The Other Side Of Kwame Nkrumah We Never Knew

October 6th, 2015 || Pan-Africanism

                                     Nkrumah is a very lonely man,a very lonely man-Sir Arden Clark

Kwame Nkrumah was the first African leader to have won independence for an African country,Ghana,first in the Sub-Sahara Africa.He was the founder of modern Ghana.He was  the main architect behind the then Organisation of African Union now African Union which led to the loosening of the grips of colonialism on African Soil.He was the champion and a redeemer of the African liberation movement all over the continent.He brought black consciousness  by educating them on their ability to rule themselves without outside help.Nkrumah is loved throughout the continent, and Africans in the diaspora and the world.His energy,intellectualism and boldness confounds  many blacks and whites alike.His overthrown was considered a curse not only in his country but Africa as a whole.Aside all his glamorousity, Nkrumah was not the kind of man he was purported to be.As a man, he had his own weaknesses. But in all,what I will like to say here is that Nkrumah was a disturbed man, and I will show you why?

 

Nkrumah lived in abroad for 12 years. An itinerant students, invariably penniless but politically ambitious.In the US he ended his degrees in economics, sociology and philosophy. Nkrumah earned his living during his student vacation, he worked as laborer in a soup factory and as a ship steward. Nkrumah had tried selling fish on the street corners of Harlem, the home base of Malcolm  X. After some years in the US, Nkrumah moved to London in 1945.He decided to study Law but abandoned it(probably he had no funds for that or  lost interest a long the way) and joined the left wing political movement, creating connections with leading communist in London and participating in anti-colonial protest. Nkrumah with all his connections with leading British communist, he still finds it difficult to make ends meet. Nkrumah would spend hours discussing politics in cheap cafes in Camden Town. When he was asked by J.B. Danquah to be the General Secretary of the newly formed political party called UGCC (United Gold Coast Convention), he took it up with great excitement.Danquah was purported to have suggested the name Ghana.He is a relative of the current  New patriotic party Presidential candidate for the next year elections(2016) in Ghana.Danquah died in detention under Nkrumah’s regime.

With his left wing Ideas, Nkrumah Fell out with Danquah and his colleagues and broke a way and formed his own party,CPP. Through that Nkrumah won independence for Ghana and championed the liberation of African states under colonial rule.Many Ghanaian youths  have only heard the good things of Nkrumah  and the many politicians to day in Ghana are seriously cashing in on Nkrumah’s so called legacy and because they have no pedigree and they’ve lost face among the population they are hiding  behind  the propaganda machinery done by the so called Nkrumah’st to deceive the masses that Nkrumah was infallible and that our Independence brought us freedom.A freedom which is still not understood.A freedom of which only few are benefiting.

Nkrumah  Was  A  Lonely  Man

 

He never trusted his close friends. He never confined in them.He enjoyed the company of women,but feared intimacy and declared he had no time to get married.One of the most trusted relationships he formed was with the Governors private secretary,Erica Powell, an English woman who arrived in the Gold Coast .She later became  not only Nkrumah’s private secretary but a confidant.Arden- Clark the then Governor,once said to Erica when she was invited BY Nkrumah for a dinner in his house,”Nkrumah is a very lonely man,a very lonely man.”Nkrumah often  telephones her late at night, “sometimes I listened while he became more and more drowsy and slurred in his speech”,she recalled in her memoirs.”But if I suggested hanging up he would come to life”.He arrived late at her flat unexpectedly one evening complaining about the crowd of people hanging around his home and promptly fell asleep.She encouraged him to find a quite place and taking interest in food and personal fitness.In her memoirs,she described Nkrumah as moody,erratic,impatient and volatile but also charming and considerate when it suited him.Despite all frustrations she worked for Nkrumah for 10 years.Nkrumah Once told her that she was the only person on whom he could rely on.As Nkrumah personality cult grew,he assumed grand titles:Man of destiny,Star of Africa and most famous of all ,Osagyefo,which means the redeemer.Nkrumah was worshiped so much so that his presence was every where including money coins,bank notes,postage stamps and even his statute stood outside parliament house,his birthdays were always declared public holidays.His framed photographs adorned offices and shops.Be hind all these facades,Nkrumah was a lonely and isolated figure,distrustful of his colleagues and always suspicious of people that surrounds him.In her memoirs,Genoveva Marais,an attractive black south African who met Nkrumah at the independence state ball in March 1957 ,and became a confidant,observed:’’The more successful he was politically,the less he seemed capable of trusting his most intimate friends,no mater how loyal they had proved themselves to be.He became so immersed in his own isolation that he withdrew from most people.Instead he gained the support of party activists who only told him what they thought he wanted to know,to enhance his feelings of superiority.”He sometimes complained to her that he had no one to love and that no one loved him,that he had no one to share his joys,sorrows and anxieties.

