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24.02.2006 Feature Article

Ghana 's day of shame –24th February 1966

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Forty years ago, a civilian government in Ghana was subverted by military cum police adventurers. The declassified files of the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA, covering the period of the 1960s, now show that the intelligence agencies of USA and may be the governments of USA and the United Kingdom influenced the coup. The Ghanaian adventurers involved were traitors who facilitated the external invasion of an independent country. Their only interest was to destabilise a peaceful and democratically elected government, but in the process ushered Ghana into a period of retrogression and decline from which it has not recovered

History has shown the coup d'etat was unnecessary and devious. Those who were the willing tools of American imperialism were so myopic that they could not even think through the train of events that they had unleashed.

Before the coup, Ghana's economy was roughly at par with the likes of Mexico, and many south-east Asian countries including Malaysia. Today many of these countries are either upper middle income economies whilst Ghana, with average GNI per capita of $380 however, remains in the bottom-half of the World Bank's low income economies.

Almost 50 years after independence, many Ghanaians continue to live in abject poverty and squalor, barely managing to scrape a living. According to 2004 World bank statistics, today, 40% of the current population of 21million of Ghana (equivalent to the total population under Busia in 1970) live below the national poverty line- a damning indictment of successive governments since 1966. Our literacy rate is below the average for Sub-Saharan Africa and low income countries; as are our primary enrolment rates. Our secondary enrolment is a paltry 30%. Above all, there is a distinct lack of vision and a poverty of aspiration pervades every aspect of national life.

We, who were the beacon of Africa, now have to reassert ourselves; we have been overtaken by Nigeria and South Africa who are now de facto leaders on the African continent. Would this have been possible had Kwame not been overthrown? We are tarnished with the same brush of countries that have experimented with military dictatorship and are part of the so called hopeless continent. The coup did us no favours; it has been debilitating and are only beginning to struggle to rehabilitate our stature in the world. If only we had not had that coup we would be used as the example of what is good in Africa.

Post-1966 Ghana politics has institutionalised the derailing of Nkrumah's vision as a guide to politics. As one African-American put it, Ghanaian politics has been reduced to who takes the lion share from the selfish gains of the 1966 subversion which diverts the national wealth into individual pockets.

On this occasion of the 40th anniversary of the coup, UNITE –, U niting Nkrumaists into the Third Era (UNiTE!) - working towards for reclaiming the legacy of Kwame Nkrumah building a government guided by the vision Kwame Nkrumah, re-dedicate ourselves to campaigning and mobilising of all forces from wherever they are, to rescue Ghana from the post-1966 politics which has become a monopoly of ideas slavishly committed to western manipulation.

Politically the 1966 coup was an unmitigated disaster, setting the country back some 25 years. We are only now beginning to find our feet in instilling the message in the people of Ghana that no matter how bad a government is the ballot box is the only legitimate way of changing that government. Socially and culturally, we Ghanaians cannot hold our heads as high as we did pre 1966 in the newly independent Ghana when our people were courted everywhere they went and the Kente cloth revered anytime a Ghanaian wore it. And this was anywhere in the world including the same America that subverted our democracy and sacrificed it on the altar of the cold war.

There is still hope that we will go back to the basic principles of being an independent country and realise that America played a big trick on us and we were all gullible. What have we got from those who helped us plan our coup?

After forty years history is finally on the side of Nkrumah. In fact we must be proud and marvel at what he achieved in such a short space of time given the internal and external hostility that surrounded him.

The key ingredients for his success – a towering vision, organisation and a passion for African success – are noticeably absent in today's leaders and Ghana is much the poorer for it.

We must now accept that coups are bad for our country and the first coup 24th February 1966 must mark our day pf shame.

We have gained nothing, politically, culturally, socially, economically form a coup planned by Americans for the heck of it and executed by naïve service people.

The spirit of our independence continues; the vision of Nkrumah is still alive. His name lives on in numerous books and pamphlets written over a relatively short lifetime of 63 years or so, an achievement unmatched by any world leader in living memory; achievements such as the Volta Dam and expanded education system etc; and legacies that continue to serve us well.

Nkrumah never dies!

Forward ever backward never

Issued by Campaign for U niting Nkrumaists i nto the Third Era (UNiTE!)

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UNiTE! (Uniting Nkrumaists into the Third Era) Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Uniting Nkrumaists
Uniting Nkrumaists, © 2006

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