And so on March 6th 1957, the Gold Coast had a change of name. Ghana, the founding fathers named her; a flowery beauty. Full of promise and a suggestive character of carrying along with other sister countries who were threading a similar path to freedom. Not surprisingly, the protagonist of Ghana’s independence, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah proclaimed on the Independence Day dais thus “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless, unless it is linked to the total independence of Africa.”
The Nkrumah statement has meaning in African traditional family set-up where often, the first born sons/daughters have the responsibility of carrying along their younger siblings through life’s journey. In this case that was the responsibility of Ghana, the first born baby, south of the Sahara Region. Indeed, it was an exciting moment, pronouncing newly born Ghana, a hope for the rest of Africa.
As a young and free country, Ghana begun the process of self-determination belying her status as a sovereign country. Our governance structure was all Ghanaian, except the ultimate leadership which was ceded to the ceremonial British Monarch. Nonetheless, every executive power rested with the Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah who assumed the position of Prime Minister. But soon, the promising Ghana faded off into oblivion, replaced with hopelessness and despair. What went amiss?
Ghana’s legendary author and writer, Ayi Kwei Armah put Ghana’s limping status at birth succinctly in his world acclaimed novel—The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. He captured the Ghanaian decadence right after seven years of birth in his powerful Aboliga the Frog imagery. This is supposed to be a being that lived his/her full living cycle as a nation-state within a period of seven years.
However, the average living age of any human is supposed to be at least, 50 and beyond. But according to Ayi Kwei Armah, Ghana lived all of her full living cycle within only seven years. Events after the release of the novel have proven how correct Ayi Kwei Armah’s observation or assertion had been. Armah’s cry was that Ghana had moved from a fertile, promising, prosperous country to one consumed in decadence and rottenness.
Unfortunately, Ghana’s problems started from the head. Dr. Nkrumah, who became the first President of the Republic would soon assume the status of a dictator under a democratic dispensation. He declared himself a life President of Ghana. That was the time, his Convention People’s Party (CPP) was said to be winning Ghanaian elections far in excess of 90 percent. So did Nkrumah really need to be that overnight tyrant?
Again, the Ghanaian President also had an overwhelming majority in Parliament that he needed not to be a dictator to pass through with Parliament his programmes and vision for Ghana. In the midst of what looked gloomy and hopeless situation to many opposition elements, they thought the only way to ward off the Nkrumah democratic monarch, was to topple him through all manner of unorthodox means, including coup de’tat.
In one of such, Nkrumah became the target of bomb explosion. He survived that and instead, a little girl who was gifting Nkrumah with a flower at Kulungugu, suffered what easily would have been Nkrumah's date with death. Eventually, Nkrumah was overthrown. At a time that Ghana was going through one of its worst moments; corruption was festering and Nkrumah would fall out with some of his trusted aides like Ghana’s first Finance Minister, Komla Agble Gbedemah.
Gbedemah fled into exile in Togo, obviously scarred of his life under his own Osagyefo. On the other side of the divide, Nkrumah’s critics were being jailed without legal representation under the infamous Prevention Detention Act (PDA). And it was one decoy that was employed to detain one of Ghana’s top politicians at the time— Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah. Not only him. Some of the Gold Coast Big Six, who Nkrumah partnered during the process to independence were also incarcerated in the First Republic.
Two of them were Ako Adjei and Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey. Nkrumah dis not spare his own minister—Adamafio, his blushes. There was therefore intense joy from within and beyond the frontiers of the country when Generals Kotoka, Afrifa and IGP Harley overthrow Nkrumah. The actions of the coup makers thereafter, became in our body-politic, the coup mentality curse. All enterprises set-up by Nkrumah were left to rot after his overthrow. General Acheampong who overthrew Prime Minister Abrefa Busia, abandoned Busia's seven-year development project.
Rawlings’ intrusion into Ghanaian politics maintained the coup mentality syndrome. And Ghanaian businessmen like Siaw, Appiah Minka, B.A. Mensah and the likes all lost their companies. They were confiscated under one of the Rawlings' military regimes, the June 4 uprising. The same siege mentality is being experienced now.
If you’re not part of us, you can’t be invited to our party. And such outcasts, include top Ghanaian businessmen like Papa Kwesi Nduom, Kwabena Duffour, Captain Kofi Amoabeng, Kofi Amoah and the likes. Their banks have been liquidated under some pretentious financial sector clean-up exercise.
Meanwhile, Banks that were in worse state than most that have been declared insolvent are still operating because their owners are known members of the ruling NPP. When will Ghana get out of such coup mentality?
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