It’s the Time of Nkrumah!
Adnan Akfirat. Orinoco Tribune, May 26, 2023 —
Oh people, oh humanity, hear and know: Africa is being liberated!
We know that imperialism has darkened the fortunes of the land of the black skinned. Our pearl-toothed brothers and sisters are determined to overthrow the hegemony of US imperialism. European imperialism, on the other hand, is watching its feet in Africa in order to avoid the great defeat of the USA. Developing countries, especially the People’s Republic of China, are shouldering and strengthening Africa’s struggle for independence.
In the last five hundred years of imperialism, Africans have suffered the most and still suffer the most. There have been and are struggles that are an example for humanity. On the 51st anniversary of his death, we bring to your attention the struggle of the great revolutionary Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the torchbearer of Africa’s struggle for liberation, the legendary leader of Ghana, the first independent state of the continent.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, popularly known as “Osagyefo” (the warrior leader who defeated the enemy and saved the nation), was born on September 21, 1909 in the small town of Nkroful in the Western region of Ghana. He died on April 27, 1972 in Bucharest, where he was being treated for cancer.
Let us get to know Dr. Nkrumah, one of the most distinguished politicians of the nation of Ghana and of Africa, one of the founders of the “Non-Aligned Movement”, a close friend of Mao Zedong, Nehru, Tito, Ho Chi Minh, Sukarno and Nasser.
Became a scientific socialist in the U.S.
After a successful primary school education, Nkrumah studied in the U.S. and the UK and earned a PhD in economics, preferring the struggle for African independence to a life of brilliant academics.
While in the U.S., Nkrumah earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942 and a master’s degree in philosophy from the same school the following year. While teaching political science at Lincoln University, America’s first university to offer education to blacks, he was elected president of the African Student Organization of America and Canada. During this period, he embraced Scientific Socialism.
In 1945, Nkrumah left the United States for England to study law and complete his doctoral dissertation in philosophy, enrolling at the London School of Economics. In Britain, he met senior Pan African leader George Padmore and helped organize the Fifth Pan African Congress.
After 10 years in the US and two and a half years in the UK, Nkrumah returned home to become secretary-general at the invitation of Ghana’s first political party, the United Gold Coast Congress Party (UGCC). The colonialists then were calling Ghana the “Gold Coast”. In 1949, Nkrumah left the UGCC to form the Congress People’s Party (CPP). From then on, Nkrumah thought of nothing else but freeing the Gold Coast from the shackles of colonialism. He became the chief architect and artisan of Ghana’s independence and the founding father of the Republic of Ghana. (1)
Not the Gold Coast – Ghana!
Nkrumah’s party won 71 out of 104 seats in the 1956 general elections, giving it an absolute majority. Britain’s Colonial Governor invited Nkrumah, then in detention, to join the government. Nkrumah, in turn, demanded an end to colonial rule. At the end of mass demonstrations, Britain backed down and on March 6, 1957, the country of the “Gold Coast” declared its independence. After independence, Nkrumah changed the colonial name of the “Gold Coast” to Ghana, inspired by the ancient Ghana Empire that lasted from the fourth to the thirteenth century.
Nkrumah’s political goal was to re-liberate the entire African continent and unite it under the name of the United States of Africa. Indeed, he founded the Organization of African Unity in 1963.
Ghana’s independence in 1957 was the African continent’s smoothest and first experience of an independent state. It was entirely a reflection of Kwame Nkrumah’s brilliant mind and reassuring personality. It brought pride and self-respect not only to Ghana, but to the whole of Africa and to all black people around the world. Thirty-six countries in Africa gained independence in the decade after 1957. Nkrumah gave strength not only to Africans and blacks in the USA and Europe, but also to the struggle of all oppressed countries through the “Non-Aligned Movement”, of which he was one of the founders, and became the darling of the peoples.
Nkrumah saw the power of Western industrialized countries and their multinational corporations as the main threat to the economic well being of Third World countries moving towards independence. He therefore announced a program in which the government would nationalize the means of production and distribution and use the resources for industrialization and social development. (2)
From the moment Nkrumah took office as Ghana’s first president, he proclaimed to the world his program of non-alignment, positive socialism and the unswerving struggle for African unification. A closer look reveals that this program is similar to Atatürk’s “6 Arrows” program.
