Ghana's day of shame –24th February 1966
Press release from the NkrumaistForum on the 40th anniversary of the 24th February 1966 Coup in Ghana. GHANA'S DAY OF SHAME AND AFRICA'S SET BACK THE COUP
Fellow Ghanaians and friends of Nkrumah, the NkrumaistForum wishes to express solidarity with Nkrumaists the world over and, especially, those at home in Ghana, as we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the overthrow of the CPP and Ghana's first elected President. We do sincerely hope that you will all bare testimony to what we have to say and possibly conduct further investigation yourselves so that when the history of Ghana is told, posterity will know the real enemies of our people. 40 yrs ago today (24th February 1966), a young nation Ghana, suffered a devastating onslaught that has left indelible scars on her. The progress of this country was set back decades when a few misguided sons of this land g! uided by their imperialist collaborators staged a coup to overthrow the CPP government of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
The coup began during the night of Wednesday, 23rd February 1966 with the arrival of about 600 soldiers from Kumasi. The late Gen. Kotoka plotted and liaised with the then police commissioner Mr Harlley and their CIA handlers. The late Gen. Afrifa, then adjunctant to Gen. Kotoka, played an active part in the plot and took command of these troops while in action, while his superiors co-ordinated the heinous act.
The troops were told Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah intended sending them to fight in Vietnam and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The troops were also told Osagyefo had left Ghana with 3,000,000 pounds and would not return. The army was therefore being called upon to save this country from chaos.
Fellow Gha! naians and well wishers, from this point on the murderous zeal and nature of the coup leaders were made known to Ghanaians. The Army Chief of staff Major General Barwah shot and killed in front of his wife and children. Seven soldiers on guard duty at the General's house were also executed.
Almost simultaneously the other group of soldiers and police detachment went round arresting government officials, seizing control of the airport, cable office and radio station. Some soldiers then went in and engaged the presidential guards at the Flagstaff house. In the battle that ensued many were killed and others beaten and taken prisoners.
Osagyefo's office was looted and ransacked. Osagyefo's wife and children were however allowed to leave unharmed. They left the shores of Ghana to Cairo. Nyaniba the mother of Osagyefo, who was almost blind, was rudely asked to park and leave the flagstaff house for Nkroful. In the days that followed the coup, many were arrested, tortured and thrown in prison merely for their association with the CPP and Osagyefo. It is amazing that those who seized power on 24th February 40 years ago described it as a “bloodless coup”.
Were they claiming that those they shot and killed did not have blood in them? Or were they suggesting that they were not human beings? Ladies and gentlemen of the press, in the aftermath of the coup one Boye Moses (of recent memory) was caged like an animal and paraded on the streets of this country for people to make mockery of. In all this we had people alive then and today who claim to be champions of human rights, rule of law and democracy but did not see it fit to condemn any of these events, not even in this day and time. They still say the coup of 1966 was the best thing that happened to Ghana.
EFFECTS OF THE COUP
Fellow Ghanaians and Nkrumaists the world over, since the infamous coup of February 24, 1966 this country has been groping in a dark wilderness. Amazingly, those who forcefully seized power did not have a clue as to how to manage a nation. This, in spite of the bevy of UP leaders who rallied to their support, people who strangely like to boast of being the most educated. Above all the coup, sought to institutionalize in the life of Ghanaians, hopelessness, wretchedness, excruciating poverty and the canker of inferiority complex. Ladies and gentlemen, in order! to substantiate our claim that the coup of 1966 set this country back for decades, we need to understand clearly what this country was capable of doing and was doing prior to the coup in 1966 and measure it against what we have today.
Prior to the coup, Ghana was producing 30,000 tons of sugar annually but today Ghana's sugar production is zero. Prior to the coup, under the seven year development plan it was envisaged that Ghana's salt production would be 100,000 tons by 1969 but today 2004 Ghana's salt production is only a fraction of this amount. So when we hear of Presidential initiative! on salt today we must note that salt was not discovered in Ghana today. It is also important to note that the salt production as per the seven year development plan was to facilitate the growth of other industries such as the pharmaceuticals, soap manufacturing, ceramics, leather tanning industry and many more prior to the coup.
Today, as our Government is jubilating about having revived Valco. Let us ask who caused Valco to close down in the first place and who were the people opposed to this project when it was initiated in the 50s? It is the same Danquah/Busia tradition. If we as Ghanaians are to understand Valco and fully get the benefits of ! it then we must go back to the 7 yr development plan where Akosombo Dam and Valco were to serve as the driving forces for the development of the salt industry, as salt is one of the key ingredients required for the conversion of bauxite to alumina which could then be smelted into aluminium.
