THE MAN NRKUMAH: THOSE WHO BETRAYED HIM
By: Kofi Bentum Quatson, Former National Security Co-Ordinator
Kwame Nkrumah was not betrayed by Colonialists and imperialists. They hated him for what he stood for. They considered him a total strategic threat. So they plotted and schemed comprehensively to finish him off. They did not conceal their intentions. That is the honest truth. Kwame Nkrumah was not betrayed by the combined local opposition forces and their collaborating stooges. Like the imperialists, they hated him. The reason was simple. By breaking away from the elitist leadership of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), to form the Convention People's Party (CPP). Kwame Nkrumah had captured the political initiative to lead the broad masses of the people to achieve independence.
Of course the opposition parties were not only disappointed. They were deeply hurt to the point of vengeful anger because all their grand ambitions for political power and all their dreams for gorgeous enjoyment had been shattered. Actually they could not have betrayed him because they did not accept and regard him as one of their own. Their position was clear. So logically, and naturally, they found a bonding relationship with, and became the agents of imperialism. Of course, the imperialists preferred the elitist politicians of the UGCC to Kwame Nkrumah. By their education, profession and borrowed Europeanized lifestyles, the political elitists of the UGCC were more at home with the colonial masters than the "common masses". In fact, the elitist UGCC core would have considered the very idea of THEY betraying Kwame Nkrumah too ludicrous if not totally nonsensical. Who the heck was Kwame Nkrumah for them, the Western educated Oxbridge high society elitist professionals to betray? They could not and would not stoop that low. That would be infra dig!
So if Kwame Nkrumah's enemies, opponents and detractors did not betray him, then who did? He was betrayed by some of his own close associates, loyalists, and protégés. That sounds strange but it is true. This became evident after his overthrow and the teleguided massive propaganda campaign was unleashed to destroy him and annihilate his name from history. There were CPP stalwarts who denounced him in pretty harsh terms. They included personalities like Krobo Edusei and Kwaku Boateng. There were technocrats and bureaucrats who denounced him without reservation. They included Dei-Anang and Sir Arku Korsah.
Krobo Edusei was one of the fanatical and vociferous followers of Kwame Nkrumah. A CPP foot soldier in Ashanti, he suffered immensely during the political atrocities that engulfed Ashanti between the CPP and the National Liberation Movement (NLM) which was then advocating for a federal form of government for the Gold Coast at the tail end of the struggle for independence. His property in Ashanti was dynamited. His sister was slain and he himself had to flee to Accra. Otherwise, without doubt, he too would have been murdered.
But he did not suffer in vain. Never. He became a Minister in Nkrumah's government and so visibly prospered that at some point in time, he boasted, rather obscenely, that the gap between him and poverty was unbridgeable. He did achieve some shining notoriety when his wife was reported to have bought a 'golden bed' in London. His bread was succulently buttered.
At the Justice Apaloo Commission established after the 1966 coup to investigate the assets of CPP functionaries, Krobo Edusei had this to say about his master and mentor Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Asked whether Dr. Nkrumah was corrupt he exploded "he was more corrupt than anybody else. He is so greedy, so corrupt and liked money than even he liked his mother. .. we all prayed to God that there would be a coup. So we were happy when the Armed Forces and the Police overthrew the Nkrumah Regime".
That was one huge case of perfidious betrayal coming from a clearly established lap-dog of Kwame Nkrumah. I recall that during the regime of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), when he was confronted with this and other bold lies he told at the Apaloo Commission, he replied remorselessly with a straight face that all that was "POLITICAL TALK"
Krobo Edusei's perfidy competed beautifully with that of Ayeh Kumi, Nkrumah's Economic Advisor, whose position I considered at the time to be both incongruous and contradictory. He was a big time capitalist way back before independence, and I wondered how sincerely he could successfully advise on the transformation into a socialist economy, in tune with Dr. Nkrumah's socialist politics.
He too denounced Nkrumah as a 'double-faced ravenous, lustful and wanting everything for himself'. That was excessively incredible. It is gratifying that all through the years no one has been able to point to any property of Kwame Nkrumah anywhere on planet earth. I myself recall the bizarre situation after the coup when Ayeh Kumi' s assets were being investigated, there was a block of flats at the Ringway Estates area reported to belong to him. Questioned about that, his response was fantastic. He recalled, hazily, that his manager did acquire some property in that general area but did not in fact know the precise location. So he did not even know that he owned that property!! And that was the character which described Osagyefo Dr. Nkrumah as "double -faced, ravenous and lustful who wanted everything for himself"
Mr. Dei Anang was an eminent public servant molded in the British Colonial orientation of loyalty, efficiency, and dedication. No doubt Kwame Nkrumah respected and trusted him hence he became his Chief Advisor on African Affairs. After the coup in the heat of the wild anti-Nkrumah propaganda, Dei Anang denounced Nkrumah as a" POLITICAL INCUBUS". I found it mystifying that he could have visibly and loyally served the "POLITICAL INCUBUS" for so long.