 Nkrumah  Never  Wanted  To  Get  Married

 

In a half hearted way he tried marriage.Without a word to his closest colleagues,he arraigned with Nasser the then Egyptian leader to obtain a bride from Egypt,a woman he had never previously met until she arrived in Ghana on the same day as the wedding.Fathia Rizk spoke only Arabic,with a smattering of French;Nkrumah spoke neither French nor Arabic.The wedding day took place on 30 December 1957,it was a private ceremony with the handful of people at the Christianborg castle,the then seat of Government.The news of the wedding on the radio shocked everyone.Market women marched to the castle,others mourn and wept.The marriage produced three children.Nkrumah never talked of his family.He regarded his family as a private affair.Nkrumah confessed in a letter wrote to Erica Powell in 1965,marriage did nothing to lighten the sense of his I isolation he felt.

“Have YOU  not noticed OVER the years that I have known you that I am a lonely man?I am friendless and companionless…I suffer from intense loneliness which makes me sometimes burst into tears.I am an isolated even from life itself.You only  know and understand that,Erica,few people know this.They see me  in public smiling and laughing,not knowing the burden of loneliness and Isolation that I carry.Marriage did not solve it-it has rather intensified and complicated it……You know I did not want to get married.You know my views on the subject.Did I ever tell you that I married not for myself but for the presidency.”

Nkrumah’s  Party  Machinery:The  Beacon  Of  Corruption  And  Nepotism

It has been argued over the past years that Nkrumah was infallible and that he never had any corruption in his hands.These assertions were never the truth.Nkrumah’s party was the pacesetter of Corruption in Ghana and it  has led Ghanaians into the mess they are in now.At a start of independence,I believe, Ghana needed a selfless and a righteous government like the Singaporean leader,Lee Kuan Yew.We needed a man like that to lead us but no,we lost that opportunity.Any government that comes, ‘rape’ the countries’s resources and then leave the people more poorer than they came to meet.At the height of his power,Nkrumah declared  the party to be ‘’supreme’’,he  compelled existing institutions  such as the civil service,the trade unions farmers organisation and youth groups to be subordinate to it.The CPP with it enormous powers descended into battle ground between rival faction.When Nkrumah asked a journalist,Tawiah  Adamafio,to become the parties general secretary in 1960,hesitated but later accepted it.He recalled,”I knew the intrigues and jealousies,the vicious whispering campaigns and rumor mongering,the deliberate name-smearing and wicked mudslinging,the character assassination,interminable petty struggle,the incompetence and greed,the bribery and corruption”.Despite all these reservations,Adamafio threw himself in and became the confidant of Nkrumah.In 1960, he was appointed the Information and Broadcasting Minister by Nkrumah. He was also Minister for Presidential Affairs at the same time. This was an influential position in the government at the time.He stood for trial on treason charge, following the Kulungugu grenade attempt on Nkrumah’s life. Adamafio and others were freed after the first trial but was eventually found guilty following a second trial by a pro-government panel.The corruption in our public institutions did not start now but it started when the country was barely  existing.It is very sad because no country can ever make a head way of bringing prosperity to its own people if that country’s very bed rock and the foundation which were laid from the beginning were full of corruption,jealousies,confusion and so forth.You can’t build a country with this kind of attributes, so much in grind in the heart of the people.

 Conclusion

 

Nkrumah was human and infallible and no doubt, this great man did some good.I believe,Africa was not ready yet for independence, and his ideas of unified Africa.Nkrumah came too late in that historical drama.Nkrumah for me,was a good man but he was unprepared emotionally for the presidency.He took for granted the powers that be at the time, and failed to play his cards very well to avert any undermining that characterized his tenure of office and so they trapped him.Ghana with Africa then ,for me, was not ripe for independence.He never “trusted his colleagues” because they proved beyond all reasonable doubt that they are not reliable.As a young nation as such,Ghana did not need such sycophants,selfish,haters and day light Robbers of government coffers as these.We needed  selfless leaders.Leaders who are infinity thinkers;leaders who will think beyond their immediate boundaries.Leaders who are sympathetic to their fellow citizens.Leaders who are honest and hard working, and leaders who are ready to work hard for the good of the people they serve.Leaders who  see themselves as being accountable to God  and therefore anything they do,they do it in the interest of God and man.That was what Ghana needed.We have lost five decades of opportunity to help alleviate the pains and suffering of our people and yet we seem not to get it right.We are doing the same things as of the first republic.We need a new mentality.A new world view,And new spirit to help this country move forward .

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Further reading can be gotten From Martin Meredith’s book:The state of Africa

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