by nlc

Man Down

We have recently marked 50 years since a great man’s removal from power, as a result of a successful coup enforced by the National Liberation Council (NLC), led by LT General Ankrah. Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is the man we all know as the father figure of our nation Ghana. We, as Ghanaians, have been taught numerous times in school that he gained independence for the country, as he worked tirelessly up the ranks from Prime Minister of the Gold Coast to the first President of the Republic of Ghana. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is to Ghana as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is to the Turks, as both shared similar visions for the good of their people, thus earning their trust. 

“The military had taken over the flagstaff house, which was the official residence of Dr. Nkrumah, and then had gone on to take over the broadcasting station. It was announced over the airwaves that there had been a coup d’état. All the ministers of state, members of parliament, district commissioners, chairmen and secretaries of the ruling political party as well as a long list of other people of interest were requested to report to the nearest police station for “their own safety”. Dad gathered a few things, got in his car and drove to the police station, where he was sent into interrogation and then, much to everyone’s surprise, placed into custody”

In the quote above, incumbent President, John Mahama’s publication “My First Coup D’état - Memories From The Lost Decades Of Africa” details his personal experience during the detainment of his father E.A Mahama (then a minister of state) by the NLC during the chaos of the coup and his resultant journey around the country in an attempt to find his father and other family members through the chaos.

As you can imagine these were trying times for Ghanaian political stability. The euphoria of independence from colonial rule appeared to have worn off, and Kwame Nkrumah’s vibrant image began to fade. Tales of corruption, economic mismanagement and an unrestrained thirst for power, followed Osagyefo and his cabinet. For some, the coup was incited by the fact he had turned Ghana into a one-party state, creating an unchecked dictatorship rule with which the people were fed up. Years later, the rumor that the CIA had a hand to play in this coup started to spread, as some speculated that the capitalist west was threatened by his ambition to unite African states under what they feared to be socialist ideologies.

The colossal figure shining upon us as a beacon of patriotism and pan-Africanism ruled Ghana for 9 years, second only to that of JJ Rawlings, which spanned from 1981, when he gained power, through to 2001. Whatever the catalyst, Kwame Nkrumah’s time at the helm was cut short by the coup of 1966. Since then, governments have come and gone, coups after coups, election after election. A question most Ghanaians still ponder over is: 

What would have come of this great nation if Dr. Nkrumah had been given more time to execute his vision?

Leave your thoughts on twitter @AccraWeDey.