Over 40yrs ago, the CPP Government had set-up a tomato factory in Pualugu, a glass factory in Abosso, the Kade match factory, the Aveyime rice farms, Asutuare and Komenda sugar factories, Ghana Commercial Bank, Bonsa tyre factory, Atlantic Hotel, City Hotel, Continental Hotel, Ambassador Hotel, Star Hotel, Shoe factory, the famous Ghana Airways, the Black Star Line, The Workers Brigade Garment Factory, etc., etc. Fellow Ghanaians, the list is endless. The question we wish to ask is, what has happened to all these factories and institutions and organizations? All these things have either been sold off to foreign interests or some members of the UP fraternity and many left to decay, as they were abandoned after the foreign specialists setting up these infant industries were chased out. Those left have become the source of enrichment for some under the corrupted “divestment” programs of both the NDC and NPP.
We are aware that many will be quick to say that Dr Nkrumah “inherited” plenty of money. To those who hold this view, we wish to ask them to sum up all the money we have borrowed since the 1966 coup and ask ourselves if it was not more than what the CPP SAVE! D and inherited after independence (thanks to the boom in cocoa prices brought about by the Korean War and the saving policy which led to the rise of the NLM)? We will then ask that you show us all that the money had done and then we can draw a fair conclusion.
It is regrettable that not withstanding all the landmarks left by the CPP, those who actively participated in the coup and their collaborators within and without are quick to say Nkrumaism is a dead ideology. We urge all to take a good look around Ghana today. This so called “dead” ideology has left the most significant landmarks in our history and has propelled us into the 21st century. This same “dead” ideology has produced the world's number one civil servant in the person of Kofi Annan. This same “dead” ideology set up the law school and the medical school from which most of our lawyers and Doctors we see today graduated.
This “dead” ideology foresaw the need for research into nuclear energy and therefore the setting up of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. This “dead” ideology put up the Akosombo Dam when the so called “Best University Students in Africa” thought we should be buying generators and putting around the country side. Isn't it ironical that these same people are now going round commissioning electrification projects with glee? The least said the be! tter about uncompleted but necessary projects such as the Gold Refinery in Tarkwa, which was about 90% complete at the time of the 1966 coup, the better. Nkrumaism is as relevant today as it was 40 yrs ago.
The questions we wish to find answers to are many but we will leave you with just a few. How many factories or industries have been added since 1966 as against those that have been allowed to go waste? How far have we come since 1966 in improving the standard of education in Ghana? How has our health delivery system improved since 1966? At what pace and cost have we developed since 1966? The mass of Ghanaians are very eager to get answers t! o these questions.
The Coup of 1966 severely damaged our confidence and self respect as a people. Today we as Ghanaians are being made to believe that our salvation lies with our colonial masters. Why then did we fight for independence? Today we are made to believe that for anything to succeed we must of necessity have a foreign investor (more specifically a white man). Even for a football coach we are told we need a white man. Our children are forever lined up at the embassies of our colonial masters and other foreign missions seeking visas to get out and do mostly menial jobs.
! The coup of 1966 has reduced us to modern day beggars where our President is flying from one country to the other begging for help. Have we as a people lost all our dignity and self respect? Worst still our members of Parliament have become visa contractors and narcotic drug suspects.
This coup also set back the progress of Africa, and many in Africa and outside Africa have not forgiven Ghana for this loss. Ghana lit the touch for Africa's emancipation but! the coup of 24th February 1966 deemed that light. We of the Nkrumaistforum and all other pro-Nkrumaists have a historic role to fuel the flame of self rule, reliance and help Africa reclaim her glory. Africa must unite, Africa must be free.
SALUTE TO THE UNSUNG HEROES
As we recall the events of the coup and the effects it has had on Ghana and Africa, we must remember those who stood up g! allantly to resist the coup and died in the process.
These men and women were simple people like you and I. Simple men and women who had committed no crime except that they dared to believe, that the Blackman was capable of managing his own affairs. These were simple men and women who believed in work and happiness.
For their belief and dedication to this country they were shot and killed. These are some of the unsung heroes in the history of this nation. To them we say may ! their souls rest in peace!
THE WAY FORWARD We believe Ghana must once again make industrialization a priority not only to provide employment for the youth on the streets, but the road for our advancement as a nation.
We believe a! bove all else that we need to restore hope and confidence in the youth. We must once again make mass, truly free and compulsory education the centre point for our eventual development.
We believe that this country needs urgently to move away from the tribal politics that has emerged with the politics of the NPP and NDC.
Fellow Ghanaians, 24th February marks a dark day in the history of Ghana and we cannot wish it away. It is important to remember this day for what it truly was and never again to repeat our mistakes. It sets the stage for coups which followed. Never again in Ghana should anyone seek to overthrow an elected Government.
Forward Ever, Backward Never!
From the Co-ordinating Committee of The Nkrumaist Forum.
Kofi Nani Kosi Dedey George Kweifio-Okai Emelia Arthur Niagia Santuah Evans Afenya ! Andy Kwawukume