The case of Sir Arku Korsah was most interesting. At the time the Preventive Detention Act (PDA) was passed, he was the Chief Justice. Coincidentally, or tactically, or diplomatically, the Governor-General, the Queen's Representative was away to the United Kingdom on leave. At the time Ghana was not a Republic so the Queen was the Head of State. In the absence of the Governor- General, it was Chief Justice Sir Arku Korsah who was acting for him. So it was Sir Korsah who gave the ROYAL ASSENT to the PDA. Therefore he did not have any problems with the law.
And yet incredibly, and perfidiously, after the coup, while on official visit to Ethiopia, Sir Arku Korsah condemned Kwame Nkrumah for using the PDA to deny his opponents the operation of habeas corpus. Is that not hypocritical betrayal? Kwaku Boateng was one of Nkrumah's senior ministers, having served as the Minister of the Interior and Education. A respected British educated lawyer, he was seen as a solid and stabilizing politician. After the coup he too lamented that all of them had been reduced to 'GAPING SYCOPHANTS'. That was tragic and shocking. To be a political sycophant is serious enough. But to be reduced to 'gaping sycophants' is a calamity that should not have afflicted a solid British educated lawyer like Kwaku Boateng . What was he doing all that time enjoying as a Cabinet Minister?
But no matter why and how you want to condemn Kwame Nkrumah, there is no way you can ignore the massive infrastructural development and his monumental achievements in the areas of education and healthcare. There are hundreds and thousands in Ghana who but for his progressive educational policies would have ended up "hewers of wood and drawers of water". They include academicians, intellectuals, and professionals.
It is important to observe that the massive effort made to destroy Kwame Nkrumah had an intellectual component. Academics and intellectuals who were opposed to Nkrumah were commissioned to falsify and distort the nation's history to depict Kwame Nkrumah as a "thief, "illiterate", "immoral" even satanic. That was a poisonous strategy to mis-educate and mislead succeeding generations about the true stature of Kwame Nkrumah, the Founder of the State of Ghana.
Indeed many of our people who were too young before the coup or born after that have been poisoned with the falsified versions of our nation's history by Nkrumah's detractors. And over the years I have had problems with some of our genuine patriots who, knowing the truth, have made no meaningful effort to correct that untenable situation, especially those who have been noisily parading themselves as Nkrumaists. Haven't they betrayed Kwame Nkrumah? Yes they have.
In this regard, it is not difficult identifying all those whose political opportunism of "stomach politics" have exposed them as charlatans out to exploit Kwame Nkrumah's name for their own selfish political agenda. It has not occurred to them to neutralize the vile political propaganda to destroy him.
I recall, with shame that when party political activities resumed after the coup of 1966, some of these opportunists traveled outside to solicit for funds ostensibly to further the Nkrumaist cause. They pocketed large chunks of those monies, and left the C.P.P. to decay. I believe that if it was not for the courageous stance of some people like Mr. George Aguddey and Dr. Delle, the CPP would have sank into the political quagmire.
But the most despicable of these charlatans were the CPP politicians who under the notorious,s hypocritical SKIRT AND BLOUSE politics, betrayed and subverted the Nkrumah objective. Genuine Nkrumah admirers were shocked when those stomach politicians vigorously campaigned that their supporters should vote for them as CPP Parliamentary candidates, but vote for the NPP Presidential candidate, thereby ignoring their own CPP presidential candidate. That was perfidious. That was scandalous. That was severe dishonesty. That was unconscionable especially when the ridiculous excuse was given that such a political exercise would give the CPP time and space to develop and grow. How those stomach politicians expected the NPP to groom the CPP to grow and contest them for power, remains a mystery.
Maybe that is one good reason why those cheating CPP politicians have slipped into disgraceful irrelevance. As we celebrate the one hundred anniversary of the birth of the nation's Founder, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, genuine patriots should feel energized to stand out and battle not only those whose sworn agenda of the years has been to destroy his image but those political charlatans determined to exploit his name for their selfish interest. Kwame Nkrumah is a national icon and should be allowed to remain on that pedestal.
On April 22, 1962 Kwame Nkrumah made a profound statement to a CPP study group. Hear him:
"Friends and comrades, Africa needs a new type of man. A dedicated, modest, honest and devoted man. A man who submerges self in the service of his nation and mankind. A man who abhors greed and deters vanity. A new type of man whose meekness in his strength and whose integrity is his greatness. Africa's new man must be a man indeed"