Overthrown by the CIA in a military coup
US imperialism was alarmed by Ghana’s liberation from the shackles of colonialism, its strong economic progress and its role model for Africa and all the oppressed nations of the world. The CIA made six assassination attempts. Nkrumah was overthrown by a military coup on February 24, 1966, in his ninth year in power. The coup was carried out by senior officers of the Ghanaian Army under the guidance of the US intelligence agency, the CIA.
Dr. Nkrumah was out of the country at the time of the coup. He had traveled to Hanoi (now Ho Chi Minh City), the capital of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, via the People’s Republic of China at the invitation of President Ho Chi Minh, having received a promise from the US administration not to bomb in order to establish peace in Vietnam. Dr. Nkrumah learned about the coup from the leader of the People’s Republic of China, Prime Minister Zhou En-lai, in Beijing, where he had arrived to return home.
Nkrumah declared that the coup was orchestrated by the United States and its intelligence agency, the CIA, but the United States denied this. Official US documents declassified in 1999 proved that the coup was a US plot.
John Stockwell, who worked for the CIA in Africa for many years, published a definitive account of the CIA’s role in Nkrumah’s overthrow in his 1978 book “In Search of Enemies.” (3)
On May 9, 1978, Seymour Hersh, a renowned American journalist, published in the New York Times the role of the CIA in Nkrumah’s overthrow. (4)
Dr. Nkrumah could not return to his country and sought refuge with his close ally, President Ahmet Sekou Toure of Guinea. Ahmet Toure made him an honorary co-president of Guinea.
Dr. Nkrumah died on April 27, 1972 in Bucharest, Romania, where he had gone for cancer treatment.
Guinean President Ahmed Sekou Toure gave him a grand funeral and said: “Kwame Nkrumah was one of the men who determined the destiny of mankind in the struggle for freedom and dignity. Kwame Nkrumah is alive and will live forever, because Africa, grateful to him, will live forever.” (5)
Nkrumah continued his struggle from Guinea while in exile. He led the activities of the Congress People’s Party against severe repression. Every week on Radio Guinea he broadcast the program “Voice of the Revolution” and addressed the people with very effective speeches.
In one of his speeches he said:
“Ghana has always been a country feared and hated by the imperialists and neocolonialists. Immediately after independence, I declared that Ghana’s independence was meaningless unless it was linked to the total liberation of Africa. Today at least 36 African countries have achieved political independence. I also stated that political independence couldn’t be sustained without economic freedom and independence. The imperialists, colonialists and neo-colonialists, racists and settler regimes in Africa know this. That is why they relentlessly seek to maintain their exploitative control over the economy and natural resources of the -emerging‖ African states.
“In Ghana, our many state-owned factories and industries, state and cooperative farms and enterprises, and the huge Volta River Complex have put us in a position to revolutionize our industrialization and agriculture. This was the sure way to achieve our economic independence. For the imperialists and neocolonialists, Ghana had therefore become too dangerous an example for the rest of Africa to be allowed to continue under socialist leadership.” (6)
Nkrumah lives on and fights
The well-known proverb of the Turkish nation is “Fear does not change your destiny!” tells us that necessity will change desires. The US overthrew Nkrumah, but his independence, mixed economic model and development program are today leading Africa from success to success. The black continent is putting its weight behind the future of humanity. In the coming years, all plans that do not take Africa into account will come to naught!
And a few words for Turkey: With almost half of its population Muslim, Africa deserves closer attention from Turkey. To understand Africa, we need to know and learn from the heroes of the continent of the black skinned people, one of the most important valleys of the great humanity.
We remember the great revolutionary Nkrumah with respect and gratitude, who is Great Ataturk’s spiritual comrade-in-arms!
Adnan Akfirat is former representative to China and Member of International Relations Bureau of the Patriotic Party of Türkiye; Chairman of Turkish-Chinese Business Development and Friendship Association (Turk-Cin Is Der); visitor researcher of Shanghai University Turkish Studies Center and Shihezi University Silk Road Research Center. Mr. Akfirat has been living in Shanghai since 2011.
1. Eric Kaku Quaidoo’s master’s thesis from the University of Ghana provides extensive information about Nkrumah. https://scholars.fhsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1177&context=theses
6. The tape transcripts of Kwame Nkrumah’s addresses to the people of Ghana in Conakry between March and December 1966 on Radio Guinea’s “Voice of the Revolution” program were collected and published as a book by Panaf Publications in London. Transcribed by Eric Kaku Quaidoo.