely, the African Parliament, the African Central Bank, the African Court of Justice, and the Peace and Security Council. As an adjunct to all these has been the formulation of the NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development), a blueprint for sustainable development and good governance.

Even though by all standards, these new AU developments are an encouragement, the question as to whether or not these can practically lead us to the realization of the Union of African States (or the United States of Africa) is one that needs to be constantly raised for serious investigations.

On my part, I consider these developments to be useless ramifications of the core question of attaining political unification of Africa. I prefer to call these new developments (which are: African Court of Justice, Peace and Security Council, NEPAD, good governance criteria) unnecessary prerequisites, except African Parliament and African Bank. If actually we are in for the United States of Africa (or Union of African States which is a more preferable name), our main preoccupation should be the formulation of realistic steps which will lead to the creation of political union of Africa. Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was not only a theoretical politician, but a practical political maestro as well, who often harped upon the adage: “SEEK YE FIRST THE POLITICAL KINGDOM AND ALL OTHER THINGS WILL BE ADDED UNTO IT.” Dr. Nkrumah was talking in terms of SECULARISM not philosophical SPIRITUALISM. Yet some people misinterpreted him; especially those shallow-minded and intellectual breed of our clergy at the time considered this saying as a blasphemy and therefore condemned Dr. Nkrumah for that. What they forgot was that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah himself had studied theology to the doctorate level, and thus knew exactly that what he was saying contained no doctrinal blooper or Biblical error.

Within the context of unification of states, the key questions to be first considered are: the surrendering of part of a nation’s sovereign power; ‘fenestrated’ federalization in which the compromise state is to receive financial, technical and material support from the central government; and lastly, delineation of the responsibilities of the central government and the federal states. It is upon these three basic reasons or criteria that the AU should set up a committee of constitutional experts to: one, draw up what areas each nation is required to surrender her sovereignty (eg. defence, foreign affairs, disaster issues etc). Two, how is a federal state expected to operate within the ambit of the central government’s operations and authority; and three, where and how does the African central government show its responsibility?

The question is: have the AU Presidents ever considered these urgent questions? If so, have they set up a committee to deal with these? If the AU is being preoccupied with these political issues that will lead to the creation of the Union of African States which can have an operating governance power, then surely the adage “seek ye first the political kingdom…” is being practicalised.

It appears that many African heads of states are not into these matters, but rather prefer to become engrossed in NEPAD and its Peer Review theories etc. which are mere political excrescences destroying the smooth figure of African Union. And this brings us to the question of formation of intellectual vanguard consisting of scholarly academics and journalists who through lectures, conferences and publications and media discussions can sensitize various African governments on the need for practical steps to be taken towards the political unification of the continent. Above all, the realization of this union depends upon the charismatic grace of the Lord which we shall have to seriously tap in churches and mosques to descend upon this unification ideal. Pastors should constantly preach about or teach their congregation all about political unification of Africa and periodically ask them to fast and pray for its realization. Truly, prayers will help overcome the devil’s hurdles placed in the way of attaining a continental union government now. God bless Africa.


Last Monday, I was putting finishing touches to my submission which I was going to read at the just-ended ‘SHS Duration Forum’ organized by the government, when I had a telephone call from a friend asking me not to worry myself over presenting any paper, since the government had taken a resolute decision to keep to the three years SHS, hence the forum itself was merely a sham. I was shocked. The friend continued that the government had therefore mobilized some NDC scholars and ministers to speak to the motion that the duration was to be three years. The objective was to attain a majority vote; but if ever there was a deadlock, the government was to later announce that it would prefer the three-year SHS.

My friend sounded credible and therefore I decided not to go to present a paper a tall to waste my time. And a Daily Guide report in which a consultant to the Ministry of Education, Dr. K. B. Quansah, had spilt the beans at the forum with his declaration that: “We have already put together structures to change the SHS programme from four years to three years and the syllabus will be out by September” (D.Guide page 3) confirmed my friend’s notification. If this is so, the question to be asked is- is President Atta Mills seeking to deceive the Ghanaian public with time and money-wasting organization of a forum whose foregone conclusion has already been determined secretly? I am watching how things will go with this SHS issue before I make my serious analysis.

 By Apostle Kwamena Ahinful

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